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The path of the horror genre in Iranian cinema and the best horror films of every decade

BingMag.com The <b>path</b> of the <b>horror</b> <b>genre</b> in <b>Iranian</b> <b>cinema</b> and the <b>best</b> <b>horror</b> <b>films</b> of <b>every</b> decade

Creating fear and anxiety was one of the first effects that filmmakers and large film production companies were drawn to after the boom of the cinema industry in the world. . But after some time, with the definitions and structures that were created for different genres, the rules for the horror genre were determined, which made it one of the most special cinematic structures in the world. In Iranian cinema, since the early years of its formation, the attention of directors was drawn to create anxiety and fear in the viewer to attract more audience. But despite the curious structure of this genre that attracts the audience, horror movies in Iran are an abandoned sector. On the other hand, the combination of this genre with religious teachings in the 1980s on Iranian television has given a different flavor to the definition of horror in dramatic works. The fact that it did not sell very high, but compared to the general cinema sales table, it can be placed in the category of acceptable films in terms of box office. This film was noticed in the Fajr Film Festival and after that it made its way to several foreign festivals. "Zalava" has tried its best to move in the structure of the horror genre and as its director's first experience, its weaknesses can be overlooked. But the fact is that this movie, like all the works of the horror genre in Iran, was made with a series of obvious weaknesses. Weaknesses that have not allowed this genre to grow properly throughout the history of Iranian cinema.

From the 30s to today, many different directors have tried to enter the horror genre and this has caused the production of numerous works. to scare the audience in Iranian cinema, but few of them survived. Unfortunately, most of the works made in this genre don't even look scary after years. On the pretext of the release of "Zalava", we have looked at the path that the horror genre has traveled in Iranian cinema during these 70 years, along with the high points of this genre.

The emergence of a phenomenon called Samuel Khachikian

By reaching the mid-forties, Iranian cinema went in a different direction and Farsi Film was born. Movies that emphasized more on family and romantic melodramas and gradually changed the audience's taste. In this situation, no film production office was willing to spare the profit of Persian films to create fear and anxiety in the viewer. For this reason, despite the efforts of Khachikians, this genre went to the sidelines at the beginning of its birth in Iranian cinema and before it reached a certain structure and definition.

Sixties, a new beginning

Until the victory of the Islamic Revolution, no other work was made in the horror genre. But in the mid-sixties, with the revival of cinema, the attention of directors was again drawn to this genre. "Talsem" was the first film that was considered the rebirth of the horror genre in Iranian cinema after 20 years.


BingMag.com The <b>path</b> of the <b>horror</b> <b>genre</b> in <b>Iranian</b> <b>cinema</b> and the <b>best</b> <b>horror</b> <b>films</b> of <b>every</b> decade

  • Director: Darius Farhang
  • Actors: Sosan Taslimi, Parviz Pourhosseini, Jamshid Meshaikhi, Attila Pesiani
  • Production: 1365

Dariush Farhang created "Taslem" based on a story called "Kalaa Kulak" written by Bahram Bayzaei. After years when the horror genre was marginalized in Iran, this film became one of the most important works of Iranian cinema in this genre with a very strong team of cinema artists. The story is about a noble house related to a Gujri prince whose bride has been missing for years. This house has a mirror room with a dungeon behind its walls. The bride of the house is stolen by the peshkar and is trapped in that dungeon. The arrival of a young couple lost in the forest to this noble house disrupts all plans and the lost bride emerges from the dungeon after years. Make-up, lighting, music, and stage design are factors that, along with the script, make "Talisman" a remarkable work. Susan Taslimi in the role of a bride who has been trapped in a dungeon for 5 years, with her white skin and used wedding dress, is one of the lasting images of the horror genre. Dariush To create more horror, Farhang took the help of Babak Bayat to make the music of this film, which is one of the important factors in the structure of this genre. Of course, the correct performances of Sosan Taslimi and Parviz Pourhosseini in the role of Peshkar are considered to be the most important features of "Talisman". Pourhosseini, using his facial expressions, protruding eyes and the hump he gave to his back, for a long time, turned the role of Pishkar into one of the most hated and lasting characters of the cinema.

The sixties, for the cinema Iran was a decade of trial and error. Many directors were trying to try their luck in different genres. The success of "Talsam" at the Fajr Film Festival and later at the box office led many to make horror films. But since the country was involved in the war and the preference of film production offices and government support was on war works or, on the other hand, comedy and family, until the end of the war, no more works were made in the horror genre. In 1368, Hamid Derakhshani, one of the young directors of those years, made the movie "29th Night" with a script written based on an old belief. This film is about the ominous shadow of a genie on the life of a girl who has been with this problem since she was born. , but the fact is that the illogical story and script errors have hit "The 29th Night" a big blow. Perhaps the only positive point is the editing of this film, which Samuel Khachikian combined with short and fast cuts to create fear in the audience. Maybe this film was considered a different work in its time, but today, after seeing it, one cannot accept that with so many structural problems, why should the audience be afraid of it.

Eighties, the years of fear again in cinema h2>

At the end of the sixties, the horror genre was closed in Iran for about ten years. The end of the war and a more open political atmosphere in the seventies demanded a new form of cinema. New faces entered the cinema, Iranian cinema opened its doors to international festivals, and little by little every director found his favorite genre and structure. But in the meantime, the horror genre remained in the corner. Until finally, in 1380, Mohammad Ali Sajjadi made "Ethiri" and brought this genre back to cinema. This movie is not a significant work in the horror genre, and one of the most important features of this genre, i.e. atmosphere creation, is not observed in it. On the other hand, fear induction through lighting and stage design in "Ethereal" has not been paid much attention, and more constructive emphasis has been placed on the story and people's relationships. But in any case, it was a new beginning for the presence of ghosts and scary suspense in the cinema.

After 3 years of making "Ethiri", the news of the production of a horror film, with a script by Iraj Tahmasab, caused a wave of questions and doubts. created among the people of cinema. Mr. Majri was supposed to be the narrator of a horror story, and Mohammad Hossein Latifi, a novice director of those days, was to take charge of its production. Finally, after a year passed, the movie "Girls' Dormitory" was unveiled.

Girls' Dormitory

BingMag.com The <b>path</b> of the <b>horror</b> <b>genre</b> in <b>Iranian</b> <b>cinema</b> and the <b>best</b> <b>horror</b> <b>films</b> of <b>every</b> decade

  • Director: Mohammad Hossein Latifi
  • Actors: Baran Kothari, Negar Javaherian, Sadegh Safaei, Majid Salehi
  • Product: 2004

In the first twenty minutes, despite the comedy and family atmosphere of the film, one cannot even imagine that a strange fear is going to happen in the next few minutes. experienced "Girls' Dormitory" is the story of two girls who go to a small town despite their families' opposition after being accepted into the university. They are not given accommodation, so they have to stay in a boarding house temporarily. This guesthouse is an old house with an abandoned building next to it. After some talk and hadiths of the local people and the caretaker of the boarding house, he informs the girls about the presence of jinn in this abandoned place. They joke at first, but Roya, the main character of the film, insists on coming out of reality, and it has a bad reward for him when he encounters a possessed man and... This film is one of the best-selling works of this genre, which after its release on the network The home show was also very popular. "Girls' Dormitory" literally creates fear for the audience in some sequences and owes this success to the well-thought out atmosphere, lighting and music of the film. Baran Kothari's performance as the main actor does not help much to understand the condition of the main character of the film, but on the other hand, we are faced with the stunning performance of Sadegh Safai, who, based on all the religious and otherworldly teachings about jinn, has immersed himself in the role of a possessed person, and even his behaviors and voices We can see from him that it is impossible to create a boundary between being human and being a genie. Of course, this film also has many weaknesses, including the insistence on maintaining comedy in all moments, which takes "Girls' Dormitory" out of the horror genre and turns it into a pseudo-genre. It reached its peak in the mid-80s and in the space of 5 years, 7 films in the horror genre were made by different directors. In these years, the two films "Parkway" directed by Fereydoun Jirani and then "Aqlima" the first directed by Mohammad Mahdi Asgharpour, tried to approach the horror genre. But "Parkway" could not create horror except for a few scenes of putting a dead body with its eyes open in front of the camera It was slow and remained a scary drama. Of course, this creation by Jirani was successful at the box office and was seen after the release, but it cannot be considered an important work belonging to the horror genre. "Aqlima" had a strange story and its different treatment drags the audience with it until the middle of the film. But from the moment it became clear that the spirit of the film is fake and an actor is planning to scare a woman, it left the structure of the horror genre and went more towards a crime drama. But still, after these two unsuccessful experiences, the horror genre maintained its popularity in the eighties, and even some directors such as Hassan Fathi, who previously worked in a very different atmosphere of historical and family series, made the movie "Postman Three Times in "Does Not Knock" tried its luck in the horror genre.

The postman does not knock three times

BingMag.com The <b>path</b> of the <b>horror</b> <b>genre</b> in <b>Iranian</b> <b>cinema</b> and the <b>best</b> <b>horror</b> <b>films</b> of <b>every</b> decade

  • Director: Hassan Fathi
  • Actors: Ali Nasirian, Amir Jafari, Panthea Bahram, Baran Kothari
  • Product: 2007

Suspension and playing with time is the most important feature of "The postman does not knock three times". This movie is the story of three different generations who live in a noble house outside of Tehran. Each floor tells the story of a generation and historical period. The third floor is related to a Qajri prince who fled due to the fear of Reza Pahlavi's coup, the second floor is where a man with a velvet hat lives with his lover, and on the ground floor in the present tense, a young boy kidnapped a girl. The rosary thread of all these stories is a young man whose picture is in the hands of the prince's wife and his lover in a velvet hat, and now, with another makeup, he is responsible for kidnapping the daughter of the mansion owner. The sounds of each floor reach the ears of a young boy who moves through the floors, and after a while, the audience realizes that all the residents of this house are ghosts. Lighting, decor and atmosphere are some of the positive points of this movie. But the exaggerated complexity of the story, along with the unexpected performance of Mohammad Reza Froutan and Baran Kaushari in the roles of the present-day residents of this building, are among the weaknesses of "The Postman Knocks Three Times" that cannot be easily ignored. Fathi and the production team of the film have tried to advance it in the rules of the horror genre, but more than creating fear, it is the complex connection between the sub-stories that confuses the audience. This film was nominated in many technical fields at the Fajr Film Festival and Hassan Fathi was able to receive the best director award from the Critics Association celebration. And the acceptance of the horror genre led some novice directors to make copies of foreign examples of the genre. This incident led to the creation of three works "Kalbe", "Harim" and "Al". Javad Afshar, one of the faces whose name we hear a lot on TV in recent years, made his first and last movie called "Cottage" in 2007, with a script by Barzo Niknejad, who was in the early days of his entry into cinema. This movie, from its name to its story and narrative type, was taken from its foreign model and was so weak in the narrative type that it was not seen at all. "Al" was made with a script by Amir Pouria and directed by Bahram Bahramian, as the first experience of both in the cinema, based on an old belief. But the fact is that "Al" makes the audience angry more than it scares the way a man treats his pregnant wife, and except for one sequence and a few scary nightmares, it has no adaptation to the horror genre. But the movie "Harim" was a few steps ahead of these two.


BingMag.com The <b>path</b> of the <b>horror</b> <b>genre</b> in <b>Iranian</b> <b>cinema</b> and the <b>best</b> <b>horror</b> <b>films</b> of <b>every</b> decade

  • Director: Seyed Reza Khatibi
  • Actors: Hamid Farrokhnejad, Enayat Shafiei, Shirin Bina
  • Product : 2008

"Harim" is not considered a good film by the criteria of measuring a cinematic work, but if we look at it from the perspective of the horror genre, it is a work completely faithful to the genre. . This film is the only work that was able to correctly follow the structure of horror cinema until 2008. The director even used all the traditional rules of scaring in the cinema, such as seeing ghosts in the bathroom mirror, wandering spirits, unburied corpses, in order not to deviate from the definitions of the genre. The story of "Harim" is about a massacre that happened in one of the northern forest villages, and now an intelligence officer must discover the secret of these murders. But his foot opens to an area where all the inhabitants are ghosts. "Harim" tries to blur the border between reality and otherworldly issues and in this way to create as much fear as possible for the audience, and of course it is successful in this field.

Using the horror genre in television Regarding religious teachings

In this article, we are going to focus only on the path taken by the horror genre in Iranian cinema, but the influence that the society, public opinion and parallel to that cinema gets from television is undeniable. This effect can be seen in the cinema in the second half of the eighties. When the fever of making special serials, especially during the month of Ramadan, was high and there was an insistence that there must be a transcendental series among the serials broadcasted during the month of Ramadan. This path leads to the production of collections such as "He is an angel It was", "Aghma", "The Last Sin", "Five Kilometers to Heaven" and... The series whose first purpose was to express religious issues from the perspective of spirits, jinn and the solution of Satan in the existence of earthly humans. Although it could have been offered with a better payment, it had both positive and negative effects on the society and made the audience's taste more ready to accept the horror genre than in previous decades. Of course, this form of serialization gradually declined from the end of the 80s and the decline in the popularity of television, and even the national media's re-attempt last year with the production of the series "The Summons" failed to repeat the success of the 80s. Therefore, the influence of television on cinema can be examined only in the middle of the eighties.

Horror genre in the 90s

The early nineties were the years of success for social films, which happened again to the horror genre. and until 2018, only two films in this genre were made in Iranian cinema. But one of the most important works of the horror genre of cinema was released in the first half of the nineties under the name "Fish and Cat".

Fish and Cat

BingMag.com The <b>path</b> of the <b>horror</b> <b>genre</b> in <b>Iranian</b> <b>cinema</b> and the <b>best</b> <b>horror</b> <b>films</b> of <b>every</b> decade

  • Director: Shahram Makri
  • Actors: Babak Karimi, Pedram Sharifi, Siavash Cheraghipour
  • Product: 1392

One of the basic problems of the horror genre in Iran is the way of telling a horror story. Usually in the horror genre, even in Hollywood, content sacrifices form. Because scaring the audience is the main goal and the importance of the story comes second. In Iranian cinema, usually the sub-stories and narratives that are added to the main line attack the genre structure and usually face problems in the ending. But Shahram Makri, one of the creative directors of Iranian cinema, tried to solve both of these problems in the movie "Fish and Cat". He chose a new form to make his film. A long plan sequence without cutting that had suspense in its heart. A form that alone was attractive for making a cinematic work and made a movie in the horror genre more exciting. The story of "Cat and Fish" is true and tells the story of a roadside restaurant that grinds human meat. Of course, there are no high-dose horror scenes in the film, but the atmosphere and the way the film is made are successful enough to inject terror into the audience. This film is one of the best-selling works shown in the Art and Experience Group of Iranian Cinema, and has received attention in important international festivals. It was not well received by the directors and only in 1995 the film "Zar" directed by Nima Farahi was made. This film was screened at Fajr International Film Festival, but it did not attract much attention from critics. The horror genre was transferred to the home television network in the mid-nineties, and there two series "The Summons" and "Sleeping" tried to have a new word in this genre with a different structure. But they were not successful in attracting the general audience and they could not fill the void of this genre. Fajr movie in 2018 was the most important and prosperous year for the abandoned horror genre. In this period of the festival, two films "Skin" and "That Night" were shown. films that each single-handedly changed all the standards of the horror genre in Iran.


BingMag.com The <b>path</b> of the <b>horror</b> <b>genre</b> in <b>Iranian</b> <b>cinema</b> and the <b>best</b> <b>horror</b> <b>films</b> of <b>every</b> decade

  • Director: Bahman and Bahram Ark
  • Actors: Javad Qamati, Fateme Masoudifar, Mahmoud Nazaralian
  • Product: 1397

Araz is in love with Maral, but Maral is married to another man and this love remains unfulfilled. Araz is also looking for the reason for this disloyalty. In the opening scenes of the film "Skin", it may seem like a romance that takes place in a rural setting. But when the story goes a little further, "Skin" enters the scary phase by introducing superstitious details into the film, which are known among the people of Iran. The Ark brothers are young directors who, in their second experience with a feature film, went to an old subject in the horror genre, but with proper cultivation and a special narrative form they considered, this film became one of the best examples of the horror genre in Iranian cinema. Became. The main word of "skin" is the non-interference of humans in the work of demons and supernatural beings. An intervention that can sometimes destroy people's lives and those around them. Music is one of the main pillars of this movie, which serves all the scary sequences and keeps surprising the audience. This film was highly praised in Fajr festival.

That night

BingMag.com The <b>path</b> of the <b>horror</b> <b>genre</b> in <b>Iranian</b> <b>cinema</b> and the <b>best</b> <b>horror</b> <b>films</b> of <b>every</b> decade

  • Director: Korosh Ahari
  • Actors: Shahab Hosseini, Nyusha Jafarian, Michael Graham
  • Product: 1397

Unlike "Skin", which turns a rural romance into a horror movie, "That Night" is a juicy Iranian-American drama. In the beginning, this film confronts the audience with an Iranian man and woman who live in Les Angeles are in a hotel. But exactly after familiarizing himself with the situation, he does not give up on the audience and keeps creating fear with successive incidents. Kurosh Ahari, who lives in the United States, was able to enter the Fajr Film Festival by making this film, and for the first time, a film produced jointly by Iran and the United States, which was approved by the Ministry of Guidance, was screened. "That night" is made exactly in the framework of the horror genre and to scare the audience, and it does not leave even the shortest sequence for the audience to take a breath. This film received the best Director, best Screenplay and best Actor awards at the 39th Moline de Rey horror Film Festival in Spain. This film event is one of the most important horror film festivals in the world, which separates the film "That Night" from other domestic examples. The film was delayed for two years and finally it was released in 1400. Maybe their sales volume cannot be considered a good measure to attract the audience. Because the hard blow that Corona inflicted on the cinema on the one hand and the livelihood problems of the people and the high price of cinema tickets on the other hand, it does not allow to accurately determine the audience attraction of a movie. But both of these works entered the home show network and were available to a wider audience from the platforms. published a collection called "Them". This episodic collection is completely made in the framework of the horror genre and is one of the works of this genre among Iranian dramas. "They" did not involve the general audience, but anyway, with its structure, it is considered a step forward for the home television network in the production and production of such works.

The last theatrical work in Iranian cinema that It is "Zalava" made and released in the horror genre. A film that, with its release, has closed the case of this genre in Iran, and it is not clear which director will go for horror in the cinema again. 2208/22403-9.jpg" alt="BingMag.com The path of the horror genre in Iranian cinema and the best horror films of every decade" loading="lazy">

  • Director: Arslan Amiri
  • Actors: Navid Porfaraj, Hoda Zain El Abdin, Pouria Rahimi Sam
  • Product: 2019

The deep and deep-rooted belief of Iranians in jinn has caused most of Modar's works to be noticed in the horror genre with The centrality of this phenomenon is to be made. "Zalava" as Arslan Amiri's first directorial experience, has used the same old belief. The film is about a village in the Kurdistan region. A village whose people use their weapons to ward off village jinns. But a strongman from the center has been assigned to go to this village and collect the weapons. Meanwhile, the arrival of an exorcist in the area changes the situation in a strange way. The writer and director of "Zalava", so that this film does not fall into the trap of content, carefully worked on the story and takes it to the end. The movie is scary enough in the sequences that should scare the audience. But the exact same problem of the horror genre in Iran is also faced by Ghariban Zalava in the last half hour of the film. Small romance and drama stories remove the horror of the film, and in order to have an acceptable conclusion, from one point on, the audience no longer experiences terror and feels like watching a drama with a happy ending. The fact is that "Zalava" is considered a successful experience for its director, who even received an award for it, but it cannot be placed next to the prominent works of this genre in Iranian cinema. Probably, this movie will not look as terrible as "29th Night" in the next few years.

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