I do believe that this is the first time I’ve ever written about a movie on Peripateia before. Perhaps if the blog had been up when the Lord of the Rings came out I would have done a piece or two on it. Since then, however, not too many films have caught my fancy.
Until I watched Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington.
I cannot count the number of times I positively squealed in the theater from unbridled delight.
Zombadings is obviously not an art film.
It will obviously never be an art film.
Its makers, frankly speaking, probably never condescended to trying to make such a thing as an art film.
BUT: it is tremendously good fun.
And suprisingly very well-crafted.
The main title alone is sheer genius. The first time I heard it, the sound alone was enough to send me into a conniption—because one word was enough to already conjure an entire world of deliciously improbable hilarities. To wit:
- vaklers (conveyed by the second half of the neologism –badings, and by the very use of a neologism, a vakler giveaway);
- many vaklers (implied by the plural form of Zombadings);
- many dead vaklers (conveyed by the first half of the neologism Zomb—);
- many dead, probably dancing, vaklers (necessitated by the cultural legacy of Michael Jackson’s Thriller).
And let’s not forget the reference-laden subtitle with its allusions to 70s‘ and 80s‘ pop culture (to wit, a horror-suspense movie starring Susan Roces and a romantic dramedy featuring Pierce Brosnan).
These alone were enough to send me traipsing into the old Eastwood Cinema where, for a good hour-and-a-half, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that popular Filipino comedy can apparently go beyond the slapstick to actually approach . . . irony (the Holy Grail of humor). And if that happened to be the only thing that Zombadings ever achieved, it would have already won a slot in my list of favorite cinematic pieces. But the film also managed to make quite a number of worthy statements—and made them lightly and deftly, with just the slightest tinge of dryness. There are other possible interpretations of the storyline of course—less generous and more critical—but these would only contradict what Zombadings was overwhelmingly trying to say.
And its a message that bears saying again and again—with or without many dead, dancing vaklers.
(I personally prefer it with.)