Sunday, May 3, 2009


HIMALA (1982)


RESURRECTION (1980) and HIMALA (1982)
are two movies that resemble each other in unbelieveably many ways.

In Resurrection: Lewis John Carlino's story goes:
Once upon a time, there was a woman named Edna (Ellen Burstyn) who was very much in love with her husband. Then she gave him a sports car for his birthday, and he died in an accident. Edna nearly died in the accident herself, and had a “near death experience,” having “seen” the other side where loved ones who had passed on now reside. She lived, and found herself partly paralyzed, and became depressed, until a long driving trip with her father triggered something: she met a very strange man in the desert. The man had a two-headed snake. It was a casual meeting, a brief one in fact, but this event obviously changed her. She found herself having the power to heal the sick.

In HIMALA: Ricky Lee’s story goes:
Once upon a time in a small Philippine town called Cupang, a young woman named Elsa (Nora Aunor) announced that she had seen the Virgin Mary. Soon enough, she demonstrated a new-found ability to
heal the sick.

Edna was now curing patient after patient by the laying on of hands and she even healed her own paralysis. Soon, she became sexually involved with a handsome, but extremely volatile young man who questioned the source of her powers. He insisted that she should recognize the ability as a grace from the Divine Power, but Edna believed profoundly that her healing power was just a manifestation of love (love can move mountains). While on a platform healing the sick, her lover shot Edna dead.

Elsa’s “healing power” made her whole village the center of national attention as people come from every nook and cranny of the Philippines – to buy statues of the saints and bottles of the village's holy water. One of the visitors is a skeptical film director hoping to visually document Elsa's healing powers, and without his knowing it, some frames captured a secret Elsa had kept from everyone for a long time, a secret which led to her sister's suicide. Elsa was a victim of rape, and soon became pregnant. The townspeople believed that Elsa’s condition was nothing but a “virgin pregnancy” exactly like Mary, the mother of Jesus. While standing on a platform facing her followers, Elsa was shot dead by someone from the crowd.

See what I mean? These two films are almost TWINS! And how strange that even the first names of the characters both begin in letter E: Edna, Elsa.

Personally, I like RESURRECTION than HIMALA.
Resurrection, directed by Canadian Daniel Petrie is a joy to watch. It is subdued, the crowd management is done beautifully – like music coming from an orchestra. In fact, it is quite reminiscent in the crowd scenes done by Cesar Gallardo in Premiere Productions’ I BELIEVE, a graphic novel written by Mars Ravelo in the 1950s.

HIMALA, on the other hand, must be Filipino film director Ishmael Bernal’s most hysterical film. Screaming, burlesque acting, and rowdy crowd scenes are allover the place, there are moments when you hear nothing but screeching voices and gave me a migraine after watching it.

I am not insinuating anything here, just because RESURRECTION was done in 1980 and HIMALA was done in 1982. This fact is immaterial. I am just showing you the COINCIDENTAL SIMILARITIES in these movies.
It’s up to you to decide.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! There you go again, JM!

This is a shocking revelation. I haven't seen Resurrection but basing on the synopsis, shit, it looks like this is another case of Pinoy movie immitating Hollywood.

Well, what's new?
This has been the case, anyway and now, I wonder what CNN has got to say by calling Himala one of Asia's best?

- Shocked in Quezon City

May 3, 2009 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...

Shocked in Quezon City:

It's your opinion and you're entitled to it.

But, personally, if I were part of the CNN people who decided on what's Asia's best, I would have chosen the Vietnamese film: SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYAS instead of HIMALA. Or, better still, Bernal's NUNAL SA TUBIG would have been more appropriate.

May 3, 2009 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger KLITORIKA said...

Thanks muah!

May 3, 2009 at 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was, I think, based on an internet vote a few months back on what was considered Asia's best film. "Himala" was on the running and I think it was up against a Kurosawa film. A lot of online Filipinos--who are not even film scholars or film enthusiasts, --voted for "Himala". So, (gulp) its not just one of Asia's best, its THE best Asian film--by internet vote.

Should non-film scholars and non-film enthusiasts who know nothing about film, even be entitled and qualified to make this decision?

I've seen "Himala" in one of U.P.'s free cinema showings and wasn't that impressed. It was melodrama on the same level and style as 1954's "Sansho the Bailiff", by Kenji Mizaguchi. I think 'Himala' is overhyped.

Personally, I still prefer "Jesus of Montreal". But this "Resurrection" you've done it. This will have to be on my watchlist. I haven't seen this and will be on the lookout for it.

Of Ricky Lee's films, I personally like "Moral" featuring an ensemble cast of really good Filipina actresses of the time: Sandy Andolong, Lorna Tolentino, Gina Alajar and Anna Marin. Very intelligent and mature for a Filipino film in the early 1980s. It was directed by Marilou Diaz Abaya. A sequel of sorts was made a few years back starring Dina Bonnevie, Cherry Pie Picache, etc. but it didn't pan out.



May 4, 2009 at 2:07 PM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...

Hi Pidong:

I'm beginning to like your taste in Films. It seems to me that the films you like, I also like. You really have to email me now and tell me your real name so I wouldn't be groping in the dark, guessing who this person is, whose taste in film is quite the same as that of the late GENE SISKEL. When AT THE MOVIES was on in the 80s and 90s, where Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert would review films, my thumbs up was always the same as Mr. Siskel's. Email me your real name at:

And I won't reveal your identity if this is what you want. I just want you to have a real name, that's all.

Yes, I've seen MORAL and KARNAL, both by Abaya, but I prefer Moral than Karnal. However, when it comes to the "look" of her film, the best one I saw was her film debut: TANIKALA. The direction of this particular film gave the viewers many surprises, some scenes are quite unexpected, like when Rita Gomez stabbed Eddie Garcia. The cinematography was great, the choice of costuming is quite artistic. The production design using monochromatic color harmony for deep emotional scenes when Susan Roces was trying to grapple with her sanity after becoming a rape victim; Simultaneous contrast for scenes involving conflict between characters; and Split complementary for scenes when a character is in a dilemna. The cinematography by Manolo Abaya (was her husband, and now her ex) was rather glorious.

Unfortunately, they only used the names of the characters from Pablo S. Gomez' TANIKALA komiks serial, and when the audience saw that it wasn't exactly what they have read week after week in the komiks, they shunned the film altogether. It was such a pity, because even if the film didn't use PSG's story, Edgardo Reyes wrote a beautifully woven story about a rape victim trying to put the pieces of her life together.

In Resurrection, by the way, Ellen Burstyn's performance is unforgettable. She's definitely one of Hollywood's most reliable actresses. Even Pulitzer prize winner (stage play) SAM SHEPPARD did a wonderful performance as Edna's lover.

Watch it and tell me if I goofed recommending this film to you. If, afterwards, you think my recommendation is PALPAKTO, you can call me IMPAKTO, or better still, ask me to kneel in front of you and slap me like what Boyette Fajardo asked the cashier at the duty free store. Fair enough? He-he.

May 4, 2009 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger Reno said...

Let me just chime in to say that I'm also one of the people who didn't like HIMALA. I couldn't even finish watching the damn thing.

May 5, 2009 at 4:00 AM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...


LOL. I almost walked out of the theater, to tell you frankly. Unfortunately, I couldn't do that because I was with some Canadian friends watching it.

May 5, 2009 at 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Simultaneous contrast for scenes involving conflict between characters; and Split complementary for scenes when a character is in a dilemna."

Can you explain this further please and possibly give examples? Am afraid I never encountered this in my readings or in the screenwriting seminars I attended.

Much thanks again. :)



May 5, 2009 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...


Hey, guy, you haven’t introduced yourself to me via email.

Yes, there are movie theaters in Shopping Malls here. But, we also have huge theaters like the good old days. There are specialty theaters as well. We also have those theaters exclusively showing X-rated films. I don’t know how these theaters still make money (because the DVD porn industry is at least $7 Billion a year). Apparently, some people still patronize such theaters. We also have theaters catering to old movies. You can go and watch films of the 40s, 50s. My favorite one is in downtown Sacramento. They have a theater there called OLD J CINEMA and you can watch classic movies that are rather hard to find anywhere.

Film distributors here are big corporations. No holier-than-thou policies exist. Films are classified, not censored. Therefore, as a viewer, you’d know before hand what sort of movies you’re going to see.

Except in film fests. Filmfest entries are not included in classification. See the films at your own risk.

And your real name is?...
I’m still waiting and hoping to hear from you.


May 5, 2009 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...


"Can you explain this further please and possibly give examples? Am afraid I never encountered this in my readings or in the screenwriting seminars I attended."

Oh, I was refering to the film's cinematography and production design.

Manolo Abaya was one of the most talented Filipino cinematographers in the 1970s. Marilou Abaya must had some input on it as well, but I'm not so sure on this one.

Mainly, I was referring to the color harmony of the film's scenes. Manolo Abaya used colors to give the film a unique look. Through the use of filters, costume colors, furniture, decor, even lighting – are all done harmoniously. An example of Split complimentary: Using yellow-orange agaisnt Yellow Green in warm colors, plus violet on the cool colors. An example of Simultaneous contrast: Red and green together are the exact opposite, yet harmonious. If you have a color wheel, you'll notice how the colors are arranged in gradient, blending from Yellow, to yellow-green, then to Green, then to Blue-Green, then to Blue, then Blue Violet, then Violet, Red violet, Red, Red Orange, Orange, Yellow Orange.

Simultaneous contrast is the color combination in the color wheel which are the exact opposite. Example: Combining Red with Green is simultaneous contrast.

It would be easier for you to understand by having a color wheel in front of you.

For instance:
• monochromatic harmony is a combination of 2 or more colors of the same hue
• Analogous - combination of 2 or more neighboring colors

Another example of Split Complimentary would be the combination of Yellow-Blue-Red.

By the way, Gerardo de Leon made a movie in 1964 called THE BLOOD DRINKERS (KULAY DUGO ANG GABI). It's a vampire movie based upon RICO BELLO OMAGAP'S HIWAGA KOMIKS serial, starring Amalia Fuentes & Ronald Remy. Two versions were made, Tagalog & English. The English was dubbed by the actors themselves. Amalia Fuentes dubbed herself in English, ditto with Ronald Remy and Celia Rodriguez plus the other actors: Eddie Fernandez, Eva Montes, Dulce Lukban, Renato Robles. The only one dubbed by an English woman was Mary Walter's voice.

Though thia film was in Black & White, and mixture of some scenes are in color, the fantastic idea by De Leon was to add tinted red and/or blue (especially when the scenes are the POV of Ronald Remy the Vampire). This film is a true classic, exuding surrealistic "look" and gothic atmosphere.

What really ruined the film was the use of a mechanical bat (Tiva Lava's pet). This pesky bat looks so fake – it made me laugh!

Without this bat, this film would have been one of RP's horror films. I've watched this in a drive-in theater in the 1980's (before the drive in finally bid adieu to the world of cinema), and for at least 2 hrs, you forget your date beside you in your car. He-he. If you can watch it, do so. Highly recommended. Gerry de Leon's best horror film. Quite innovative and almost surreal.

BTW, you haven't emailed me your real name.

May 5, 2009 at 9:15 PM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...

Ooops. THE BLOOD DRINKERS a.k.a. THE VAMPIRE PEOPLE a.k.a. BLOOD IS THE COLOR OF NIGHT, was actually filmed in 1966. I looked at my VHS copy to verify.

May 5, 2009 at 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I checked the trailer of BLOOD DRINKERS at youtube. Its considered as grindhouse schlock cinema in the U.S. THIS is a Gerry deleon film?! The guy must have been hungry then in 1966 and no wonder, as I've read that the local film industry then was ebbing in quality. And yes, in the b and white trailer there's some scenes that are in red and blue. That IS interesting. Am sure this is the kind of film Quintin Tarantino would like to see, if he hasn't already. When he visited the country I think last year, he stated that he really loved this kind of Filipino grindhouse film and mentioned Eddie Romero's BIG BLACK MAMA which was shown in the U.S. drive-in circuit.

May 11, 2009 at 9:25 PM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...

This is what's really mind boggling. Gerry de Leon was making very good films in the Philippines from the very beginning, yet when he was asked to make movies in Hollywood, the producers made sure that he did B-movies, the horror kind. But, even if he did these horror films, you can still see the originality and innovativeness in them. In fact, TERROR IS A MAN is probably his best horror flick in Hollywood (and most of them I've seen in Drive-in theaters). Drive ins were burgeoning in north American then (it dies in the mid 1980s), and De Leon's horror films were the "staple food" , so to speak, of Drive-ins.

In fact, most teenagers in the 60s and 70s would remember watching his films in drive-ins, with their dates, of course, in comfort of their cars where they could kiss and hug and make out while the movie is going on :)

With Eddie Romero, De Leon did the so-called MAD DOCTORS movies, a series of horror flicks with mad doctors in them. Philippine adoptive Hollywood teen heart throb JOHN ASHLEY (who used to appear with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicelo beach films), was the usual leading man in these de leon & Romero horror films.

In TERROR IS A MAN (with Francis Lederrer), the movie was doing okay until the no-brainer producers decided to add gimmick to it. Before a horrific scene to happen on screen, they have a warning sound to prepare the audience to close their eyes or look away, or whatever silly thing they want to do. Like the mechanical BAT in THE BLOOD DRINKERS, this ringing of the bell in TERROR IS A MAN became its downfall. It really cheapened the film despite its masterful direction and story-telling.

And yes, de Leon was a master of story-telling, unlike many RP film directors who came later after his time. Lino Brocka was a big fan of Gerry de Leon, yet when he made SA MGA KUKO NG LIWANAG, he could have borrowed de Leon's story-telling way, instead, hegave us a very "stagey" film, especially the scene with Hilda Koronel and Bembol Rocco in the motel – tedious, boring, and overextended.

Watch any Gerry de Leon film and you'll never be disappointed. Like Francis Ford Coppola, de Leon had always something new to say in every film that he had directed.

May 12, 2009 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Voje Bukacuda said...

Some of you may not consider this horror (at least it is not the Stephen King type)

July 7, 2013 at 7:15 AM  

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