Original film title in Malay: Anak Pontianak
English title: Son of Pontianak
Directed by Ramon A. Estella
Written by A. Razak
Starring: Jins Shamsuddin, Hashimah Yon, Dayang Sofia, S. Kadarisman
Produced by Malay Film Productions (Shaw Bros.)
A house at 6th mile Bukit Timah Road
FILIPINO DIRECTOR RAMON ESTELLA’S Anak Pontianak actually came on the heels of two immensely popular ‘pontianak’-themed movies first conceived by the Cathay-Keris film studios. They were Pontianak and Dendam Pontianak (Pontianak’s Revenge), both directed by B. N. Rao, written by Abdul Razak and released in 1957. These two films are now believed to be lost after Ho Ah Loke, the films’ producer, reportedly threw the original prints down a mining pool in a fit of rage. So, Malay Film Productions’ Anak Pontianak may probably be the oldest Pontianak film that still exists today. In fact, Cathay-Keris had announced concurrent productions for two Pontianak film sequels (titled Anak Pontianak and Sumpah Pontianak) in late 1957. The Shaw Brothers, ever quick-witted (or unscrupulous, if you like), followed suit immediately and persuaded Abdul Razak, the original creator of the Pontianak stories that inspired the film series, to write a script for them. They then appointed Ramon the lightning-fast director to produce their own Anak Pontianak and beat Ho Ah Loke and company to it, releasing their film in February 1958, two months before Cathay-Keris came up with Sumpah Pontianak.
For those who are unfamiliar, the ‘pontianak’ is one among the numerous vampire-ghosts that thrive in Malay folklores and is commonly described as the ghost of a woman who died in childbirth, often taking on the guise of a scented, seductive girl.
According to newspaper reports, Anak Pontianak was shot on location in a haunted house at the 6th milestone, Bukit Timah Road. As much as we tried and walked around the vicinity of 6th milestone Bukit Timah Road, we couldn’t spot the haunted colonial-era bungalow that was featured in the film. It had already been torn down, we guess.
Ramon Estella would direct another two Pontianak movies under Malay Film Productions, Pontianak Kembali (‘Pontianak Returns’, 1963) and Pusaka Pontianak (‘The Accursed Heritage’, 1965).
1. Amir Muhammad, 120 Malay Movies (pp. 127-129). Petaling Jaya: Matahari Books, 2010.
2. Hamzah Hussin, Memoir Hamzah Hussin: Dari Keris Film ke Studio Merdeka (A Memoir of Hamzah Hussin: From Keris Films to Merdeka Studio), Chapter 8: Pontianak Menguntungkan. University Kebangsaan Malaysia, 1997.
3. ‘Two spine-chilling thrillers. Now in production.’ The Straits Times. 3 November 1957, p. 20.
4. ‘Spooks? You can’t scare me’, says Sharifah’. The Straits Times. 16 December 1957, p. 4.
© 1958 Malay Film Productions
© 2002 Music Valley