Director Fazil’s magnum opus, this psychological-horror-thriller is considered the best Indian movie of its genre. The story of the revenge-driven spirit of Nagavalli(Played by Shobana) and her fight with the intelligent and eccentric psychiatrist Dr.Sunny(Mohanlal), has acquired the status of a classic. The movie turned heads with its brilliant script, superb performances and the haunting music. Shobana’s portrayal of a girl suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder won her both the State and National Awards for Best Actress.
Ananthabhadram marked the debut of Santhosh Sivan in Malayalam as a filmmaker. In this Prithviraj-Kavya starrer revolving around the myths, legends and black magic of the yore, Sivan explores the deep human emotions of love, lust and power. Digambaran, a black magician, played by Manoj K. Jayan, became a benchmark for antagonists in Malayalam. The movie was borrowed heavily from the folk myths, traditions, dance forms and the martial art form of ‘Kalarippayattu’.
3. Bhargavi Nilayam(1964)
Bhargavi Nilayam changed the way Malayalee audience saw the horror genre. Written by
Vaikom Muhammad Basheer and directed by A.Vincent, the movie portrayed the sweet, romantic, fun loving spirit of Bhargavi(
Vijaya Nirmala), someone with whom the viewers fell in love with. The fresh approach towards the genre, the surrealist cinematography and the brilliant performances made this Madhu-
Prem Nazir starrer an evergreen classic in Malayalam.
Ezra shook up the Malayalam box-office with its promise of a true and terrifying horror movie. Directed by Jay K and having Prithviraj,
Sudev Nair and
Priya Anand in the lead, the film’s plot revolved around a Dybukk-an evil possessive spirit of a jew. The film has been appreciated for its horror element and the extensive research that went into paranormal activity.
Akam was based on Malayaattoor Radhakrishnan’s ‘Yakshi’ and is one of the recent experimental movies in Malayalam. Directed by Shalini Usha Nair, the movie had
Fahadh Faasil playing a young man who suspects his wife is a ‘Yakshi’, Anumol played the mysterious Ragini. The haunting theme music, dark cinematography and the dedicated acting made this film memorable.
Another Fahadh Faasil-starrer, Mrityunjayam was part of the Malayalam anthology ‘Kerala Café’ and was directed by
Uday Ananthan. The plot was an exploration of the myth and mystery surrounding an old ancestral house in a village. Though the acting, Tilakan and
Rima Kallingal gave brilliant performances -and the direction was done well but the amateur editing and a climax that left too many unanswered questions, let the movie down.
Deepu Karunakaran, was a sleeper hit, one that became a success owing to the publicity by word. This Jayaram-Bhavana starrer was one of the rare psychological thrillers in Malayalam which offered scares as well as thrills. The story of a family caught in between a child-eater and a psychopath, the movie was well-aided by the haunting locations, exceptional cinematography and the composed acting.
Aparichithan was director Sanjeev Sivan’s debut movie and had Mammootty playing the lead along with a bunch of young stars. The movie grabbed attention due to its highly intense climax scene. The horror and suspense element of the story was kept alive with detailed execution from the part of the director. It is the innumerable twists and turns of the plot that made the movie a huge success.
Another movie in which Mohanlal arrives to solve a mystery, Devadoothan was directed by Sibi K. Malayil. It told the story of a mysterious musical instrument-‘The seven bells’, that plays on its own and the failed romance that surrounded it. The film belongs to the group of Musical Horror, a genre not much explored in Malayalam. The film had an ensemble cast including Jayaprada and Vijayalakshmi.
Another flick by Jayaram, Kaanakanmani was directed by
Akku Akbar and presented a totally different concept-one that of an aborted child seeking revenge on its parents. Where the film scored big in the story, it lost in execution. What could have become a path breaker in the genre, was let down by the low direction and acting by the supporting actors. Nevertheless, the movie was a hit and placed Jayaram as a top choice for horror movies.