Teddy Chin and Mindee Ong, the leads of new Malaysian horror flick The Transcend, have markedly different beliefs and experiences when it comes to the supernatural.
Chin professes to be a freethinker who did not believe in ghosts until a terrifying encounter a decade ago.
Ironically, Ong is a Taoist who believes in the existence of ghosts but has never had a brush with the supernatural.
Chin, who plays a young novelist who writes about ghosts and yearns to see them, recalls coming face-to-face at home with a female ghost.
Given that encounter, he was understandably frightened to film some scenes in the movie, such as one in which he performs a ritual at midnight to open one's "third eye" to see spirits.
"I was initially afraid but felt relatively safe because they filmed it past midnight and not on the dot at 12," says the Malaysian actor.
It is the first horror movie and also the first movie lead for Chin, 29, who has acted in Mandarin stage productions such as Angel Wings and Mandarin television series such as Justice In The City and Young Justice Bao.
Ong, who plays a funeral troupe trainee who can see ghosts but is terrorised by her sightings, had never acted in supernatural movies until now.
As this was her first shoot for a ghost flick, she brought a lot of talismans to the set. Still, she was scared when she returned home after filming was done for the day.
"There were nights when my imagination would run wild and I'd start to get paranoid and frighten myself," says the 33-year-old Singaporean actress whose movie resume includes the comedies Lelio Popo (2010) and Perfect Rivals (2011) and the acclaimed musical-comedy drama 881 (2007).
Truth be told, she neither saw nor experienced anything eerie during the shoot. A baffling incident she mentions does not sound vaguely supernatural, although she suspects it to be so.
On the last day of the shoot, the memory card containing 14 hours of footage could not be retrieved, and those scenes had to be reshot.
Ong adds that to be on the safe side, the crew and cast took extra steps to pray and make offerings before reshooting the lost footage.
She says: "I'm not sure whether it had anything to do with ghosts, but this hardly happens. It just seems that chances of such things happening are always higher whenever a horror movie is being filmed."
Unlike her and Chin, director Ryon Lee claims he was spooked during filming.
Chin says that while the cast was filming in a house in Kelantan, the film-maker went into a room without a window and challenged the ghosts to show themselves if they really did exist. At that moment, a table lamp started turning slowly to face him.
"Ryon was so creeped out by the occurrence that he started believing in ghosts as well."
This article was first published on June 18, 2014.
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