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Indonesian Horror Film Withdrawn After Islamists' Threat

[ Updated 06 Feb 2010, 13:34:35 ]
Indonesian Horror Film Withdrawn After Islamists' Threat

Indonesian film producers said Friday they had withdrawn a horror-comedy movie about a menstruating ghost from cinemas due to threats from hardline Muslims.

"We did this because the reaction to the film is outrageous. The situation is still tense," K2K production house manager Evelin Hutagaol told media.

"Hantu Puncak Datang Bulan" (The Menstruating Ghost of Puncak) was screened to a selected audience in Jakarta earlier this week and was due for general release on Thursday.

The producers said they made significant cuts to the film before it was approved by the mainly Muslim country's censorship board, including most of the sex scenes.

But uncensored clips on YouTube have caught the attention of Muslim clerics and radical youth groups, who appear not to understand that the edited version is different.

Habib Salim Alattas of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a Muslim vigilante group which has ordered its members to attack cinemas showing the film, admitted he had only seen clips on the Internet.

"We don't want the movie to be viewed by Indonesians because it contains illicit and pornographic scenes," the FPI chairman said.

"If theatres are still screening the film, then the FPI will raid those theatres. The film damages our morals. Do we want our country to be made stupid by watching this film?"

K2K spokesman Yan Wijaya said the producers had arranged a meeting between the censors and the FPI so the vigilantes could see the edited version for themselves.

"We're still arranging the date. We have to wait as this mass organisation (the FPI) is more powerful than our law," he said.

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has banned this film  for Muslims. But it is not the reference to menstruation that is troubling the clerics. Instead, they have condemned the film for being pornographic and violent.

“The movie contains porn, which can trigger lust, and based on our research, it also contains violence,” Amirsyah Tambunan from the MUI told Kompas.com.

He said that the MUI had called on the Film Censorship Board (LSF) to not give the movie the green light for screening.

“We urge LSF to use its power to stop the movie from being screened because it could damage the nation’s morale. So far, we don’t know if it has passed censorship or not, but the movie is violating pornography norms. It is okay to have freedom of expression, but without violating the norms (of decency),” he said.

“Hantu Puncak Datang Bulan” stars actress Andi Soraya and dangdut singing group Trio Macan.

The movie’s trailer, available on Youtube, shows steamy content, including one topless scene performed by Andi. Nudity is rare in most Indonesian films.

“I admit that this movie has lots of vulgar scenes, but I decided to do this role because the movie’s story is different from other horror movies,” Andi told Kompas.com last week.