Indie maverick recreates horror classic by BernalBy Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Indie filmmaker Rico Maria Ilarde finds it “daunting” to recreate the late Ishmael Bernal’s “Pridyider,” an episode from the first “Shake, Rattle & Roll” trilogy in 1984.
Bernal, a National Artist for Film, is “one of the greats,” Ilarde points out. “Moreover, it was Amado Lacuesta who wrote the original.”
Ilarde only hopes that his take on the horror classic “enhances the ‘Pridyider’ myth and mystique that Bernal and Lacuesta established, without cheapening or diminishing it.”
Ilarde recalls watching Bernal’s film as a kid, when it was first shown in the 1980s: “I thought it was very well-made and creepy as hell.”
It’s “unfortunate,” he explains, that “the footage on YouTube looks dated. Perhaps that has to do more with the deplorable condition of the print.”
The sad state of the print of the first “Shake” on YouTube, he says, “brings to the fore what all filmmakers must compete against: the test of time. But the original ‘Pridyider’ will always remain a classic.”
With this in mind, he sought to recapture the mood of the original with Regal’s latest shocker, “Pridyider,” which opens nationwide on Sept. 19.
With this new film, Ilarde aims to present a fuller story, revisiting the origins of the haunted refrigerator. “I can’t speak for Amado Lacuesta, but I feel that the original is a social satire, possibly a commentary on modern society’s consumerism and how Filipinos’ lives revolve around this household appliance.”
Actor Baron Geisler, who got to work with Ilarde for the first time, describes the director as collaborative. “He gave us freedom, listened to our suggestions,” Baron says. “He respects actors.”
Beauty queen Venus Raj, who makes her big-screen debut in the film, agrees with Geisler: “Direk Rico guided me every step of the way. He would act out a scene before a take. He would do my lines during dubbing, too.”
Ilarde, an honoree at the first Inquirer Indie Tribute, is known for devoting to horror the same passion that his contemporaries dedicate to social issues.
“Horror is here to stay,” he insists. “It’s no longer a poor man’s genre. Every filmmaker I know wants to make a horror film. I’d like to think my colleagues and I helped establish or reestablish the genre’s vitality and relevance in the local scene.”
Producer Roselle Monteverde relates that a foreign genre festival programmer has expressed interest in screening the film after catching the trailer on Twitch.com.
Ilarde says he has some favorite filmmakers. “But for ‘Pridyider,’ I looked to the older generation of suspense filmmakers for inspiration— Alfred Hitchcock, Sam Raimi, Brian De Palma, John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon.”
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