Sunday, December 26, 2010

Shake Rattle and Roll – review

Director: Peque Gallaga (segment Manananggal)

Release date: 1984

Contains spoilers

It seems fitting that the first of the Philippine series of horror anthologies, Shake Rattle and Roll, should have a section called Manananggal and it be a fairly straight telling of the Manananggal folklore. (The other two tales were Baso, a possession and love triangle story, and Pridyider, the tale of a haunted fridge.)

The trouble is that it is a little too straight, it has questions unanswered and it is dated. I mean, it was done in ’84 but still…

Herbert Bautista as Douglas
A lad, Douglas (Herbert Bautista), walks through the jungle practicing his song. With him is Kadyo – a professional musician it would seem. It is Easter and when a wind picks up Kadyo decides it is a bad omen and leaves. Douglas continues alone to his destination.

Irma Alegre as Anita
Said destination is the home of Anita (Irma Alegre) a young woman and Douglas, despite loosing Kadyo’s assistance, plays her a serenade. She opens her window and listens, she even seems to enjoy it. Then she closes a window. Suddenly the wind picks up again. A screech sounds out through the jungle.

Kadyo's body
Douglas is making his way home when he steps on a guitar, smashing it and falls into the eviscerated body of Kadyo. He rushes along and the bushes move, it is his little brother Gio (Peewee Quijano). Gio is looking for their dog, sausage, who has escaped. They see it but Douglas covers Gio’s mouth. The dog, off screen, sounds like it is fighting for its life.

The boys leg it home and tell their grandmother (Mary Walter) what has occurred, that they are being chased by an aswang (in its collective name sense). She has them pray and says that Douglas must sort it out as he serenaded Anita. The next day he must go and buy salt. Anita is in the village (and village men, in the passion play, are missing Kadyo). He leaves and she follows him so he stays near a holy shrine, daring her to approach.

animated manananggal
He had fallen asleep and has to go to her hut. He watches as she disrobes and rubs oil into her skin. Following this wings emerge and she splits in half. Now we hit into some bad effects. I know this is a few years old and probably on an impossibly tight budget but the animated manananggal looks blooming awful.

salting the lower half
Douglas gets his salt out (and some oil from the holy shrine) and casts them across her lower half. The tubes used for the guts were a little too rubber hose like but, even so, this was a much better effect. Unfortunately, salting her lower half only hurts and upsets her and the upper half is clawed and winged. Will Douglas prevail…

I mentioned unanswered questions. These were questions such as why would an, apparently, twelve year old boy be off in the jungle serenading a grown woman? Why would Kadyo help him and where did Douglas get his money for the musician’s help? Why wouldn’t the grandmother report the musician’s death to the police? Did she know Anita was a manananggal and, if so, why hadn’t she warned her grandson? Who was the guy flagellating himself at the shrine?

Coupled with the fact that this holds no tension, there are no real character developments and it looks incredibly dated doesn’t bode well for a score. Despite the manananggal lore – which is always nice to see – the segment only warrants 2.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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