Horror Movies, Pinoy Style

Manila Bulletin, October 31, 2006 | Go to article overview

Horror Movies, Pinoy Style


Byline: YUGEL LOSORATA

Filipino moviegoers are certified great patrons of the horror genre; this, considering their big anticipation for scary flicks even while the trailer of an upcoming hairraising film hasn't been shown yet. But the thing is, do the local horror titles truly provide the scare that Pinoys would want to experience while watching? Or audiences here have come to accept a nagging belief that some locally made horror pictures are sub-standard as compared to foreign counterparts, which otherwise means they're not as effective as they should be?

A couple of years back, the Chito Rono directed movie "Feng Shui" became the biggest box-office Tagalog picture of the year for its ability to bring out the screams from audiences who probably thought they're in for another half-baked and predictably narrated work. The film received praises from critics and fans alike largely due to its shrieking scare sequences, tightly woven story, and sensible movie ingredients somewhat uncommon to Pinoy horror stories like the series of patterned deaths which victimized even the major characters and the inclusion of a scary remarkable character by the name of Lotus Feet.

So what's the kind of horror movie that people would love? Highly accalimed director Erik Matti, a local master of the horror genre, once said, "Filipinos love movies na spoonfed yung scare content niya, yung takutan talaga. Ayaw ng mga Pinoy 'yung pelikulang pinapaisip sila ng husto."

He added, "Nung pinanood ko nga yung Feng Shui. Kinabahan ako dahil yung upcoming movie ko 'non, yung "Pasiyam," hindi ganon, kumbaga hindi pop ang approach ko sa movie ko. Di tulad nang sa Feng Shui na sigawan talaga ang mga tao. Buti na lang hindi naman nag-flop ang movie ko."

Sad to say, some local films just don't have the essential scary spices that could get good critical reviews or deserving approval from the ordinary movie-going people. Some insiders put the blame on the movies' shallow budgets for good effects or their unbankable stars, while a number of movie critics have deeper insights, pointing the finger to badly written plots and scripts or Hollywood-copy or obviously Asian-style-based scare punches. Just how many of today's local movies did inject the 'twist-in-the-end' kick as largely popularized by M. Night Syamalan's "Sixth Sense" fame?

According to reviewers, more often than not, the local version of such a twist are poorly predictable, like from that of the Psycho-patterned picture whose lead star mentally pretended his iron-fisted aunt is still alive. …

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