31 Days of Hallowe’en, Day 20: Zibahkhana (2007)

Zibahkhana Hell's Ground 2007

I can now say that I’ve seen a Pakistani zombie slasher movie. I still can’t get over the fact that one even exists. And it’s not the typical moody, atmospheric experimental or borderline family-friendly rip-off that makes up the overwhelming majority of Bollywood and Lollywood horror.

Zibahkhana Hell's Ground 2007

First off, we see the country’s capital, Islamabad, depicted as the average giant, bustling, dusty South Asian city that it is – sprawling (almost LA-like), but not quite as sophisticated as its southern counterpart Karachi. And then a quick introduction to a group of teens who actually inhabit (slightly muted versions of) teen slasher protagonist clichés.

Zibahkhana Hell's Ground 2007

There’s no clear Big Bad, but a rather flamboyant contender is the burly, grunting dude in a full burqa, swinging a fucking giant mace. And occasionally gets stabby-stabby with a massive knife.

Zibahkhana Hell's Ground 2007

Also there are zombies, because of probably mad scientist reasons.

Zibahkhana Hell's Ground 2007

It’s a spectacularly shameless rip-off of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, from the character archetypes to the van-centric road trip setting to the weirdo locals who donate info to the fucking build and grunting of Macing Burqaface. But it’s fun, partly because props should go to filmmakers who made this presumably without the kind of financial and marketing support that typical B/Lollywood fare would get. A quick Wiki category search shows that round those parts, slasher’s an emerging genre. Don’t discount this one because of the dodgy acting, strange music and cheap camerawork. I mean, it’s 80% terrible, but hopefully it’s the start of something new. It wasn’t even banned!

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