Sunday, January 1, 2012

Clouds (1984)

When the new year just arrived and poured myself a Whisky and sat down to watch Alapaap, aka Clouds, a Filipino horror movie from 1984. And I watched it all through, which is some kind of record, because I rarely can keep my eyes open after 23:00 in the evening! I never heard about it before, but when I found a bootleg and read the description I felt it could be something for me, which doesn't mean shit - because my taste in movies are crap anyway.

A guy is waking up after a serious overdose. His friends are waiting for me, with love and support. A short while after they're going out in the countryside to shoot a short movie, but when they arrive they found out that the house they wanted to rent room in is not available anymore. After some discussions with the owner they can rent rooms, but something is wrong in there. The old man still mourns his daughter that was killed and raped some months before nearby and something seem to lurk in the shadows. Soon they find themselves under siege with the ghost of the raped daughter hunting them down, taking over their bodies and killing them!

Clouds is actually a good movie, even if the few online comments I found say the opposite. In parts it feels like an arty version of Evil Dead, but with a lot more sex. Yeah, the sex-part is so prominent that it was shown in seedy cinemas the years after, and there's enough female breasts and male asses for everyone. But I can't say it's sleazy or shallow, the sex and nudity feels natural and the whole erotic atmosphere reminded me of Silip - Daughters of Eve. The movie starts of very corny, and it felt to be one of those wacky, crazy eighties horrors with the tongue firmly placed in the cheek, but thanks to the talent of director Tata Esteban and screenwriter Rei Nicandro it never goes in that direction after the crazy beginning. The script is low-key for being a Filipino horror movie and gives us a couple of impressive ghostly set-pieces.

During a few scenes it also gets creepy and the atmosphere makes up for the slightly thin script. Don't expect much gore, even if it has some juicy make-up effects and violent deaths - but I can guarantee you that death by hairdryer isn't as spectacular as you might believe. The ghost effects - moving furniture, a weird statue following one of the characters etc are nicely done and works good with the slick cinematography. I have to say that the acting generally is very fine also, with an interesting realistic touch to it.

The only bad thing is the ending, which belongs to those endings I hate the most. Sure, it tries to make it a little bit better - but it's still shit and takes away the power of the story. I think we can blame it on lazy writing. But the rest, not bad at all. If I knew who owned the rights I would try to buy 'em and release it on a legit DVD! 


Anonymous said...

Are we going to see any reviews of Tibor Takács old film The Gate (1986) soon...?

I couldn´t find anywhere on your site...only some qoutes.

Ninja Dixon said...

I don't even have it on DVD, but I've been planning to buy the special edition. Great movie, it deserves a review :)

Pete Tombs said...

Sorry to come so late to the party on this (like... two years late!). But I just saw that someone posted the original Tagalog version of this on You Tube and it's SO much better than the English dubbed one. I reckon Tata Esteban/Steve Regala was one of the most visually inventive Filipino directors and it's a crying shame that he is pretty much forgotten now and his films more or less impossible to find.