Monday, August 25, 2014

The Boy God – review

Director: J. Erastheo Navoa

Release date: 1982

Contains spoilers

Rocco, ang Batang Bato, was allegedly inspired by Clash of the Titans – watch very carefully and you may just about see that, though the film is set in a contemporary time and the Gods involved are all Roman rather than Greek.

I’d heard that there might be vampires in the movie and so sat down with a rather badly dubbed version of the film. I don’t think subtitles and original dialogue would have helped the film however. My thought was that they were likely to be a small part of the film but, actually, whilst not in it long the vampires (and werewolves for that matter) are plot central.

Niño Muhlach plays Rocco
This is somewhat of a so bad it’s good film. It starts with a man appearing (wearing ancient Greek style robes) and going to a house. Inside is a woman, with whom he copulates. She becomes pregnant and her mother and her husband/boyfriend (who seems very accepting of the fact that she’s pregnant) help deliver the child. The first indication that something is odd is when the Grandma tries to cut the umbilical and it breaks the scissors. The husband is being hunted by a bad guy, who turns up and kills him and the new mother. Grandma escapes with the baby.

showing his strength
Cutting forward, the grandmother returns to her old home with the now (approximately ten years old) Rocco (Niño Muhlach). We see that he has prodigious strength, able to lift a cart out of a pothole and chop wood with his bare hands. His grandmother cautions him to keep his powers hidden from all. We also quickly discover that he becomes pained and weakened when in water. Later the Grandma explains that he is like limestone, weak when immersed in water but strong when heated up!

being cooked
In the town is a doctor investigating a chemical contamination in the sea. He believes it is deliberate, caused by a mad German scientist who is wanted by the authorities. The town also starts suffering attacks by werewolves and vampires – we later discover that the scientist has artificially created them by turning townsfolk into them. Rocco ends up fighting these creatures, escaping being spitted and cooked by three werewolf sisters, travelling to the immortal lands to earn the right to be an immortal (which includes fighting various enemies, including a Cyclops) and rescuing his parents from limbo (who are stuck there because of their forbidden human/immortal love) by rescuing the villagers from the mad scientist.

a vampire swoops in
So vampires… well they are (when in vampire form) of the manbat variety. They can fly, they can’t bite Rocco (one breaks a tooth on his leg) and they are killed by normal violence. Being of the manbat variety the film is a joy for the aficionado of the crap bat. Other than that the vampires have very little lore but it is interesting that this Philippines film used werewolves and bat-shaped vampires rather than their domestic aswangs (which include vampire types and shapeshifters).

a vampire
The film itself is hokum and there is very little to say about the quality of it, which is minimal. But, in true “so bad it’s good” style it is more enjoyable than it should be – if you like obscure fantasy films from around the world that is. The quality deserves no more than 3 out of 10 – the act of viewing, however, may interest many of the blog readers.

The imdb page is here.

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