Zibahkhana (2007)

1948

Zibahkhana; Hell’s Ground (2007)
Cast: Kunwar Nafees, Rubya Chaudhry, Rooshanie Ejaz, Osman Khalid Butt, Najma Malik, Salim Meraj, Haider Raza, Adnan Malik and Rehan.
Written by: Omar Khan & Pete Tombs
Edited by: Andy Starke
Nutshell:  A splattery ode to horror films of all shapes and sizes with an emphasis on the 70s.  The cliches and the blood fly with glee.

WINNER OF THE BEST FILM AWARD
AT THE FANTASPOA FILM FESTIVAL 2009. PORT ALEGRE, BRAZIL

WINNER OF THE BEST FILM AWARD
AT THE RIOFAN FILM FESTIVAL 2008. RIO, BRAZIL

WINNER OF THE BEST GORE JURY’S AWARD AT THE FANTASTIC FILM FESTIVAL,
AUSTIN, TEXAS 2007

SCREENED AT THE ANDY WARHOL MUSEUM, USA
AMAZON.COM

AMAZON.CO.UK

AMAZON.CO.UK

100% “CERTIFIED FRESH” TOMATOMETER RATING

Working Class Zombies and Men in Burqas:
Temporality, Trauma, and the Specter of Nostalgia in Zibahkhana

Dr. Gwendolyn S. Kirk
Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Introduction

The year 2007 saw the release of Zibahkhana, advertised as “Pakistan’s first extreme horror film”. Written, produced, and directed by ice cream shop owner and horror buff Omar Ali Khan, the film’s plot is a mashup of classic Hollywood horror film clichés. Teenagers Ayesha, Roxy, OJ, Vicky, and Simon lie to their parents and set off on an all-night road trip to see “the hottest rock band in Pakistan.” On the way, they take a shortcut into the woods, get lost, and run out of gas. They are accosted first by zombies (local villagers transformed by rampant water pollution into nightmarish cannibalistic ghouls) and then by a psychotic family of serial killers: a witchlike old lady and her two sons, one a deranged Sufi mendicant, the other “Burqaman,” a non-speaking figure in a ripped and blood-stained burqa whose preferred method of dispatching his victims is a spiked mace and chain.

The seemingly familiar narrative—a group of attractive, middle-class kids set off in a van at dusk, decide to take a shortcut and get lost in the woods, and are terrorized and killed off one by one—belies the film’s innovative complexity. The teenagers in the van are attacked separately both by zombies and the maniacal family of killers, and the film’s visual and narrative references tack seamlessly from classic American horror films to Pakistani horror and action genres. This generic fluidity echoes and amplifies the ambiguity in the film’s political stance, which is equally difficult to simplify: if, on the one hand, the usage of a variety of Islamic symbols—the most obvious being the burqa worn by the film’s main killer—raises the question of whether Zibahkhana is a critique of extremist Islamic movements in contemporary Pakistan, then on the other hand, the religiosity of the only surviving character also upholds a certain kind of moral status quo. It is quite unwarranted, as Ahmad and Khan (2010, p. 161) have argued, to reduce the film to a critique of some “extremist” Islam—whether Zia ul Haq-era Islamization or the current “Talibanization” of Pakistan. Indeed, when contextualized in the current socio-political moment in Pakistan, its narrative and visual elements create powerful, temporal, and moral ambiguities that resist superficial interpretation.

The above excerpt is courtesy of:
Working Class Zombies and Men in Burqas:
Temporality, Trauma, and the Specter of Nostalgia in Zibahkhana
Dr. Gwendolyn S. Kirk
Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
University of Wisconsin-Madison

CLICK ON IMAGES FOR REVIEWS & REPORTS BELOW: