3rd I



Saturday, November 15
Castro Theater, San Francisco
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Director: Omar Ali Khan
Country/Year: Pakistan/UK, 2007
Running Time: 78 mins
Format: Digital
Language: Urdu with English subtitles

Come out in your zombie fashions – dressed to kill!
Introduced by Jesse Hawthorne Ficks, Midnites for Maniacs!

With nods to masters of horror Romero, Raimi, and Hooper, first time filmmaker Omar Ali Khan pays a giddy and gory homage to the genre, splattering Lollywood with more than just arterial spray. Surreal cultural tension is at the heart of this cinematic grotesquerie. The story is simple: five Pakistani teenagers lie to their parents, skip school, pile into a van, and head out to a rock show. All this misbehavior certainly won’t get them very far, as any die-hard (or not so die-hard) horror fan knows, and soon they are lost, out of gas, and stuck on Hell’s Ground. (They should have listened to the warnings of the creepy old guy at the chai stand a few miles back.) 

When pot-smoking bad-boy O.J. runs to the bushes to toss his laddus and gets chomped by something in the process, hell only knows where this story is going. Zombies bumble and bite, a psychotic shaman chants and chills, and a burkha-clad butcher maces away (and we’re not talking pepper spray here). Shot over the course of 30 days in the swelter of the rainy season, Hell’s Ground abides by the classical rules of horror movies—moral transgressions equal nasty punishment—but with an appealing cast of young actors and a genuinely horrifying ambiance of thick humidity, swarming flies, and the stench of decaying flesh.

And no, the blood-spattered burkha isn’t a political statement. Khan claims, “They (burkhas) just terrified me as a kid.” -- Lucy Laird