SLASHER MONTH: Mahakaal (1993)

There are people that are just going to watch this movie — which combines Freddy Kreuger, Michael Jackson, Bollywood song and dance numbers and a low budget — just to laugh. And you know, I kind of dislike that foreign remix cinema is seen as such a joke. You try making a movie that lives up to a Hollywood big budget movie within a country that can’t raise those funds while working within the confines of the way movies are presented. Most of u slack the imagination and sheer nerve to do it.

So when Seema has a nightmare of a scarred man wearing steel claws, our western minds instantly see this as a cheap knock-off. But the film plays with expectations, as the villain is not some average custodian, but the evil magician Shakaal, who needed children to increase his magical powers and was only stopped by Anita’s father, who has kept the claw glove in a drawer all these years later.

An American — even an Italian — remix film would not take everything. Bad Dreams may have a burned up villain and Taryn from Dream Warriors, but it is very much its own film. Night Killer only takes the mask. Mahakaal takes everything, even the actual music from the first two A Nightmare on Elm Street movies and keeps on giving.

There’s also the Michael Jackson-loving Canteen, who becomes a werewolf by the end of the movie because, well, who knows. This isn’t the kind of linear cinema that you grew up on. Strangely — or not hat much when you think of it — there’s another Bollywood Elm Street cover called Khooni Murdaa that even takes the end of Dream Warriors but redeems itself because it tells the origin story of Ranjit — Fareed Krueger — who escapes prison and gets thrown into a campfire, creating the dream version that destroys everyone else.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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