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Nightmare Fuel: Horror Flicks to Watch this Halloween

Before we put on our Santa hats and listen to Jose Mari Chan, let us first slip into our scary masks, grab the fake blood and hatchet, sit and relax as we watch these horror films and TV shows to provide us with nightmare fuel before Halloween.

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November is fast approaching, and everyone knows what’s coming: Halloween, the time where things horrifying and spine-tingling takes the center stage. Aside from those costume parties, spooky stories, and Pumpkin Spice Latté, it is also the perfect time for horror movies.

Before we put on our Santa hats and listen to Jose Mari Chan, let us first slip into our scary masks, grab the fake blood and hatchet, sit and relax as we watch these horror films and TV shows to provide us with nightmare fuel before Halloween.

Films

Alien by Ridley Scott

Photo from Amazon.

This cult classic is a good way to start the Halloween. Set in deep space, the film revolves around the crew of the ship Nostromo as they fend off a threat in the form of a Xenomorph, an extraterrestrial described as the ‘perfect creature’. Aside from Sigourney Weaver’s performance as Ellen Ripley, you can also marvel at the eldritch special effects design of H. R. Giger in this film.

Creep by Patrick Brice

Photo from IMDb.

Aaron, a videographer answers to an ad from Josef, who wants to make a movie for his unborn child Buddy. However as the day goes by, Josef’s requests became more bizarre, with him showing unsettling behavior towards Aaron. This found footage film, although darkly comedic at times, will definitely make you jump from your seats. 

Hush by Mike Flanagan

Photo from IMDb.

A deaf-mute author named Maddie retreated into a house within the woods to improve her writing skills. One night, a masked killer appeared at her window, playing a cat-and-mouse game with her. Now fighting for her life in silence, Maddie is forced to exert every way possible to escape this masked threat.

1922 by Zak Hilditch

Photo from IMDb.

In this film, murder is just the start of the work—the real work begins after it’s commited. Based on a novella of Stephen King, it follows the story of Nebraskan farmer Wilf after he murdered his wife Arlette. Now with the burden of guilt and a rotting psyche, Wilf is faced with a question—is it really worth it?

Gerald’s Game by Mike Flanagan 

Photo from IMDb.

After a kinky game in an isolated lake house went wrong, Jessie is left handcuffed in bed with no hope of rescue. Alone and on the brink of death, Jessie started seeing hallucinations, her past and her psyche slowly unraveling. Will she escape her prison, or will she stay shackled, both from the bed and from her past?

Get Out by Jordan Peele

Photo from IMDb.

Chris agrees to meet Rose’s parents in a weekend getaway despite him being anxious about it. Just like any horror movie, the getaway took a dark turn as Chris discovers the sinister truth about his girlfriend’s family. This is not only a horror film, but also a commentary on racism, cultural appropriation, and the state of black people in America.

Ravenous (Les Affamés)  by Robin Aubert

Photo from IMDb.

This French-Canadian film features the aftermath of a zombie plague in a remote Quebec village. Survivors flee to the woods, trying to reach a bunker said to contain supplies. While this may look like  another zombie movie for you, this film makes you view zombies in a new light, making you wonder if there is still enough humanity left from them.

Verónica by Paco Plaza

Photo from IMDb.

This Spanish horror film features Verónica, a girl from who performed a séance with her friends during a solar eclipse to contact her deceased father. Now being pursued by paranormal entities, it is up to her to protect her siblings from this demonic threat. The film is based on a true story about a Vallecas girl who died mysteriously in 1990 after using a Ouija board.

Midsommar by Ari Aster

Photo from IMDb.

Does a summer trip to a remote Swedish village for a midsummer festival occurring every 90 years sounds promising? Well think again! This film by the same director of Hereditary follows the journey of Dani and Christian as their trip and their relationship spiral into a whirlwind of flowers, maypoles, and Pagan rituals. 

 

TV Series

American Horror Story by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk

Photo from Amazon.

This horror anthology showcases a different type of horror trope per season, ranging from the Salem witch aesthetics of Coven to the circus vibes of Freak Show. The award-winning show also features cast such as Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, and even Lady Gaga. This is a good show to introduce people to horror, for it features horror genres we love minus the excessive reliance on scare tactics. 

Another by Yukito Ayatsuji

Photo from Amazon.

After transferring to a new school, Kōichi Sakakibara meets Mei Misaki, a quiet girl that is seemed to be ignored by everyone. As gruesome accidents started happening, Kōichi is drawn closer to Mei, and he learns of the sinister history surrounding class 3-3. This anime series will surely make you afraid to use umbrellas!

Ash vs Evil Dead by Ivan Raimi, Sam Raimi, and Tom Spezialy

Photo from IMDb.

This TV reboot of a cult classic follows the story of  Ash, a chainsaw-wielding man who once again unleashed an army of Deadites, entities capable of possessing a body. After 30 years since the events of Evil Dead, Ash tries to put a stop on the Deadites once and for all. With dark humor and rock music on its side, this reboot will introduce you to the universe of a cult classic in a modern way.

The Haunting of Hill House by Mike Flanagan

Photo from Amazon.

Hugh and Olivia Crane, together with their children stays in a mansion called Hill House to renovate and sell it. With their stay prolonged due to unforeseen circumstances, the Crane family began experiencing supernatural phenomena. Years later, the Crane children returns to Hill house to confront their past and the secrets lurking inside.

Haunted by Jan Pavlacky

Photo from IMDb.

In this docuseries, people open up about horrifying life events to those who are close to them, explaining the effects of the said events in their life. Coupled with creative reenactments, Haunted immerse the viewers to real-life horror events. The docuseries features events from hauntings, which spans for decades, to alien abductions.

Kingdom by Kim Seong-Hun

Photo from IMDb.

This piece set during the Joseon period puts a political twist to the zombie genre. With the king struck with a mysterious illness and conspiracies flying around, the crown prince Yi-Chang decides to take matters into his own hands. Faced with the living dead and conspirators, Yi-Chang must defend the kingdom from inside and outside threats.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes by Joe Berlinger

Photo from IMDb.

If you’re tired from the fictional threat of ghouls and ghosts, a documentary about a serial killer will cleanse your palate. The docuseries delves into the life of serial killer Ted Bundy, who is charged with more than 30 counts of murder and necrophilia. Tapes from Bundy himself and interviews from people involved in his case will paint you a clearer picture of Bundy’s mind as well as the horrifying acts he committed in the 70’s.

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Which UST street are you?

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Artwork by Tricia Jardin

Another year, another Buzzfeed-esque quiz that is based on purely subjective notions. This quiz can somehow garner questionable results as they can be entirely different from how one sees oneself, but still feel free to take a (good) three-minute break and validate which UST street completely molds your Thomasian existence. Enjoy! 

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‘Awit’ and the normalization of transphobia

With music as a tool for liberation, we must not let the likes of “Awit” to limit our minds, let alone poison our culture with prejudice.

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Screenshot from the album cover of the now deleted song "Awit" on Spotify.

Erich Gabriel Bongon, also known as Young Vito posted a video of himself on Twitter singing a preview of “Awit” last Dec. 5, 2019, a song he that composed with sexist undertones and transphobic lyrics. Netizens were quick to call out the rapper when the preview is posted, prompting him to delete the video and issue an “apology.”

What happened afterwards? Was he cancelled? Was he given career opportunities after the incident? Did he change his ways and most importantly, did he educate himself on gender rights?

Young Vito is known to have signed a recording contract with Viva Records. With the record label having full knowledge of the incident, Young Vito and Viva Records have enabled themselves to go further: to release the same song with the same infamous lyrics, capitalizing off its notoriety on social media.

Awitis just one of the many Filipino songs propagating harmful ideas that does not only target the transgender community, but also encourages the normalization of transphobia and a culture of hate in the country.

Young Vito’s “Awitis a trans woman, with the singer implying that the woman deceives men, that there is something wrong with them. 

The song’s album art depicts a trans women using a urinal, as if implying that they should use the male’s comfort room; a controversial choice due to the ongoing debate on trans peoples’ comfort room access.

After receiving flak, the rapper posted an apology on Twitter, at the same time refusing to delete his video and liking tweets saying that people are “too sensitive.” He deleted the video afterwards.

A few days later, the rapper signed a five-year contract with Viva Records. After that, the song is released on multiple streaming platforms last Jan. 17, 2020 under Viva Records, with Emmanuel “NEXXFRIDAY” Salen producing and providing the beat for the track.

Photo grabbed from Young Vito’s Instagram account @youngvitoph

“Despite the controversy surrounding the song, Awithas been turned into a full-blown bop…,” the caption of the now-deleted lyric video in Viva Records’ Youtube channel reads. 

The song is then deleted on Spotify one day after its release.

Awitis just one of the many Filipino songs with transphobic lyrics. Songs like Abra’s “Gayuma” and Kamikazee’s “Chiksilog” portray trans women as someone who deceive men with their looks, while also spreading the notion that trans women are still men even if they have already identify themselves as women. 

One may think that the lyrics of these songs are harmless but for the transgender community, it makes their lives more difficult than it is.

In a country where the trans community are ostracized, where even some members of the LGBTQ+ community preach transphobia, where the likes of Hermie Monterde are still discriminated in the workplace, where personalities such as BB Gandanghari and Jake Zyrus are mocked online, where women like Gretchen Diez are shunned and arrested for entering the comfort room, where people like Jennifer Laude and Jessa Remiendo are murdered for being transgender – these songs spread dangerous ideas to the public. 

These songs normalizes harmful prejudices embedded in our culture. It hinders the LGBTQ+ community, especially the trans community’s fight for equal rights. It makes the idea of targeted discrimination and hate crime acceptable, painting a harmful image on people’s minds that it is normal to mock transgenders with the help of a song.

Music has been used to break the status quo, teach important lessons, and in some cases, aid in bringing down tyrants. With music as a tool for liberation, we must not let the likes of “Awit” to limit our minds, let alone poison our culture with prejudice. 

If we want true progress, we must lose the chains of backwardness binding us, and we can start by taking small steps—starting with picking good songs to listen to.

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Kadenang Ginto is more complex than ever

The show may seem ordinary in the spectrum of teleseryes, but with the bouts of recognition and attention it harbors, shows like Kadenang Ginto may have the tendency to succumb to society’s patriarchal roots—a premise that has been the show’s subdued message from the very beginning.

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Photo from ABS-CBN News

Media and entertainment industries, especially in the Philippines, have undoubtedly created a number of teleseryes that got viewers hooked. Iconic lines from television shows made their way through social media, thus birthing an irreversible decade of video parodies, i.e. “Cassie, hindi ka muna papasok sa iskul” which came from the ABS-CBN afternoon prime show, Kadenang Ginto (directed by Jerry Lopez Sineneng and Avel Sunpongco). This particular boomerang created by the show serves as a primary example of the proliferation of teleseryes into the in-betweens of people’s mundane realities. 

Usually, Filipino TV formulas have just been restricted to cookie-cutter stories such as rich girl-poor girl rivalries, wife versus mistress conflicts, and other types of predictable stories with a recurring plotline—dramatically mirroring the struggles of which people could sympathize and in some cases, empathize with. 

Now, with the recent narratives of most materials, it is fitting to raise the question: do teleseryes, such as the case in point, subconsciously imply a patriarchal and capitalist society which can water down women’s roles as simply pawns of the men-splayed environment?

Dissecting the Initial Premise of the Show

The whole idea of the show displays a tangled story between Daniela Mondragon (played by Dimples Romana) and Romina Andrada (played by Beauty Gonzales). Romina, a glorified Secretary, marries the business tycoon and father of Daniela, Robert Mondragon (played by Albert Martinez).

Caused by jealousy, Daniela strived to emerge relevant by physically and emotionally belittling Romina to death, hoping that she could at least gain more relevance in the old Mondragon’s life. It gets more complicated when Daniela marries Romina’s past lover, Carlos (played by Adrian Alandy), who still has unresolved feelings for the latter.

While Daniela’s past actions remain important both in their family business and in the lives of the men involved, it seems questionable that all her intentions were for the sake of these men.

While it is also applauding that Daniela and Romina are their own persons who are fully responsible to stir changes necessary to keep the show going, one may question the end of not just the character’s intentions, but as well as the writers’ inclination to probe and provide a substantial arc for these characters.

It raises the question, especially during a period when a new character was introduced in the persona of Richard Yap, a rich businessman, who somehow became a catalyst on how the character of Romina can get back on track. 

Are the women in Philippine teleserye doomed to always be swept off their feet by some men to garner the easiest way out?

The show may seem ordinary in the spectrum of teleseryes presented by the network, but with the bouts of recognition and attention it harbors, shows like Kadenang Ginto may have the tendency to succumb to society’s patriarchal roots—a premise that has been the show’s subdued message from the very beginning.

Now (with the plot lines tangled and recurring), the characters and their progressions can be attested to hopeful major changes (thankfully), as lead female characters are taking matters on their hands especially with Romina Andrada-Mondragon gaining more control over her circumstances, a (seemingly progressive) march of silent revolution, veering away from the initial premises of the show – yet still bound to its original plot line.  

Trudging the Conventional

While the network’s teleseryes’ cookie-cutter and cardboard characterizations of women are proven formulas, fresh perspectives are always a welcome venture with the exploration of complex female characters. 

Writers and show producers must become more socially-reverberant that they not only choose to showcase shows that pay the rent. In the Philippines, it is slowly building its pace with independent films being at the forefront.

Unfortunately, most mainstream media consumers are still inclined with choosing the proven formulas so mass media practitioners also stick to what generates more audiences. What the consumers can do now is to try to become more adamant to good and progressive changes – utilize the everlasting “get out of your comfort zone” notion. 

Media, as compared to what it tries to cater to before, has certainly come a long way with the sprouts of powerful women characters here and there. Unfortunately, Philippine mainstream media and its consumers sat way comfortably in the reassurance of these boxed and usual beliefs.

It may possibly take a while for these teleseryes to do the same with their high intentions to generate money, even if the essential purpose of art to heighten and challenge the empathic tendencies of the people can definitely suffer.

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