Undeniably, horror is one of local cinema’s most exciting genres. Like drama and comedy, its commercial bankability cannot be underestimated. It never goes out of fashion, so to speak. Avid film buffs don’t mind lining up the theatres just to watch.
The Filipino audience has a natural affinity to scream flicks. They love to get frightened especially when it’s the big screen. In fact, even in the annual Metro Manila Film Festival, horror entries always do well at the box-office standings. Not a single year that a horror entry is not in the line-up. Organizers are very much aware of the genre’s viability with the viewers. Even on regular screenings, horror movies are a sure-fire hit and can even further propel the popularity of its lead stars. Now that it’s Halloween time, we’re highlighting 10 classic and unforgettable Pinoy horror movies that gave the audience nightmares and sleepless nights after watching them.
Are you ready to revisit them and get scared once again?
Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara (1975)
A big hit during the ‘70s, this Celso Ad Castillo opus focuses on the theme of love, deception and revenge. It’s the story of two sisters who fell in love with one guy. The eldest, Barbara is kind-hearted and sacrificed her love for the man so that her younger sister Ruth will be happy. But the naturally selfish Ruth knew that her husband is still in love with her sister and therefore commits suicide. Her soul possessed her daughter to seek revenge. Susan Roces and Rosanna Ortiz top-billed the original movie while the ‘90s remake under the helm of Chito Roño starred Lorna Tolentino and Dawn Zulueta. Because of the material’s popularity, it also had a boob tube reboot in ABS-CBN which had Kris Aquino in the titular character and Jodi Sta. Maria as her selfish sister.
Sa Init ng Apoy (1980)
Directed by Romy Suzara, this hit movie featured the real-life tandem of iconic stars Lorna Tolentino and the late Rudy Fernandez. This is the story of a young couple who decides to take a vacation in scenic Baguio in time for the Holy Week. Before reaching their destination though, their vehicle bogs down and they were forced to rent an eerie transient house. From there, frightening things start to haunt them as they face the ancient evil lurking in the place. The late George Estregan was terrifying as the demon in the movie.
Another famous Susan Roces original. Shown in 1977, it was directed by the late Celso Ad Castillo. The film’s main protagonist is Angela, a lovely woman who got impregnated by the devil. The project also stars veteran acting stalwarts Eddie Garcia, Dante Rivero and Celia Rodriguez. The Kapamilya network took interest in reviving the material in 2008 in which Claudine Barretto headlined. Supporting her were Diether Ocampo, Rafael Rosell and Kim Chiu under the helm of the late Wenn Deramas.
Shake, Rattle & Roll (1984)
It’s always said that nothing beats the original. A trilogy handled by acclaimed directors Emmanuel Borlaza, Peque Gallaga and Ishmael Bernal, this was a top-grosser during the 1984 MMFF and even won Best Actor for then teen actor Herbert Bautista. The first episode is titled, Baso which is about the danger of playing the frightening game spirit of the glass. Three teenagers got possessed after performing said game in an old abandoned house.
The second episode, Pridyeder is about an old refrigerator that is possessed by a serial killer and rapist in the past, the reason why it devours young women as its victims. The third episode is titled, Manananggal which tells the story of a young man who fell in love with a mysterious barrio lass who happens to be a monstrous creature of the night. In the end, he was the one who was able to kill the blood-sucking menace in the area.
Shake, Rattle & Roll (1990)
The second instalment of the famous horror franchise. This time, Regal Entertainment produced the project and tapped the services of critically-acclaimed directors Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes for its scary trilogy which was a certified top-grosser in the annual MMFF. The first episode is called Multo in which a newly-wed couple spent their honeymoon in an old house in Baguio which holds a terrifying secret.
The next episode is Kulam which is about a doctor who in reality is a witch. She is jealous seeing the object of her affection falling for another woman so she performs voodoo on the man. Eventually, she became a frog as she accidentally cursed herself. The last episode is entitled Aswang and the most exciting to watch. The plot is about a young city girl who was invited to a town fiesta, not knowing that she will be the offering for the aswangs’ celebration. Manilyn Reynes became very popular as the “Horror Queen” of her time because of this episode.
Feng Shui (2004)
This movie made Kris Aquino the “Horror Queen” of the New Millennium. Directed by Chito Roño, this happens to be the highest-grossing movie in Philippine grounds way back 2004. The plot is about a cursed “bagua” mirror. Supposed to bring good luck, it holds a huge catch: anyone who will see his or her own image/reflection in the mirror will face an untimely death. The main character sees a distinct animal which is a part of the Chinese horoscope before the victim gets killed. It is revealed that it’s the year the victim was born. Due to the success of the original, a sequel was made in 2014 which was still top-billed by Kris and this time with Coco Martin. It became one of the top-grossers of the 2014 MMFF.
Another opus from director Chito Roño. Shown in 2006, it is also a certified blockbuster. The project was headlined by Kris Aquino and Claudine Barretto. It tackles the superstitious belief among Filipinos that siblings must not get married on the same year or a close relative passed away on that year. In the story, Kris is an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who was not aware that she got married on the same day her unknown half-sister (Claudine) also tied the knot. Because of this, many unfortunate things happen including the death of their loved ones. Kris looked for her long, lost half-sister and the curse was only broken when the former died after falling from a belfry. Boots Anson-Roa, Bernard Palanca and Wendell Ramos gave sterling support in this film.
Halimaw sa Banga (1986)
A twin-biller which was one of the top-grossers during the 1986 Metro Manila Film Festival. The first episode which was directed by Christopher de Leon starred his son Ian de Leon. It is about an ancient book found by two boys in a dilapidated mansion. Upon reading it, the cursed monster in the story was unleashed which threatens to wreak havoc. The main character Kokoy (Ian) must find a way to stop the monster in order to protect his family.
The second episode directed by the late Mario O’Hara is even scarier. It’s about a cursed jar whose history dates back from the time that the dead were buried in jars. It was believed that an ancient witch was killed and got buried in the jar. She promised to take revenge once she awakes. This was starred in by Liza Lorena and Maritess Gutierrez. This is where Matet’s famous line “Takot ako, eh!” emanated.
The Healing (2012)
Another certified hit by Chito Roño. Top-billed by Star for all Seasons Vilma Santos and Kim Chiu, it tells the story of the successive deaths of people who sought the help of a faith healer. It was revealed in the latter part of the story that the person who killed the faith healer is collecting the souls of those who got healed to make him live forever. The death scenes in the film are so terrifying to watch plus the special effects.
Magandang Gabi sa Inyong Lahat (1976)
One of the finest works of acclaimed director Lupita Aquino-Kashiwahara. Shown in 1976, the movie features Superstar Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III. It’s the story of a young woman who went home to their ancestral house after staying for a long time in foreign shores because of the news that her sister is very ill and needs attention. When she finally meets her, she appears to be mysterious in her ways. It was revealed eventually that she was already dead for quite some time.