Credit to Changing Up Pakistan Blog for reviewing the Horror Film released by a Pakistan entrepreneur and film maker Omar Ali Khan. Omar’s unique entrepreneurial skills can be best appreciated in this chain of desert shops across Pakistan called Hotspot which serves the people of Karachi and Islamabad with some mouthwatering deserts
Zibahkhana [which literally translates from Urdu to “Slaughterhouse”] which is also referred to as ‘Hell’s Playground’, this is to my surprise not a new production as it was extensively covered a year back in the TIME magazine when it premiered in Islamabad at a private golf club.
TIME, June 12, 2007: When it comes to slasher films, most American teenagers know the rules: Make sure the gas tank is full; don’t take short cuts through the woods; don’t pick up hitchhikers; and don’t — ever — split up. But here in Pakistan, where the capital city doesn’t even have a movie theater and the country’s barely breathing film industry hasn’t produced a scary movie since the 1970s, it’s hardly surprising that the local kids are new to the genre. So, the script of Zibahkhana, Pakistan’s first horror movie in a generation, could allow its teenage cast to make every fundamental mistake the genre allows.
I personally have been frequenting ‘The Hotspot’ in Karachi in the recent weeks and have frequently enjoyed the ambiance of this shop which is plastered with his extensive movie poster collection and figure heads. I distinctly recall viewing the poster of Zibahkhana at his ice cream shop, only assuming it to be just one more of his desi-spoof movie poster collection. And to my surprise today, little did I know that this was actually his own production.
The Express reviewed this movie just recently explaining the plot as….
The Express: A group of teens lie to their parents to drive five hours to see a rock concert. Of course they make a wrong turn and are set upon by zombies. Of course there’s a homicidal maniac on the loose. Of course that nice old woman hides a horrible secret. The movie is completely derivative, but that seems to be Khan’s intention.
Speaking a mix of English and Urdu, the Westernized characters — the virginal heroine, the pothead, the wild girl, the shy guy — are all so familiar you can predict the order in which they’ll be killed off, but that’s not the point. What makes “Hell’s Ground” so compelling as a movie rather than as a historical footnote is the inventive way Khan interprets these decades-old American archetypes through contemporary Pakistani culture.
After surviving the zombie attack, the teens must battle a clan of backwoods butchers only slightly saner than the family in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” The movie’s most frightening character is an unnamed killer clad in a white burqa and wielding a spiked mace, who is so malevolent and genuinely disturbing that he (yes, he) could become Pakistan’s own Leatherface. The movie wobbles a little in its rushed final act, and the twist ending is obvious. “Hell’s Ground” is flawed but fascinating. It’s as simple and entertaining as Khan’s insights into Pakistani culture — from its deepest anxieties to its escapist fantasies — are nuanced and thought-provoking.
Watch the trailer here, but be forewarned that it contains some explicit gruesome images.