The Philippines has a cinematic history covering most of what you'd expect, but it's the truly mental excursions through the bizarre where it excels, from some of the more well know Eddie Romero classics and Roger Corman productions to the much loved midget spy For Y'ur Height Only.
But they don't stop there, oh no, the Philippines offerings only get more and more peculiar the deeper you dig.
Case in point - The Killing of Satan.
Dir. Efren C. Pinon
Written by: Joe Mari Avellana
One of the more imaginative Filipino Action/Fantasy/Exploitation films out there concerns Lando, a simple, mild-mannered guy who had served time in prison for killing a man that threatened his village. Free and now raising a family, Lando starts to receive messages in his dreams from his Uncle Miguel (the local Holy Man). When his daughter disappears, Lando is forced to join his his Uncle and his followers in their battle against Satan and his disciple, the Prince of Magic.
When three goons come into the village looking to kill Lando. While succeeding in shooting him, they also inadvertently kill his young son.
Lando is laid to rest in bed, recovering from a bullet wound in his head. While miles away on another island, Uncle Miguel is lying in bed as well, meditating... mentally absorbing Lando's mortal wounds into his own head saving Lando in the process.
Now recovered, our hero is drawn to the island by the chanting of his Uncle's devout followers. He, his wife, and his daughter Louisa set forth across the short distance of sea. Heavy, foreboding winds pick up out of nowhere, trying to impede their progress. They make it to the beach and are met by a strange, mute child who leads them across rocky terrain. The top of the cliff explodes, showering boulders upon them. The is forced to take cover, when the dust clears, the mysterious child has vanished.
Lando and family are greeted at the village and he is told by Renzo (the second most powerful Magician in the village) that his Uncle has died from a bullet wound, however, he had not been shot.
Renzo leads Lando to the shore where his Uncle was buried at sea. Lando rows out, stops, grasping his head in pain from some sort of psionic attack. Shaking it off and continues on. A piece of driftwood bumps the boat. He pushes it away. It floats back. When Lando reaches for it this time, a rotten, grey-skinned hand grabs his arm, and a decomposed corpse bursts out of the water and says in a horrifying voice, "I am your Uncle Miguel!" Only to disappear back into the water. It is some pretty jolting stuff.
While Renzo and Lando are still at the shore, the Prince of Magic and his underlings raid the village for girls. They use their hypno-wheel, magic hand blasts and psionic staring contests to take down the men and carry off the women including Lando's daughter Louisa. The power duo Lando and Renzo return to the village to find the few remaining baddies still left. Renzo instructs Lando to use his hitherto unknown powers, creating a swirling force field from his arm to deflect bullets as well as becoming invincible to the underlings' fisticuffs while his punches do supreme damage. He soon discovers he can use his newfound powers to heal the injuries his wife had sustained when the village was attacked.
Left with no option but to travel to where servent of Satan, the Prince of Magic dwells, Lando and Renzo must rescue Louisa. Who is being held captive in a cave in an electrified cage full of naked women. Lando fights off the Snake Man and lower henchmen of the cave only to face the Prince of Magic himself. But is overtaken before he can activate his powers and is thrown off a waterfall by the minions.
Lando floats unconscious down a river until he comes to a stop at a shore where the little boy from earlier, Nino is waiting. Nino leads him to a small, crumbling stone church where there is an old man (God ?) with long white hair and a beard. He gives Lando a magic staff that, along with Lando's own powers, will be able to destroy Satan.
With that, Lando treks back to the cave to fight the Prince of Magic, temptation used by Ava, the Sexy Snake Woman; and finally Satan himself, to save his daughter.
THE KILLING OF SATAN is certainly a fun film. A horror cartoon come to life with sufficient f/x, goofy costumes, and some cool/surreal images i.e. the aforementioned corpse popping out of the water, clear waterfalls turning into blood, the pulsar shields and firing of magic energy from one's hands, and most notably the sequence where a character is completely rolled over by a boulder revealing his body to be a red, pulpy mess only for his head to go right on talking.
With all this going on how could you not like this movie?
JUSTIN HUGH DICKINSON
Read more of Justin's wanderings through dusty VHS racks on his OPERATION: 24fps blog.