Twelve Things about Shake, Rattle and Roll 12
12. Christmas feels more like Christmas when it comes with a new Shake, Rattle and Roll movie. Since this is the second year in a row we've had one, Regal Films might not put out another next year. Which would be a very sad thing to do to Horror fans who have been nice all year.
(And come on: Shake, Rattle and Roll 13 is bound to be epic!!!)
11. Say it with me: Short is scary. Some master storytellers can stretch out a terrifying tale until it becomes a novel or a full-length film (or even a full-length film adaptation of a novel); but for the rest of us, a good rule is to keep the creepiness as concentrated as possible.
Then there are real Masters like George Romero who have their feature film length and get their shorts, too. Remind me to post my review of Creepshow one of these days. In the meantime, let's see how each of this year's three stories fares . . .
10. In this first short, we have a doll that seems to be possessed by the spirit of a woman who died in anger. It's an okay premise. It would be more okay if we could figure out which woman is actually possessing the doll. Given the deadly domestic quarrel which starts us off, it makes sense for the woman to be the betrayed wife. It makes no sense whatsoever for the story to reveal that the doll originally belonged to a grieving mother who died in a mental sanatorium. Pick one backstory and stick with it.
9. There were some good themes inherent to the story that were completely lost in the filming. Like family . . . and forgiveness. The doll is used a substitute family member in both backstories--and both feature families with one member who just won't come to terms with a tragic loss. But the message is as disjointed as the doll's attacks.
8. This is Zoren Legazpi's directorial debut and I can't say I'm very impressed. This vignette has the feel of a made-for-TV movie. A mediocre one.
7. Here is the usual starlet-studded offering for the sake of teenage viewers. I'm even more out of the loop than I was last year, when I was able to identify one of the young actors in last year's Lamanglupa. Yeah, I could tell who Andi Eigenmann was, but only because she was the only one in the cast who looked like she would have a surname like that.
6. I appreciate the sources of fear the story was trying to tap into. Filipinos are still wary of nature spirits, and teenagers who spend their vacations in secluded spots, as our characters do, like to scare each other with stories about the same. That is, there's a fantastic Folk Horror tradition to fall back on, and I don't see why the writers had to make up some of the more outlandish details in this story.
But I could be wrong, of course, and the local pantheon really might include some malignant nature god whose thick, goey spit turns into ugly fairies with man-boobs.
5. Still, I kind of liked the Hades and Persephone thing they had going there for a bit. (A word of advice to everyone, especially young girls: Never eat anything offered to you by a creature who lives underground.) And was there also a Lost influence in that creepy island setting? I usually enjoy a cocktail of classical sensibility and pop culture references, but this one didn't have a strong theme to tie all those dramatic flavours together.
4. By far the best of the three stories and a dang good short film on its own! There was hardly anything to laugh at, and the premise put a nice, new spin on some well-known Horror tropes.
3. Or maybe I'm just biased. After all, the protagonist is a tutor who has been hired to home school two children in a creepy house. That's my life.
Well, all right, Scrap Metal doesn't live behind a mortuary and funeral parlour--and his family doesn't insist that he be kept out of the sunlight because of some alleged genetic condition. Nevertheless, "Governess Gothic" does appeal to me: I can totally see myself making the exact same decisions the protagonist does. And the actress Carla Abellana carries the story so well that I was with her every step of the way.
2. This film is more proof that Horror is filling the void left by both Morality Plays and classic Tragedies. Everything that happens to the heroine is entirely her fault--and all of it is due to a fatal flaw in her character. The truth was right in front of her face and she refused to see it. And the best part is that the same truth is right in front of the audience's face, too. Are we also equally obstinate about it?
This is the sort of film you have to watch twice, so you can see everything you failed to pick up on the first time around.
1. My verdict: This is a good year. Shake, Rattle and Roll 12 is head and shoulders above Shake, Rattle and Roll XI . . . but only because of Punerarya.
Image Source: Shake, Rattle and Roll 12 poster