So there is a creature, or at least a type of creature, that is commonly found in the myths and folklore of many southeast Asian countries. Known variously as a Leyak [pronounced ‘leak’] (Indonesia), Penanggalan (Malaysia), Krasue (Thailand), Ap or Arb (Cambodia) and Phi-Kasu or Kasu (Laos). Here I’ll just use the term Krasue because I like typing it the most. The Krasue is generally thought of as an evil spirit that manifests itself at night and always as a woman (in Indonesia, there is one male Leyak, which is one of a legendary trinity. All others are represented as female). The Krasue is also generally represented as vampiric, with pointed teeth and seeking blood and flesh for sustenance. Perhaps the most distinctive, and fucking awesome, feature of the Krasue, however, is the fact that it is represented as having all of its innards and intestines dangling from its head, which floats around unattached to a body. There are many variations when it comes to the origin story of the Krasue, from evil midwives who have made pacts with the devil, to priestesses who were so surprised by a man entering her room as she was bathing that her head jerked her intestines out of her body, to simple witchcraft. The Krasue also are generally thought to attack pregnant women, especially at the time that they are giving birth. Krasue are thought to prefer the blood of newborn children and women who are just about to or just have given birth. Their method is to float above the roof of homes where women are giving birth and howl and screech through the night. After the birth of a child, the Krasue extends a long, invisible tongue to attempt to lap up the blood, eat the placenta and generally try to do some nasty shit to the child and mother. Oh and also, the Krasue can fucking control her intestines and use them to grab shit and choke people. YEAH BUDDY. In order to attempt to stop this from happening, families of pregnant women often place sharp objects (usually thorns) around the windows of the house so as to catch the tongue and/or intestines of the Krasue. There are many rituals surrounding birth and the moments after birth in Southeast Asia that revolve around the Krasue. Basically they are gross and fuckin spooky and awesome and I’m jealous that we don’t have them in the West. Here are some movies about them. Some of these movies are basically legends and I don’t even know if they actually exist, but I suppose that’s fucking appropriate. If anyone does happen to have info or (be still my heart) a way of watching some of these more mythical flicks, let me know.
NOTE: I am not including Manananggal in this list on consciously because they are different enough from the Penanggalan to merit a different discussion. They have wings and shit, for example, and can be male.
Demonic Beauty aka Krasue (Banluerit, 2002)
Krasue Valentine (Sippapak, 2006)
Nieng Arp aka Lady Vampire (Chanthy, 2004)
Fei taugh mo neuih aka Witch With the Flying Head (Woo, 1977)
Street Racing Grasueh aka Ta’ah Psushii Le’ak (UNKNOWN)
Krasue Sao (Naowaratch, 1973)
Drakula Tok (Tok, 1979)
Mo aka Boxer’s Omen (Kwei, 1983)
Itthirit Nammanphra (Unknown, 1984)