Thursday, August 18, 2011

Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington (2011, Jade Castro)


A young man was walking along a narrow street in the festive town of Lucban, Quezon when a boy yelled out that insult. What is surprising is the affront didn’t make him mad. He mulled over it and accepted the truth behind that tag. He realized that he is truly gay. The young man, named Raymond Lee, is the writer of superb local screenplays such as Tanging Yaman and Endo.

Scriptwriter Lee’s encounter with the Lucban boy became the germ for this project about gay zombies taking revenge on homophobic people. He joins forces once more with his Endo collaborators: co-writer Michiko Yamamoto and director Jade Castro.

The comic film starts with a five-year-old boy named Remington poking fun at gays by calling them "bakla." He has a guardian who didn't seem to mind his inappropriate actions. This neglect may have prodded him to continue ridiculing homosexuals. The script didn't point out why the boy grew up to be like that. His parents seem tolerant of gays so I was wondering what triggered his verbal bullying. His mother is a policewoman so it was somewhat disappointing that in a family that shatters gender stereotypes the boy is a homophobe.

The little bully ultimately meets his match in the person of a middle-aged gay visiting the cemetery. The latter puts a curse on the boy. Remington, says the aggrieved one, will experience being gay.

Most of the laughs center on twenty-year old Remington's struggle to fight his emerging gay side. His crush Hannah soon gets push aside as he starts to hanker over his best friend Jigs. The two boys have a humorous risqué scene that has them locking lips several times. Watch out for the randy hand that has a life of its own. Director Jade Castro admits that he changed the tempo of the scene by adding a frothy music background. His decision was a response to some comments raised by members of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.

Castro always includes a dance number in his feature films. This film has a funny street dance by Remington (excellently played by Martin Escudero) that recalls the spontaneity of Ina Feleo’s dance in Endo and the élan of a Singin’ in the Rain dance number. With bright rainbow colors streaming out of his heart, he eclipses the colorful decorations and pahiyas installations at homes in Lucban.

The key to enjoying this film is to go with the flow. Groove to the dance beat. Don’t take it too seriously. As Raymond Lee says ‘he makes movies that he (a movie fan) wants to see.’ If a bullied gay person like him creates a movie that makes fun of the behavior of gays, then let it be.

My main complaint with the film is not the gay issues but its extremely populist mentality. It tries very hard to please every movie fan out there that it ended up being a pastiche. There are bits of Zsazsa Zaturnnah here, a beefcake shot there, and a handful of fright scenes spread across the film. The gags are so diverse that it looks like they are mere outputs of an all-night drinking party. The clunky line-up scene has all the appeal of the ill-fated Bench-Volcanoes billboard. Nil. The truly comic scenes are few and far between.

The major saving grace of the film is its big heart scene. Most of the Yamamoto films I have seen have a grand heart scene. There is the piggyback scene in Magnifico and the power hug scene in My Big Love. Zombadings 1 has a similar powerful sequence near the end. With time nearly running out for Remington, his father comes to the rescue. Spurred by the true power of love, the elder sacrifices his manhood in order to break the curse. He is what we call 'tunay na lalake.' This heart-tugging sequence made me change my view about the film. Winnie Monsod siya bigla with a few reservations. The previous sentence can be translated as: ‘if you have movie money to spare, then watch this film instead of a Hollywood movie.’

Related link/s:
Thoughts by actor Martin Escudero (
Chat with cast and crew (

No comments:

Post a Comment