Japan’s Saku Sakamoto returns to the twisted world he imagined in 2018’s indie horror-anime feature ARAGNE: SIGN OF VERMILLION, which world-premiered at Fantasia. His brand-new prequel FEAST OF AMRITA again descends into modern urban gothic, skin-crawling bio-terror, and impossible cosmic horror — and it’s preceded by a pair of comparably disturbing jolts of animated horror from Asia.
In GHOST OF THE DARK PATH, from Taiwanese animator Fish Wang (GOLDFISH, Fantasia 2019), a secret policeman tasked with surveilling underground agitators falls in love with their outspoken leader. Following a mass arrest, he barges in on her brutal assault by his colleague, and she escapes. Agent Seven follows a trail of her blood down a secluded forest path, bringing him to a mysterious village of damned souls. A disturbing fever dream recalling the dark days of Taiwan’s White Terror period.
In DEVIL, from South Korea, Lord Choi is expecting his second child. However, a fall from his horse brings him to the verge of death the exact moment the new baby is born. That night, he prays to a goblin, hoping to save his life, and his wish comes true. In return, the goblin vows to claim his daughter’s life on her sixteenth birthday. Lord Choi is willing to do whatever it takes to protect her from this dangerous curse, facing this evil monster who threatens them. DEVIL is a tragic, emotional story about family and grief, fused brilliantly with director Park Hye-min’s animation, gazing into the lore of ancient Korea.
The creepiness culminates with Sakamoto’s FEAST OF AMRITA, in which teenager Tamahi and her two friends Yu and Aki explore a foreboding, dilapidated apartment complex. There are rumours of an experiment gone wrong at a nearby facility years before, but what the three girls will come face to face with on this ill-fated day will go far beyond any scientific explanation... – Rupert Bottenberg