November 5, 2011

I just sat riveted through more than an hour of this documentary by High Banks Entertainment. The Aswang Phenomenon is in-depth, clearly presented and covers almost all the bases of the aswang myth — even relishing exploring and tracing the roots of each of the forms of the mythos from the manananggal to the sigbin and beyond.

Best of all? You can watch it for free on Youtube. Yeah, the whole thing!

Like all great docus I’ve also learned a lot about a subject that I already love and has fascinated me enough to motivate me to put my own take and version of the monster in my fiction.

Especially illuminating was the section about the dystonia Parkinsonism of Panay, where the muscle and brain disease afflicts a person in such a way that it looks like the seizure puts you in a trance, about to transform into. . .well, something else. It also has interviews with Peque Gallaga, which should be worth the price of the pre-vid load alone.

Anyway, if you’re a horror freak you shouldn’t miss this! Amazing job Mr Jordan Clark and crew!

Imagine a country of 97 million people who are taught at a young age that the bogeyman is real. In the Philippines, this isn’t far from the truth. Over the last 400 years, a phenomenon known as the “aswang” has come to represent everything vile, disgusting and evil in popular culture there. It is frequently represented as a woman and appears in hundreds of movies, television programs, comics and books.

The Aswang Phenomenon is the first in-depth documentary to trace the history of the aswang myth, discovering where manifestations of the creature come from and how the myth became embedded in Filipino society. It includes extensive information on the Philippines and its history including details of how missionaries the myth was used and continues to be used as a means of control-by missionaries with their congregations, by politicians to discourage rebellion and even by parents to keep their children from misbehaving. Created by Victoria documentary filmmaker Jordan Clark (Bangkok Girl), The Aswang Phenomenon is packaged along with a second documentary on the making of the film, Aswang: A Journey Into Myth.

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