A young girl named Katrina is being driven to a meeting by her Puerto Rican boyfriend. She's Scotch-Irish and pregnant. He tries to convince her that an abortion is the way to go, but she decides against. Thus begins a movie so horrible that it might just be wonderful. It was released in 1994 and directed by former film students Wrye Martin and Barry Poltermann.
This movie cost under $200,000 to film, and that's what you have to realize if you decide to sit thru these 82 dreadful minutes of full-on gore and abysmal acting. This is one of those movies where you have never heard of one single person involved in it and you likely never will. One can only imagine how these thespians, who we know love to watch their oeuvre on their screens at home ad infinitum, must feel having this as their one shining moment in the cinema sun. It would be one thing if it were camp, and one could sometimes think that it was, with the homages to Rosemary's Baby and The Shining and even Blue Velvet. But you have to come away from this film thinking that the folks who made it were dead fucking serious about it, even though there is a chainsaw involved. And that's what is sad; the fact that they are taking it seriously. The real inspiration was most likely The Evil Dead, but it's highly unlikely that Sam Raimi would have had one of his characters hanging from her 90 foot tongue, dangling just a few feet above ground, looking for all the world like a human frog in a nightie.
Here's the basic story. There's this family called the Nulls who own a bunch of land out in the middle of nowhere (Wisconsin, I suppose). Peter is the son. He's got a crazy sister Claire out in the shack behind the mansion. He's paid young Katrina a bunch of money to have her kid and play along with his scheme. She'll pretend she's his wife Janine to fool the mother into thinking there's a Null heir. He tells Katrina that this is a prerequisite to him inheriting the Null fortune. (Get the "Null" irony. It's a joke. Is funny, no?) However, it's all just a thinly disguised evil plot to satisfy vampire blood lust. There's the Filipino voodoo midwife and cook tying nicely into the Aswang lore. (Except for the fact that her name is Cupid.) Otherwise, it's fairly incomprehensible how all these baby-sucking vampires wound up in Wisconsin.
It was shot in rural Wisconsin on 16 mm, and the transfer to what you see when you rent this film is actually quite good. The problem is not in the money spent on production qualities. The problem is the actors who are trying ever so hard to cross that line into immortality via the cheap horror movie and falling just about one emotion short. When Peter comes down to breakfast after having spent most of the night with his face planted in a drugged and sleeping Katrina's crotch and announces to his mother, "It's a girl!", one can only wonder how much worse it can get. And the answer is, "Plenty."
Since Netflix has become a part of our lives, it's been a hurdy-gurdy mélange in my rental queue. Who knows where they all come from? Some of you folks tell me to rent this or that. Some reviews I read tell me to rent something or the other. Netflix itself thinks it has become sentient and that it knows what I like and can tell me what to watch. I never know where the suggestions for these little red envelopes in my mailbox are coming from.
But I do know this. My teenage daughter had only one comment after the 82 minutes calling itself Aswang was over. "All I want to know is this. Who told you to rent this piece of crap? I want to hunt them down right now." I tried to convince her that it might have been so bad it was good, but she's not one to fall for that line. I'm not sure why I sometimes am. I think I might have thought Chiisuta was involved in all of this somehow.