Monday, November 3, 2008

Altar


Zanjoe Marudo

Writer-Director Rico Maria Ilarde has been making fantasy fright films since 1988's Z-Man. I wouldn't call him a master of horror, but he's at least a mason of pulp. In his latest, 2007's Altar, which gets a theatrical release this week, the economy of his mounting affects the overall impact -- it's not scary -- but the elements have a tingly charm. Zanjoe Marudo plays a retired boxer assigned to do construction work with a precocious buddy (Nor Domingo) in a remote, haunted house.

The real trademark of Ilarde's movies is the casting of bodilicious actors as lead machos who must battle the monsters (previously, they included Yul Servo, Carlos Morales, and Monsour Del Rosario) -- of course a subversion of the usual horror practice in which the terrorized hero is a woman, but no longer the gender novelty that it was since 1987's Evil Dead 2. I enjoyed watching the vertical, lean-beef, ex-model Zanjoe peel off his shirt, or work up beads of sweat, or burst into a torso-grinding dance (though clothed), or generally be a convincing emotional actor. It's the brief sight of him bare-chested in body paint that got me through the parts when the story logic began to malfunction. Not exactly homoerotic, especially when the maids in short skirts arrive as paramours, and only occassionally sexy, Altar is a truly unpretentious B-movie, yes, but just an okay one.

GRADE: B-

Related Links:
Trailer on YouTube
Positive Review by Francis Cruz
Positive Review by Noel Vera
Positive Review by Richard Bolisay
ZanjoeMarudo.Net
Zanjoe Marudo Pictures

5 comments:

zanjoe fan said...

May armpit-exposing shots ba si Zanjoe sa movie?

thebaklareview said...

walang kapuna-puna. there's one tight shot where you an glimpse his armpit hairs at the bottom right corner of the frame, but it's too quick.

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