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A pontianak or kuntilanak (as known in Indonesia, sometimes shortened to just kunti) is a type of vampire in Malay folklore. The pontianak is usually a woman who died during childbirth and becomes undead, seeking revenge and terrorizing villages. She often appears as a beautiful woman, usually accompanied by the strong scent of frangipani. Men who are not wary will be killed when she morphs into a hideous vampire, she will also eat babies and harm pregnant women.
People believe that having a sharp object like a nail helps them fend off potential attacks by pontianaks, the nail being used to plunge a hole in the back of the pontianak's neck. It is believed that when a nail is plunged into the back of a pontianak's neck, she will turn into a beautiful woman, until the nail is pulled off again. The Indonesian twist on this is plunging the nail into the apex of the head of the kuntilanak.
Langsuir is a version of pontianak, popular in Malaysia as one of deadliest banshee in Malay folklore. Different from a pontianak, which always appeared as a beautiful woman to devour the victim, langsuir would possess the victim and suck blood from the inside, slowly causing a fatal end. It is believed that langsuir are from women who had laboring sickness (meroyan) as a result of suffering the death of their children and who themselves died afterwards.
Movies about Pontianak
- Pontianak Gua Musang
- Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam - Maya Karin as pontianak (2004)
- Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam 2 - Maya Karin as Pontianak (2005)
- Pontianaks And The Issue Of Verisimilitude In Singaporean Cinema -- an essay by Dr Timothy White of the National University of Singapore, about the important role played by 1950s and 1960s horror films in the evolution of pontianak mythology (Microsoft Word document).