More Roll, Less Rattle and No Shake please

Regal Films’ Shake, Rattle, and Roll is an iconic franchise of contemporary Philippine cinema. Generations of Filipinos grew up familiar with the horror film anthology. I could still recall favorite segments in the past, particularly the first SSR 1984’s Fridyider and Manananggal but this was under Athena Productions then.

I never looked forward to watching these films during Christmas where the film is a regular participant in the Metro Manila Film Festival. So why did I watched this year’s installment? Because of friend and filmmaker Jerrold Tarog‘s directorial effort in one of the film’s segments.

Shake, Rattle & Roll is a Filipino horror film series that started back in 1984 under the defunct Athena Productions then taken over by Regal Films. As of 2010, there are twelve installments of the movie series, the latest which I have seen and will discuss with some details now, with a review and rewrite.

Shake, Rattle & Roll 12 stays true to form of its predecessors, featuring three horror short films done by 3 different directors. All of  the segments were written under the supervision of Aloy Adlawan who also wrote SRR 2k5, as well as the horror films Signos, Ouija and T2.

“Mamanyika”

Directed by  Zoren Legazpi, with cast  Shaina Magdayao, Elijah Alejo, Ricky Davao, Jed Madela, Malou Crisologo, Jackie Lou Blanco, Carmina Villaroel, Rita Avila

A young girl found a doll half-buried in a grave when she and her elder sister (Shaina Magdayao) went to the cemetery to visit their deceased mother (Jackie Lou Blanco). She brought the doll home with her. The girl’s elder sister became wary of the doll and wanted to get rid of it, but the little girl didn’t want to be separated with her newfound “Mama Doll.” And when death began to surround them, the elder sister then realized that the “Mama Doll” was possessed, and it had an axe to grind on anyone who wished to separate it from its “daughter.”

Back in 2003 to 2005, the network GMA-7 had a horror anthology series then a horror-comedy anthology series, Kakabakaba and Kakabakab00 respectively. Both series featured a killer doll called Chaka Doll, which was a rip-off Chuckie of Child’s Play. Mamanyika is a reeking rip-off  of Chaka Doll. Mamanyika even looked like a tiyanak in a blond wig and dress. With an already stale plot and too many characters adulterate what could have been a dramatic story about family and forgiveness.

My re-write: The story could have been about two daughters dealing with their father’s re-marriage so soon after the tragic loss of their mother, who happens to be an avid doll-collector. Young step-mom has her hands full dealing with older daughter’s antagonism. The step-mom sees hope in building a relationship with the younger daughter but the latter’s attachment to a doll that belonged to dearly departed mother is a block. The older daughter is also disturbed by the close attachment her baby sister exhibits but much more by the doll which seems to be alive with restless spirit of her mother, restless because of a secret the older daughter must know.

“Isla”

Directed by Topel Lee with cast Andi Eigenmann, Rayver Cruz, John Lapus, Kristel Moreno, Nina Jose, Regine Angeles, Solo Kiggins

Three female tourists (Andi Eigenmann, Kristel Moreno, Regine Angeles) came to an isolated island for a vacation– no Internet, no cellphone service, no way back but through boat. Unknown to them, the island itself was the home to an “Engkanto” who commanded evil fairies called “Lambana.” To make matters worse, the engkanto had set its eyes on one of the girls. And there was nothing that could stop it from getting what it wanted.

Okay, babes in bikinis on a beach could have been an attractive film but the film featured as story-backbone an already much-too used folklore that it’s become trope. Topel Lee seemed to depend so much on special effects and tongue-in-cheek gags that he’s forgotten that it is characters that carry story.

My re-write: Why not a hot lesbian engkatada goes after the girl? Oh yeah.

Another re-write could be the girls come on an all-expense paid trip to a well-known, famous tourist island and given the star… nay, the Goddess treatment by the beautiful/bodylicious islanders, only to discover to their horror their tragic participation in an ancient ritual to ensure the island’s and its people’s popularity and prosperity.

“Punerarya”

Directed by Jerrold Tarog, with cast Carla Abellana, Sid Lucero, Mart Escudero, Nash Aguas, Gaby Dela Merced, Anna Vicente and Odette Kahn

Becoming a home-school tutor to two children (Anna Vicente, Nash Aguas) living in a funeral parlor can be a little disturbing at first, but Diane (Carla Abellana) believed she’d get used to it. That belief was soon shattered by the strange, inhuman behavior of the children and the inhabitants of the “punerarya.”

This segment is the film’s strongest and most mature, when it comes to direction and visual execution. I think it would have made a better film had it been given a good length of time to develop the characters as well as better material. The film is different in a good way, it even featured a female lead who’s not an easy victim.

Check out director Jerrold Tarog’s views on working on horror here

My re-write: I really enjoyed the short film because of its direction though if I were to change anything story-wise… well, I am just tired to watch in film humans falling victims to monsters. I just think it’s high time to have our local horror genre to adopt some high story concepts, like humanizing our nightmares or that we create our monsters.

For more reviews on Shake, Rattle and Roll 12 check these out:

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