Seems like the perfect time for another one of my recent Philippine horror DVD’s to make it’s way to my player, and this time out it’s a look at “Bulong”, a horror comedy mash-up with a little romance thrown in for flavor.
The synopsis? How about this: “How much are you willing to sacrifice to win the girl of your dreams? In “Bulong”, Conan (Vhong Navarro) whispers his wish to the dead – that the woman of his dreams, Ellen, would love him back as much as he desired her. Little did he know that the corpse he whispered his wish to was a mangkukulam! And now that Ellen starts noticing him and giving him the attention he has been craving, the spirit of the dead witch starts haunting him to complete her last unfinished task as payment for that wish. In desperation, Conan reluctantly turns to his former best friend Oprah (Angelica Panganiban) for help.
Together they travel and experience the horrors of both the witch’s haunting as well as the evil attentions of Satan himself who seems determined to stop them from finishing that task at all costs!!”
Sounds good, and the Trailer certainly looks promising, so with my lil’ fingers crossed, your Favorite Catgirl plans to give it a “Nekolishous” look see. The Philippine film audience likes much the same wacky genre combinations as you find in Indonesian and Thai films, so there’s a good chance I’ll find much of that crazy comedy/ horror here as well. You know this lil’ Catgirl is up for this kind of goofy stuff, so here’s hoping I’m not disappointed!
But as always… the proof is in the watchin’… so you’ll have to “Read On”, o’ Gentle Visitor if you want to find out how this one plays out.
Our story starts out in the woods…. on a dark and windy night. A mysterious old witch sits before a fire… burning all her magical fetishes, charms and books while a malignant force watches her, hovering invisibly just out of reach outside her protective magic circle of salt. Even though it can’t reach her… it still manages to snatch a burning piece of her witch’s grimoire as it floats away with the smoke and save it from destruction, slipping it back into her things unobserved… Whoops! You just know that just can’t be a good thing…..
Then we switch gears… and it’s off to a rural hospital, where young orderly Conan (played by Vhong Navarro) works away his days pining away for even the least bit of a chance to score some attention from pretty nurse Ellen (played by Bangs Garcia). He’s a good-natured guy whom all the girls at the clinic seem to like… handsome and nice… but he only has eyes for the lovely Ellen, who seems to like him as well, but always seems to stay just out of reach. Eventually he finds out she’s only been playing with him… stringing him along for little favors while in reality she’s got her own secret affair going on for one of the doctors at the hospital. Poor Conan becomes despondent, to the point of foolishly trying to force his affections on her only to be rebuffed and made miserable by his failure to win her love. What’s a miserable boy in love to do when all else fails?
Why resort to black magic of course…. I mean… that always works, doesn’t it? Well… OK… maybe not so well in most of the movies this lil’ Catgirl has seen. But… hey… there’s a first time for everything, right? Anyway… he gets this cockeyed plan from his adopted hunchbacked cousin Simon (played by Ruben Gonzaga), who tells him that if you whisper a wish into the ear of a recently dead corpse, the spirit of the deceased has to grant that wish before it can move on to the “Other Side”… sounds easy, right? Nawwww….
Even with a morgue handy right in the hospital, our hero keeps gumming things up… even hilariously reviving a catatonic woman by accident and receiving accolades from the hospital staff for his amazing “skill and instincts”. Then… to complicate things, he runs into one of his old friends, Oprah (played by Angelica Panganiban) that he had a rather ugly falling out with. Despite this history… she seems over whatever fight they had and enlists his help in collecting a debt she’s owed by a drunken man she’s brought in to the clinic. She’s feisty… she’s loud and opinionated… but somehow you just know she’s secretly got a big ol’ crush on Conan and that she’s the right girl for him, not flirty Ellen… Now all he’s gotta do is figure that out for himself…
So… anyways, poor Conan keeps lurking about waiting for somebody… anybody… to drop dead so he can put his plan into action, and after a few false starts, runs into our witch, Grandma Lola, one evening on the street while drunk and woozy. He’s there when Satan finally manages to get revenge on Lola for breaking her Pact with him by running her down with a car, killing her. Although initially shocked by her sudden death, Conan… desperate to try the spell… whispers his wishes to her corpse, setting the scene for the rest of the film’s ghostly hi-jinx.
At first… it still doesn’t seem to work, but then weird stuff starts to happen and Grandma Lola’s ghost starts following Conan around constantly causing him trouble. Even worse… the shadowy form of Satan, all demonic and “centipede-y”, is sneaking around killing all those who sought Granny Lola’s magical spells just before she died. Oh… crap. You know what that means… right?
Yep… as soon as Granny Lola’s spell finally kicks in and has Ellen all hot and bothered for our boy Conan, it quickly goes all terribly, terribly wrong. First, Conan’s cousin Simon gets possessed and goes insane….. then Ellen corners Conan in the morgue and goes all evil and demonic on his butt. With… of all crazy things… evil demon boobs!! Didn’t expect that… no sir. Mind you, it was a particularly cheesy digital special effect.. but sooo darn funny too. Carolyn and I laughed ourselves silly over this lil’ bit of foolishness…. This gag alone will have them rolling in the aisles when this movie hits Thailand, trust me….. Conan survives the attack, but poor Ellen is left a dribbling loon just like Simon… can things get any worse?
That forces Conan to run to Oprah, begging for her help. You see, her aunt, Madam Kara (played by Carme Sanchez), is a fortuneteller, and knows all about that creepy supernatural stuff. She takes one look at the mysterious grimiore scrap which has somehow found it’s way into Conan’s possession and realizes right away that the corpse Conan whispered to is none other than the powerful witch, Granny Lola. Naturally… she wants Conan to finish her last task on earth before she can depart for her eternal rest… or eternal damnation if Satan can stop him from completing it for her.
So… what task would that be exactly?
Well… it seems some girl came to Lola for the standard “put a curse on my romantic rival” spell which Granny Lola provided without first seeing just who it was she was cursing. Unfortunately for her… she’d been tricked into cursing her very own granddaughter and her unborn great-grandchild. Awwww, crap!! That’s not gonna go over well at the next family reunion, right? So, that’s why Granny breaks her Pact with Satan and gives up witchcraft…. but the Great Evil One still wants Granny’s soul as well as the souls of all those she cast her spells for….. Wait a minute…. doesn’t that include Conan? Oh yeah…. you bet it does. To avoid this dire fate all he has to do is steal Granny Lola’s corpse from the local morgue… put some of it into some Holy Water and mix up a magic elixir for Granny’s granddaughter to drink…. Ewwwwhhhh!!! Simple… but sooo disgusting!!
With Oprah’s help they do just that… with the evil shadow of Satan trying it’s best to kill them every step of the way. Trapping them in a burning morgue, possessing people to murder them at a hotel, trying to kill them in a motorcycle accident, finally even animating some zombies to eat them in a lonely deserted graveyard!! Despite this, our heroes finally dodge all these deadly attacks and make it to the little rural village where Granny’s Daughter and her family live their simple peasant lives only to find that they won’t believe they are here to help at all… Seems Granny being a Witch means nobody in the family wants anything to do with her or her evil ways.
Conan tries to reason with them… pleading the family to accept their help before the curse kills the unborn child, but it’s only the arrival of Satan… in his full CGI centipede demonic form that gives Oprah the chance to get mom-to-be to drink the disgusting potion while Conan fights Satan in hand-to-hand combat (If you can call getting his butt seriously kicked, combat…). The Lord of Darkness loses, of course and the baby is born alive and well… Granny’s granddaughter is cured of the nasty skin disease she was cursed with and Conan and Oprah finally realize just how much they really love each other. All’s well that ends well….
So… how did this one rate? Well… surprising for such a simple little film, your Favorite Catgirl liked it a whole lot…. It’s fun, unpretentious, and actually makes a great deal of sense given it’s rather goofy overall plot. I found it quaint and entertaining, and filled with both nicely done chills as well as some fun laughs and a bit of sweet romantic chemistry between Conan and Oprah throughout the story. While not the biggest budget film I’ve seen lately, it nonetheless did the job of giving both me and Carolyn a fun evening of movie watching enjoyment. (And more than a few giggles over the demon boobies…..) Given this… Neko can definitely recommend it as a light evening’s bit of senseless popcorn crunching fun for a full 4 “Meows” out of 5. Remember, sometimes the best movies are the simple frivolously fun ones….. Besides…. where else are you likely to encounter possessed demonic breasts? OK, ok…. I mean outside of Japan…..Hehehehe!!
The Philippine DVD is great as always, with a letter boxed Region Free NTSC format and in Tagalog language with perfect English subtitles. There’s the theatrical Trailer and a “making of” feature, not subtitled unfortunately, but still enjoyable if you are so inclined. If you want a copy, you ought to be able to easily track one down for about 15-22$ US. Not bad if goofy Asian flavored horror comedies are your thing. (Gasp!! You mean they aren’t? Tsk, tsk!!)
So… is there a Trailer you ask? Why naturally… and here you go!