Marcos mansion transformed for ‘Haunted’ shoot
The permission to shoot inside the Marcos Twin Mansion in Cabuyao, Laguna, for the latest Regal Entertainment horror film, “Haunted Mansion,” came from former First Lady Imelda Marcos herself, according to director Jun Robles Lana.
The 25-hectare property used to be the party place of the Marcoses before it was sequestered by the government in 1987, or a year after the ouster of the late dictator. In 2010, the Sandiganbayan ordered the return of the property to the Marcos family.
“We had a hard time securing permits. Roselle (Monteverde, Regal executive) had to call Madame Imelda and (Ilocos Norte governor) Imee to secure it. It was Madame who signed the contract,” Lana told reporters during a recent press conference for “Haunted Mansion,” which is an official entry in the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival.
Filming lasted for almost six months, said Lana. “I didn’t experience anything weird while working there, but the caretakers have many scary stories to tell. I guess it’s because the place is already old and neglected.”
Lana added: “When we had our first ocular inspection, we still saw some old paintings of Ma’am Imelda hanging on the wall. This gave the place an eerie feeling. When we asked permission to do some diggings for one scene, we were told not to dig at the front lawn, because they weren’t sure what we’d discover there.”
Lana said Regal had to “spend a lot of resources just to transform the twin mansions to the look that the movie required. We had to make it look older for present-day scenes, then later, look newer for the flashback scenes.”
Janella Salvador, Marlo Mortel and Jerome Ponce are part of the present-day scenes, while Iza Calzado, LJ Reyes and Joem Bascon are included in the scenes from the 1950s.
“It’s a classic horror film about a group of high-school kids who go on a retreat at an old mansion,” Lana said. “I’ve already used all the scare tactics I know, from the fancy to the special effects-driven. So, when Regal asked me if I would be interested in making another horror film, I said I wanted to do something that’s more traditional—the type of horror that will not rely so much on special effects. I’ve been working on its script for five years now.”
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