Philippine Horror Films
Filipino films combine universal elements of fear with plenty of home-grown tales drawn from folklore and myth. This concoction results in a horror genre that’s rich and continually evolving, and I recommend the following works to anyone looking to explore international cinema.
- White Lady (2006) - Set on a college campus, White Lady revolves around Pearl (Pauleen Luna) a country girl who arrives in the big city to pursue an education. While much of her time is spent studying and dealing with a crowd of popular bullies, Pearl also begins having visions of a woman in white. As the haunting intensify, Pearl and the “in crowd” face supernatural perils that will lead to a horrible secret being uncovered.
- Kulimlim (2004) - Actor Robin Padilla takes on the challenge of five roles, playing a man who seeks revenge after the Satanists who raped his wife are released from prison. But revenge comes at a high price, as the spirits of these convicts wind up possessing Jake and causing him to go after his own family. Can a spiritual cure be found in time, or will these evil men have the last laugh?
- Ouija (2007) - A group of female relatives (including Judy Ann Santos, Jolina Magdangal, and Iza Calzado) gather to bury their beloved grandmother, but trouble strikes when they find an old Ouija board from their childhood. What begins as a round of innocent fun becomes serious when a deadly spirit comes calling. With time running out, the women must learn the identity of the ghost and lead it back to its grave in order to stop the killings. If you’re looking for Philippine horror films filled with lovely ladies, then you’ll want to give Ouija a try.
- Shake, Rattle & Roll (1984) - The first installment of this long-running Filipino film series debuted in 1984, and there have been a total of 12 movies released so far (with a 13th scheduled for later in the year). Each film is a horror anthology, and the earlier works tend to have a darker tone. You’ll have trouble tracking down the original, but your efforts will be well rewarded. The first tale concerns a group of friends who mess with a spirit and end up being thrown into the past to learn some shocking facts about their previous lives. The second story concerns a refrigerator possessed by a serial killer, and the third tale revolves around a rural teenager whose grandmother tasks him with eliminating vampiric creatures roaming the area.
- Patient X (2009) - When the killers of his older brother are caught after 20 years, a doctor must return to his hometown and face them. But it turns out that these murderers are actually vampire-like beings, and their presence in the town threatens the lives of everyone.
Philippine horror films have become increasingly popular in recent years, so expect the production quality to continue to improve along with the caliber of actors drawn to these projects. While not on the level of Japanese horror films or Korean horror films, Filipino cinema still offers plenty of thrills and chills. Most of the movies listed above may not be at your local video store, so you may need to check Amazon or a local retailer who specializes in horror (Eerie Books in Wylie, Texas, for example).