Thursday, June 14, 2018

Shake Rattle & Roll IV – review

Directors: Peque Gallaga & Lore Reyes

Release date: 1992

Contains spoilers

The fourth instalment of the popular anthology series from the Philippines, I actually found this to be a particularly weak entry into the series. Perhaps not helped by the fuzzy video quality of the film (though that also probably helped the manananggal effects look quite good in the section we are interested in.

Before we get there, we should note that the first story is Ang Guro, which was essentially a riff on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde on a college campus. The second story (probably the most interesting of the bunch) was Kapitbahay in which a desperate Witawit (Rene Hinojales) starts kidnapping children as it wishes to stop its tree being cut down.

newspaper
The third story is Ang Madre, and centres around the manananggal myth. The story takes part in a poor area of a city where there is a brothel and where a pair of sisters and the young son, Teks (IC Mendoza, Shake Rattle and Roll 8, Shake Rattle and Roll X & Shake Rattle and Roll XV), of one of them live and scrape a living together. The fear of the manananggal is reflected in the press and, looking closely, you can see it described as half-woman and half-vampire.

on bat wings
This is because the manananggal is one of the types that splits in two, leaving its legs behind as it flies on giant bat wings. In this case, eventually, it becomes apparent that there is a male (Miguel Rodriguez) and female (Aiko Melendez) manananggal. At first, however, an old lady (Lilia Cuntapay, Aswang (1992), Shake Rattle & Roll V & Island of the Living Dead) is blamed for the attacks – and both this and the previous segment do focus on mobs blaming or scapegoating an innocent. It is Teks who realises it is actually a nun from the clinic who is the female vampire.

hot sauce
The lower body is susceptible to attack and we do see Teks use a hot sauce (it might be the chillies, the peppers or the garlic in such sauce that proves effective) and this actually seems to melt the lower body down to nothing. We also see the hot sauce being used as a defensive weapon against the flying manananggal, ultimately sunlight is also an effective weapon – if the torso is still separated. There is little other lore to look at in this one, though as mentioned earlier, for such a low budget effort the sfx around the manananggal is fairly impressive (though the print will hide issues).

the manananggal
As I mentioned right at the beginning, this was a weak entry in the series. This section felt unfocused, the first segment was pretty darn fluff. The middle section worked better and, when this worked it was in aspects like the mob rule that I touched on. The score, as always, is for the vampire section only and this one looked quite good (despite the poor print) and had some worthwhile gore despite inherent weaknesses. 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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