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Film Review: ‘Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings’

Jade Castro's genre- and gender-bending Filipino horror comedy offers gay zombies, pro-tolerance message.

With:

Mart Escudero, Lauren Young, Kerbie Zamora, Janice de Belen, John Regala, Roderick Paulate, Angelina Kanapi, Nar Cabico, Daniel Fernando, Leandro Baldemor, Eugene Domingo, Odette Khan, Ernesto Manansala. (Filipino, Tagalog, English dialogue).

Exuberantly silly, “Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings” sends up Filipino horror, romance, gaysploitation and other genre cliches in service of a pro-tolerance message. Despite that message, there’s very little political correctitude to be found here, and the willingness to ridicule everyone lends Jade Castro’s comedy a contrary, disarming guilelessness, suggesting only churls (of any political/sexual/moral persuasion) could be so humorless as to take actual offense. Released on home turf over two years ago, the pic has been kicking around festivals and elsewhere since, with recent limited U.S. theatrical launch raising visibility for a niche home-format release.

As a child, Remington (Mart Escudero) made incessant fun of “homos,” running around yelling “”Ay! Bakla! Bakla! Bakla!” at practically anyone, including the parish priest. One day he ridiculed the wrong cross-dressing queen (Roderick Paulate, who’s played such roles for over a quarter-century), who cursed him with, “When you grow up, you will become gay!”

Fifteen years later, Remington is turning 21 as a young lout occupied by little more than boozing with buddies and chasing skirt. His interest in pretty college student Hannah (Lauren Young) goes unreturned until involuntary changes to his manner, dress, knowledge of makeup tips, etc., suddenly strike her fancy. Still, he hadn’t hoped to impress her with girly “sensitivity” or swishing around; nor does a newfound attraction to best friend Jigs (Kerbie Zamora) exactly fit his hitherto macho self-image.

Meanwhile, the apparently all-female local police force (including Janice de Belen as Remington’s mother) investigates a series of murders in which a ray-gun-like “gaydar” invented to determine homosexuality in livestock is being used to decimate the local population of hairdressers and other flamboyant gays. Co-scenarists Castro, Raymond Lee and Michiko Yamamoto’s kitchen-sink approach also tosses in a muscular mystery man who terrorizes Remington, rollerblading, a seance, an animation-enhanced disco dance interlude, male go-go ghost dancers, a beauty pageant, and yes, late-arriving gay zombies.

Holding this crazy quilt together to a large extent is Escudero, a teen pinup who surprises here (and has won some awards notice) with delightful farcical facility. His possessed-by-a-demon-of-camp act is a physical comedy stunt reminiscent of Steve Martin’s forced gender blur in “All of Me” and, as with all the stereotypes deployed here, it’s too good-natured to insult any viewer. Supporting players, some with established screen personas that add an in-joke layer, are all game. Inspiration occasionally flags a bit, but the pic’s friendly vibe compensates for its unevenness. Assembly is brisk and colorful.

Film Review: 'Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings'

Reviewed online, San Francisco, Oct. 25, 2013. Running time: 96 MIN. Original title: "Zombadings 1: Patayin Sa Shokot Si Remington"

Production:

(Philippines) An Ariztical Entertainment release of an Origin8Media Corp. production in association with SQ Film Laboratories. Produced by Raymond Lee. Executive producers, Jennifer Alejandro, Tammy Dinopol, Joyce Bernal, Popoy Caritativo, Jade Castro, Rey Cuerdo, Emmanuel Dela Cruz, Katski Flores, Geraldine Javier, Rose King, Mari Lamasan, Cholo Laurel, Lee, Isa Lorenzo, Totomai Martinez, Nicholas Pichay, Michelangelo Samson, Anastacio Angelo Santos, Freddie Santos, Joyce Santos, Blue Soon, Gold Soon, J. D. Soon, Kid Soon, Sandor Soon, Brian Villanueva, Michiko Yamamoto.

Crew:

Directed by Jade Castro. Screenplay, Raymond Lee, Castro, Michiko Yamamoto. Camera (color, HD), Ike Avellana; editors, Lawrence Ang, J.D. Domingo; music, Teresa Barrozo; production designer, Norman S. Regalado; art directors, Michael Labora, Rodelio Roxas; sound, Mark Locsin; re-recording mixers, Lamberto Casas Jr., Alex Tomboc; assistant director, Han Salazar; casting, Raymond Lee.

With:

Mart Escudero, Lauren Young, Kerbie Zamora, Janice de Belen, John Regala, Roderick Paulate, Angelina Kanapi, Nar Cabico, Daniel Fernando, Leandro Baldemor, Eugene Domingo, Odette Khan, Ernesto Manansala. (Filipino, Tagalog, English dialogue).

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