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Netflix’s Ghoul: The Terrifying Folklore comes to Life

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After the success of its first Indian original series ‘Sacred Games’, Netflix is now gearing up for its second Indian original – A thrilling horror series, titled Ghoul.

Ghoul, which comes out on the 24th of August, is a three part miniseries, featuring Radhika Apte and Manav Kaul in the lead roles. Radhika was also a part of the critically acclaimed series, Sacred Games.

A lot of big names are involved in this project. Ghoul is produced by Phantom Films, Ivanhoe Pictures and Blumhouse Productions. Phantom Films was also the producer of Sacred Games and the renowned Blumhouse Productions is a huge name in the horror and thriller genre of Hollywood, credited for films like the Paranormal Activity series, the Insidious series, The Purge series, Get Out, etc.

What is the web series all about?

To summarize the details known about the series from the glimpses we have received through teasers and trailers, the story of Ghoul is set in a military center, where people suspected or guilty of involvement in terrorist activities are brought for interrogation, and sometimes, even tortured.

Nida Rahim, played by Radhika Apte, is one such military officer working at the center. She is loyal and is praised for bringing her own father, involved in seditious activities, for interrogation.

Later, a mysterious prisoner, Ali Saeed Al Yacoub, is brought to the center. However, the story takes a dark turn and the tables are turned on the investigators when the prisoner starts questioning them on their darkest secrets and the officers are forced into a fight for survival when the captive, who is not from this world, becomes the captor.

Ghoul – The Folklore:

The Ghoul has its origins in the Arabic folklore. They are a part of both pre-Islamic Arabian legends and also found in Islamic mythology. Ghouls are creatures that are usually found in places like burial grounds or other deserted locations. They belong to the class of evil Jinns, another supernatural creature, and are considered to be the offspring of Iblis, the one who rejected God’s demand to bow to Adam and was cast off from heaven down to hell, quite like Lucifer in Christian mythology. Jinns have a similarity to the Shedim of Jewish folklore.

Earlier stories that mentioned Ghoul referred to the creature as being female, which is in contrast with Netflix’s Ghoul where the creature is shown as a male. However, it could be that the creature is actually a female but in possession of a male body.

Ghouls are a part of folklore all over the Middle East, with stories spread far and wide, across countries like Morocco, Palestine, Yemen, Iraq as well as Iran.

Ghouls devour the flesh of the ones they have killed, and have shape-shifting powers enabling them take the form of animals as well as humans that they recently consumed. Some stories depict Ghoul as a beautiful female that attracts travelers at night and then eats them.

According to a number of such stories, a Ghoul can be defeated by striking its head with a sword. However, if a second blow was delivered, the Ghoul would come back.

Ghouls, a creature that existed in Middle Eastern mythology and folklore since a long time, made their way to Europe through the French translation of the collection ‘One Thousand And One Nights’ also known as Arabian Nights. They have managed to survive centuries and are still holding a place in popular culture, with mentions in stories, poems, novels, comics, films, as well as web series (as we can see with the Netflix series).

The Ghoul of Netflix:

The script has used creative liberties with the folklore, with an interesting placement of the creature in a military setting. In the series, the Ghoul can be summoned using a symbol and a deal with the demon. If compared to the folklore, we weren’t able to find stories with instances of summoning a Ghoul, however, we could find ones where sorcerers summoned Jinns (a category ghouls belong to) and made deals with them.

Most horror films in India have generally been filled with terrible CGI, cheap scares, and poor storylines.

Horror fans are eagerly waiting for the Netflix’s Ghoul, expecting a delivery of a high-end horror series, contrasting with the mainstream Bollywood horror that has been a lackluster so far.  But with huge names like Phantom Films, Ivanhoe Pictures and the renowned Blumhouse Productions involved in this project, we can only hope for the best.

ALSO READ: Top 10 International Crime TV Series

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