Khavn De La Cruz
Prolific, underground, low-budget film-maker and musician from the Philippines that often films his many whimsical shorts and movies in days. This is no Miike though,
the rapid pace showing in the low quality and lack of content. Makes a wide variety of movies some with an unusual look & feel, except the more artsy ones are merely
exploitation trash wrapped and presented in a pretentious bundle to appease to the cult and art-house crowds, using elements such as 'creative' B&W gritty cinematography,
jarring or unusual soundtracks, weak attempts at social commentary, or some other distracting but useless cinematic gimmicks with touches of surreal or bizarre elements.
He also makes documentaries, shorts and movies that usually deal with the poor, extreme or trashy underbelly of society, perhaps showing them partying or singing in crazy
colorful costumes like a bargain-bin street carnival, filming anything at a whim, from guerrilla-style footage of kids in slums or cock-fights that is more mondo than
documentary, to whimsical musicals, gangster flicks, gore, kitschy horror or trashy slum-sleaze. Many of his obscure 'not-films' are simply video-diaries of various
conversations, improvised acts, or interactions with friends or people from the street, often mixed with poetry and songs, so they are actually not films. Variations
of these 'street-diaries' often include some character walking the streets, like a serial-killer (Manila in the Fangs of Darkness), or a rapist with a mask of a horse
(The Muzzled Horse of an Engineer), or a man that has just castrated himself (Headless), or a group of people in loincloths causing mayhem in the streets (Bahag Kings).
Another theme in his movies is the ranting against religion and god by many of his characters, especially concerning the self-flagellating Christians in the street. In
short, a highly unpredictable and whimsical film-maker, but one that mostly makes improvised unscripted films in the streets, and some of them feel like they were made
while on various drugs. The following reviews only cover his more bizarre or extreme films. Reviewed until 2016.
This movie claims to be about the real-life disappearance of people during the reign of Marcos in the Philippines. It even features a 7-minute introduction combining some random
documentary footage and titles explaining the history behind this phenomenon. So what is the movie going to be? A documentary? A historical drama? A satire? None of the above.
There's 30 minutes of a family doing banal things at home while the brother 'disappears', accompanied by white noise and no dialogue. Then it switches to a completely different
Jodorowsky-lite fairy-tale 30-minute movie about a brother on a quest in an ancient magical forest having random adventures and dangerous encounters with magical creatures,
soldiers and deformed dwarves, while a lady sings long folk songs. As usual with Khavn, whim overcomes content, leaving his audience scratching their heads.
Musical wacky sci-fi political satire, or at least that's what it thinks it is. 'Nigger Thunder' is the current hated president in the year 2030, and 'Three Eyes' is the up
and coming leader loved by the people and the various freedom fighters. But will the country finally change for the better? This movie doesn't offer any insight or hit any
marks, and is merely interested in setting up random scenes of colorful madness with people in insane costumes behaving as silly as possible and performing in dozens of
trashy, kitschy and really bad musical numbers that seem to go on forever. Groups of people come and go with random names like 'Board of Bored Housewives', 'Midnyt Kabinet Videoke',
and a 'Rizal Underground' populated by 'mermaids', and scenes include a drunken slapstick fight between some bums and a 'Basketbag Brigade' with cheap CGI splatter, as well
as a flamenco dancer and a zombie, and a Virgin Mary statue-spaceship. This and much more is spliced with footage from the real 1986 mass protests, EDSA revolution and coup
in the Philippines, which, rather than making a satirical point, only proves that Khavn is as far away from relevant social commentary as can possibly be.
EDSA XXX: Nothing Ever Changes in the Ever-Changing Republic of Ek-Ek-Ek
Bizarre Philippine movie that presumably is a commentary on the deterioration of modern society. The family unit that literally "eats soil together stays together" but
everywhere, things are rotten. The teenage daughter imagines she's pregnant and ponders over which family member did it to her or why she can't eat soil,
the teenage son is abusing and killing Chinese, a TV show talks only about sleaze and criminals and becomes so useless, the presenter starts babbling nonsense,
there's a cult orgy, random surreal gore, violent cockfights, whores, drugs, a midget that pretends to be the baby of the family, a naked girl that acts as if
she's being raped, a claymation sequence involving ketchupy rape and violence by soldiers, and other random oddities. Uninsightful sleaze.
Family That Eats Soil, The
The full title of this movie is: "The One and Only Concert of the Amazing Combo of Kommander Kulas and His Poor Carabao in the Long and Unwinding Road of Kamyas".
But you can ignore that title which is actually less nonsensical than this experimental bizarre film. It consists of three types of scenes: The ones where Kulas
roams the countryside on his buffalo searching for heart and never finding it (it was stolen, or else he may have woken up as a Kafka-esque insect). Then there are
the scenes where a grand piano is placed on various streets and filmed on one long static take while random romantic songs or poems are provided to us. And then
there are the scenes with completely bizarre, grotesque and gothic tableaux-vivants are shown ('tarot' characters) while random nonsense is read to us in strange
voices. These tableaux include 'fat naked woman squatting over a tiny toilet-plate', 'catholic woman with a knife and cut-off breasts glued to her chest', 'two
kids crucified', 'dead naked girl with her ankles tied', various other grotesque or gothic-looking people in buildings and rooms that are falling apart, and so
on. This may or may not be classified as a film-poem, but a poem to what?!
One of Khavn's most out-there experiments and a punishingly slow and repetitive film. It is filmed on extremely damaged film-stock and concentrates on documentary-like
primal scenes of savagery or medieval imagery, and surreal desolated characters, making it look like a timeless lost film from the past. But the content is few and far
between. There's a hard scene of very graphical butchery of a buffalo by tribesmen while it's still alive, an unloved child drags itself through the desert, a Christ-figure
drags an animal carcass, there's a sex scene in the dark, some tribesmen appear as Roman legionaries and abuse the Kristo Negro, and a dog kills a chicken on the beach.
This is the whole movie. Somehow these scenes fill 70 minutes of running time.
Middle Mystery of Kristo Negro, The
Endless and repetitive footage of processions of bleeding, self-flagellating Christians, re-enactments of Jesus carrying his cross surrounded by Romans, and cock-fights,
including what happens to the losing roosters. This takes up most of the movie. On top of this footage, we get a narration by the 'Kristo Vampiro' who tells the story
of how he started with cock-fights, became a vampire that preys on male and female prostitutes, and then how he becomes a Christ-figure, saving them from their misery.
It's like a mondo with a disturbed man sharing his delusions, except it's a really bad, repetitive and boring mondo at that. Even Khavn got bored in the middle of the movie
and wandered off to some footage of midget-fights and street-kids having fun.
Misericordia: The Last Mystery of Kristo Vampiro
Another pointless parade of filth by Khavn. This one is like a street circus of various indigent freaks of Manila, from midgets with missing limbs that break-dance, to young boys
that sell their bodies, a gay young man whose violent father tries to beat the gay out of him, to a pedophile Klan member, a chronic masturbator, an insane arsonist,
various other immoral very young criminals, and so on. It takes 30 minutes just to introduce the many characters, then it's just a series of vignettes involving things like
dismembering a midget for molesting a boy, a cat-fight with a fat landlord, peeking on a midget orgy, eating rats, a head-wound involving an insect, rants by
various characters, silly street dance and singing, and other colorful but completely empty-minded scenes. A tedious watch, bookmarked by real news footage of
a flood and violence, as if that will elevate this filth to social commentary.
Mondomanila, or: How I Fixed My Hair After a Rather Long Journey
The gimmick in this post-apocalyptic movie is darkness. As in, half of the film is filmed in so much darkness that you can't quite make out what is happening, although sound,
screaming and brief flashes allow you to see that it involves lots of girl talk, lesbian sex, and a splattery climax of some kind. A priest recommends an abortion and
some youngsters party with warped screaming dissonant music and chicken-slaughter, right before the end of the world that flings the world into darkness. A trio of
surviving slutty girls named after the three cultures that influenced Filipino culture, shack up in a house together, talk about their failed love lives and obsessions over
guys, until the obvious centerpiece of this punishing and very unrewarding movie: A lengthy lesbian sex scene filmed in semi-darkness. It's all about the gimmicks. What about
making an interesting movie for a change? Followed by a prequel '3 Days of Darkness: Zero' which is even more tiresome, once again involving three girls suffering three
increasingly terrifying days of darkness and supernatural terror as they argue non-stop amongst themselves about judgement day in the dark.
3 Days of Darkness
Mostly a series of scenes involving sexual and physical abuse backed by scattered, brainless minimal social commentary, and filmed in pretentious retro B&W.
Some guy is raping Filipino girls with his penis as well as a crucifix for some cheap shock value, then disemboweling them. The narrative blabbers about
how killing is easy once you get used to it, and about his various obsessions and plans for girls in Quezon City, while another dude shares his various theories about
the murders with the camera, wavering between attributing it to a vampire/aswang, to blaming it on some sleaze-bag from the street and the state of society.
The soundtrack consists of punishingly repetitive and dull organ music or noise, there is a surprise sodomy scene with some male intruder, graphic nun rape
and abuse with semen, random abuse of an animal by a kid, and an abrupt ending in the middle of an undecipherable crisis as if the director got tired
of the movie. Boring, empty-minded, time-wasting, lazy trash.
Vampire of Quezon City