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The Aswang Phenomenon (2011)

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What would happen if a country of 97 million people were taught at a young age that the boogie man was real. In the Philippines for the last 400 years, the 'aswang' has been used as ... See full summary »

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Jordan Clark ...
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What would happen if a country of 97 million people were taught at a young age that the boogie man was real. In the Philippines for the last 400 years, the 'aswang' has been used as propoganda and social control by Spanish Colonizers, the Catholic Church, the Philippine Administration, and even the CIA. Written by Anonymous

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What would happen if a country of 97 million people were taught at a young age that vampires were real?


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31 October 2011 (USA)  »

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Great insight of the history of the Bogeyman of the Philippines.
13 May 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Every culture in the world has their own mythological belief of a supernatural monsters that haunted or terrorize the local population. In Arabic culture, there are the evil Jinns, In Slavic Romania, the 'Dracula' vampire, In Japan, the Onryō Ghost, and in the Philippines, they call it the 'Aswang'. What the film does so well, is not only explaining the history of the Aswang, but the cultural history of the Philippines, from its indigenous beginnings, to its Christian Spanish colonizer period, to its modern day state. Director, Jordan Clark really did improve his understanding of the Aswang, since his last movie, 2008's Aswang: A Journey into Myth. Like him, as a Westerner, I really had no clue what an Aswang is. Aswang has many varieties and identifies in Filipino culture, from shape-shifters demons that can turn into dogs or pigs to Manananggal that are beautiful women who segment their bodies at the waist and hunt for blood with vampire like large wings. They are even believe to witches or Corpse eater ghouls or zombies. The movie has a really good structure to explain the Aswang by putting all the beliefs of the Aswang in different categories, and working one by one, to explain it with pretty good solid theories. Mad props to Professor Maximo D Ramos in his book, 'Creatures of Philippine Lower Mythology'. It really help solve the confusion of the creature. Wish they mention his other book, "The Aswang Complex". Unfortunately both books are out of print and difficult to find. All the detail in the film that they did mention, are realistic in tone, and makes sense. None of them, sound outrageous interpretation theories of the folklore. It makes sense that Spanish colonizers would use the Aswang to enforce the Christian beliefs onto the indigenous people. It makes sense that it was a way to keep strong women down by demonizing them. It makes sense that parents would use Aswang ghost stories to warn their small children, to wander out at nights. It makes sense that people would mistake Panay dystonia Parkinsonism for Devil possession. I was really surprise, how mature, the movie was, when dealing with the subject matter. It was fairly balanced, well researched, and informative. While the film is truly product very low budget, it barely shows. I love the way, how the movie tells the stories of the Aswang. Lots of great animation. The best one had to be the Prometheus type story from Philippine folklore and the Paradise Lost Arch-Angels battle. Love the comic book art that was featured. Great use of actors to act out some of the stories in the background. I do love the Philippines locations, they pick to use in the film. I love to visit Capiz, and see their Aswang Festival. What I didn't like is how much the movie, is how most of the talking heads interview, are in the movie business. I would love to see more historians, and scientists on board here, talking about the creature. Sadly, the director met a lot of resistance from members of the academe on the subject. I didn't like the camera work in some scenes. It was bit shaky at times. I also didn't like how much, they use silly B-movies film footage of cheesy Aswang movies. You really lose, how scary, this creature is, by showing badly done movies of it. I didn't like how Luna: An Aswang Romance, stage play was filmed with a camcorder. It was so dark, you can barely see anything. It's not really that scary of a documentary. You do heard talks about children serial killers and other murder crimes, that a bit disturbing. For parents, there is a few frighten scenes that might scare little children. Small amount of gore, and in one case, an image of corpse of a young girl who just died. There is a bit of nudity in the film, as the movie shows old photos of indigenous people and nude deities. For 77 minutes, it's a great watch. It's easy to find. After completing the documentary, he decided to put it online. So you can probably find it on Youtube. If not, look for the DVD that comes with the 2008's movie, Clark produced. Overall: The movie represents the most rational approach to the subject. Great insight of the Aswang folklore and its effects on Philippine society.


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