“Keep that weird man away from my girls!”
BASAG ANG PULA
Title Translation: Crazy
Director: Ben G. Yalung / Writer: Tony A. Calvento / Cast: Maria ‘Snooky’ Serna, Ace Vergel, Liza Lorena, Armida Siguion Reyna, Angela Perez, George Estregan, Bomber Moran, Arnold Mendoza, Debraliz Velasote.
Body Count: 16
Despite some years backpacking, I never got as far as the Philippines so know next to nothing about the place – go see the awesome Kaijunu at Sticky Red to learn things. But wonderful site comment-depositor Jenny Lo alerted me to both the existence of this film, and where to watch it.
Like some Indian and Pakistani films, this is presented largely in its regional language – Tagalog – with maybe 15-20% of dialogue uttered in English. Tagalog sounds a little similar to Spanish. Is it? I dunno.
Anyway, a couple of people are murdered and their moustached, itinerant killer, Fernando, who then attacks some necking teenagers, but only succeeds in killing the boy, while the girl alerts the cops and the hunt is on. He hides out in a school bus, killing the driver and hiding at the back, with the body, while numerous perky schoolgirls clamber aboard for a graduation trip.
For reasons not explained in English, they all get off the bus and wait for morning to go, by which time Fernando has decided to pose as the driver to flee town, and accompanies the class to a remote camp where they’re going to learn to grow as people n’ shit, under the guidance of strict headmistress, Nida.
Fernando is transfixed by nice girl Chiqui, who either is, or looks like a girlfriend of his from before. I think the latter. There’s a flashback where Fernando is shot by some gangsters who try to rape her.
He eventually flips and kills some of the girls and a boyfriend who rocks up. Meanwhile, Nida is having weird sub-lesbian encounters with a girl, while the others squeal over a ouija board as a storm rages outside.
The next night, one of the teachers catches Fernando in the act and we have about 25 schoolgirls running and shrieking at once. He’s kidnapped Chiqui, and there’s a very, very long dialogue scene – all in Tagalog – which I took to be her saying he needed to chill the fuck out. This gives the police time to come, and the final 20 minutes consists of marksmen hunting Fernando through the woods.
High bodycount, blood (though the version I saw was very aged and drained of colour), teens smoking pot, playing with spirit boards, lesbian teacher-student goings on… Basag Ang Pula ticks just about every box its American counterparts did, and were it a US production, it would doubtlessly be viewed as a classic. As it is, the film is so obscure it doesn’t even have the minimum five votes on IMDb. Super fun.