We’ve heard many scary tales; we remember this set. Click on photos to enlarge.
From Twisted 4: The Twisted Menace.
No relation to the story above, we just like this photo by David Lynch.
* * * * *
The winner of the podcast quiz for episode 10 is the boomerang kid. Please post your full name in Comments (It won’t be published) and we’ll alert you when your Hologram for the King has been delivered to National Bookstore in Rockwell.
Update: Boomerang kid, your Eggers awaits you or your rep at the Customer Service desk, National Bookstore, 2/f Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati, telephone (02)8974562. Enjoy!
You are watching Looper for the second time with a friend who hasn’t seen it before. You are seated behind a group of white teenagers who put their feet up on the seats in front of them. What do you do?
A. Nothing. Their feet aren’t on my seat so I’ll leave them alone. (Though it’s gross to contemplate what’s been on your seat back.)
B. Nothing. It’s not my job to teach them how to behave. Their parents have failed, not my problem. Plus I refuse to turn into my parents.
C. Nothing. We should be nice to our foreign guests. (The cultural difference argument.)
D. Call the guard/usher and let him tell them not to put their feet up.
E. Put my feet up on the backs of their seats until they get the hint. (The graphic illustration approach)
F. Tell them politely to put their feet down.
G. Move to another section of the theatre.
H. Yell at them to take their shoes off the goddamn seats there are no sharks on the floor waiting to bite them. (Politeness doesn’t work.)
I. Chat them up in an extremely friendly, creepy way. (Our friend did this once, to a bunch of girls who were showing each other photos of their crushes in the middle of a movie. “Ohh, he’s cute! Can I have your number?”)
J. Accuse them of camcording (now a verb) the movie.
What happened: We assumed the live and let live approach would be the most stress-free and tried it. But then they started yakking and texting—holding up the bright screens for extra aggravation. Our friend told them off. They moved to the front row.
Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles, directed by Erik Matti
1. We were expecting the old reliable manananggal model with the flying torso, leathery wings and big hair. Here the monsters look like groupies of a death metal band who failed the auditions for Mad Max 3 extras by day, and man-size emaciated hell dogs by night.
“Totoo na puede silang maging aso o baboy (Yes, they can take the form of pigs or dogs),” said Andresa, our expert on tiktik, wakwak, aswang, mangkukulam and other supernatural nasties. “Yung sa pelikula, kalahati totoo, kalahati pang-commercial purposes ba. Ay! Hunk si Roi Vinzon!”
2. Roi Vinzon is disturbingly hot for an action movie kontrabida of the 80s. For comparison, look at the action movie stars of the 80s and 90s (except Robin Padilla).
Roi Vinzon, masarap ang paksiw, Croque Madame, ostrich burgers, scallops at brick oven pizza ni Andresa, FYI.
P.S. from Andresa: “Ang bilis namang nawala ni Kirby, di ko man lang natingnan.”
3. The vaunted green screen shots make everything look hyper-real yet fake. Horror movies rely on atmosphere; it’s hard to feel scared when you know those critters lurking in those trees don’t exist. Often we felt like we were watching an expensive feature-length ad.
Tiktik is a scare-free horror movie but an enjoyable action-comedy.
4. First time in years that we’ve noticed a mainstream Filipino movie using Pinoy metal in the soundtrack. Is that Wolfgang singing Jeproks?
5. Joey Marquez is hilarious. The scene where he’s crazed with rage and terror takes the movie in a new direction. For 90 seconds, but that’s still something.
6. LJ Reyes playing one of the tiktik has a compelling screen presence—give her a starring role.
7. There are some great moments—the gravity-challenged tiktik, the pig who is not Babe, and a fight scene that reminds us of this sketch from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
8. There should be a limit on the amount of slow motion filmmakers can use in a single movie. Drawing out a scene with slowmo can ratchet up the intensity; too much and it looks like the filmmakers just ran out of ideas. What was supposed to be the most nerve-racking scene in the movie was so stretched out the guy behind us yawned, “Ang tagal naman mahulog niyan.”
We propose a 20 percent cap on slowmo usage (Slow motion should not constitute more than one-fifth of the total running time). If Tiktik had proceeded at normal speed it would be an hour long.
9. Noel’s favorite aswang movies:
# 4: Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles
# 3: That episode in Shake, Rattle and Roll by Peque Gallaga where Manilyn Reynes is invited to a fiesta by Ana Roces, not knowing she’s intended for the aswangs’ main course.
# 2: Aswang, also directed by Gallaga, in which Alma Moreno is the aswang who doesn’t say a word.
# 1: The Manananggal episode in the first Shake, Rattle and Roll by Gallaga, where Herbert Bautista is being chased by manananggal Irma Alegre. The pursuit is genuinely scary, but the really hair-raising scene was when the future Mayor Bistek was passing through the woods on Good Friday and he met some flagellants who told him to go home because evil was walking the earth. Aaaaaaaaaa.
10. Finally we see what the fans see in Dingdong Dantes. In Tiktik he plays an asshole forced by circumstance to become a hero, which he accomplishes without losing sight of the fact that he is an asshole. Good work, Dantes.
Heroes don’t have to be saints; it’s the protagonist’s most obnoxious qualities that make him capable of facing down the monsters. So Tiktik is a movie about confronting your true self. Nice work, Matti.
The author Colson Whitehead has written novels about dueling elevator inspectors (The Intuitionist), an American folk hero who perished in a competition with a machine (John Henry Days), a nomenclature consultant (Apex Hides the Hurt), a prep school kid coming of age in the mid-80s (Sag Harbor), and a clean-up crew after the zombie apocalypse (Zone One). He’s written a book-length ode to New York City, an epic report on the World Series of Poker, and a memoir of growing up on horror movies. A few weeks ago he was at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali to talk about his work.
Though it is lunchtime and conditions are perfect for a nap, the hall is full of people clutching copies of his books. Whitehead is a tall African-American man in his 40s, with dreadlocks. According to his official bio he was born and lives in Manhattan, received a MacArthur “genius” grant, and worked for the Village Voice. His manner—halting, seeming to grope for the right words—suggests he would rather not be talking about himself, but he obviously knows how to get the crowd going. The moderator introduces him and asks him to read from his latest novel, Zone One. He reads the first line—“He always wanted to live in New York”—then goes off on a riff about the terrors of the writing process.
Read Colson Whitehead: Laureate of the Zombies, our column today next week in the Philippine Star.