Rocco, Ang Batang Bato
That vampire is paralyzed with shock at the idiocy he’s witnessing!
What a great movie for children! In the opening minute there is a woman being molested in her sleep by a spectral god, having an orgasm because, why not? Then her parents are gunned down less than two minutes later by a ruthless local warlord. An annoying fat kid then bloats up the running time until we finally get the werewolves, vampires, and monsters. Kids love violence and rape and annoying fat kids, and Boy God aka Stone Boy aka Rocco, Ang Batang Bato gives the children what they want!
If you aren’t familiar with Boy God, it’s a Filipino childrens’ film that was imported to the US and given an annoying dub and multiple titles. This lead to some confusion when attempting to track down rare films in the days before the internet. As far as I can tell, both titles are the exact same English dub and cut. I’ve not seen the original Filipino version, but the names in Tagalog do not seem to correspond at all with the English ones. I do want to see how the Filipino actor pretending to be the mad German scientist Dr. Mengele actually is supposed to be Dr. Mengele, and if he has a German accent. The gods all seem inspired from Clash of the Titans and similar films, as they are all Greek-looking. The vampires are more animalistic, like half-bat monsters, and Janice is dressed up as a Filipino komiks superheroine. So there is a healthy mixture of influences.
You can probably tell from my tone that I don’t really care for this film that much. The kid is among the most annoying I’ve seen in film, the most annoying child I’ve seen in a Filipino flick, and probably on my top ten list of most annoying children of all time. (That is a list with a heavy amount of Kennys!) But beyond that, the fantasy elements are pretty cool. They are all practical effects, and they are the lovable ridiculous practical effects that everyone rags on but secretly miss. Effects with heart. So I can’t hate on Boy God too much. Just the star, and the unfortunately decision to not kill the child off and replace him with someone not terrible.
Director J. Erastheo Navoa helmed a few other genre flicks, some have a bit written about them, and some are complete mysteries. His biggest is probably Darna at Ding, but there is also Tikboy and Pamboy and Super Islaw and the Flying Kids. The latter got a revival in the tv series Super Inggo, Super Inggo being the son of Super Islaw and a supervillainess. Movie superheroine Super Inday played Super Inggo’s fiance, Super Inday had her own movie in the 80s that was remade in 2010 called Super Inday and the Golden Bibe.
Despite this film being rather well-known among weird world cinema collectors, it doesn’t have that much written about it online, so enjoy the more detailed plot synopsis review below!
A Greek god-looking dude beams in (he is transparent) and spies on a sleeping woman named Cora, who is soon moaning. Wait, is she…OMG!! The ghost god guy is totally having sex with her right off camera! what? Ghost god sex? This is a kid’s movie! Yep, soon Cora is knocked up and delivering the baby.
Cora is married (I think) to a guy named Issabello. They both live with her mother, Dunata, and the child is named Rocco. Cutting the umbilical cord of the baby just breaks the scissors. No time to enjoy the baby, a warlord dressed in a Flintstones cow toga named Robbie is threatening to burn down the houses of everyone and then kills Issabello and Gora after Issabello’s sister Lucille reveals their location while under torture. So basically this is like Harry Potter!
Ten years later, the baby Rocco is now a 10-year old boy with a talking parrot named Tiki. Dunata is raising him, and they own an ox named Big Horn. Rocco has super strength, but must hide it, because of the Superman clause. As this is a Filipino flick, there is a lot of local color humor like gossiping villagers and Rocco killing a cat that attacks the parrot. Ha ha ha. I guess you had to be there. Poor kitty…
Enough of cat murder, now some random scientist guy named Dr. Rowling is taking a very tiny sample of sea water to study in the lab, while declaring the whole area is contaminated contaminated by a chemical created by a mad scientist to kill. He explains all of this to another guy named Captain Hugo, who doesn’t seem to understand anything, thus allowing the film to explain things to the audience. The explanations continue, because Rocco goes into the ocean, and starts to drown in like 2 foot water until he is rescued. We are then told that Rocco gets weak in water, as the demonstration wasn’t enough. Yeah, yeah, enough with the water purity talk, where is the giant cyclops???
We finally get some monsters as something attacks a woman at night. Rocco takes Tiki to go investigate, because you need a talking parrot when you go look for monsters. We see a hand go through a floorboard and grab at people and other spooky stuff. It’s a werewolf, who is driven off after it attacks a family, and Rocco just watches and follows the werewolf to a home.
The next day, Rocco sneaks in the home and is discovered by three women. One of them threateningly eats an apple! Dun dun DUN! They insist he stay for dinner, but not as dinner, because they serve liver. Human liver. I assume Rocco was supposed to be desert, but we’ll never know as he runs out of the house screaming with the women chasing him. Rocco is eventually hit by a car, but because of his great strength, he’s not injured, even though the driver is. A guy disguised as a homeless man witnesses Rocco’s strength, he works for someone who seeks out human specimens of great strength.
The three women transform into werewolves thanks to time elapse photography, and their killing spree leaves dead bodies littering the ground. Remember, this is a kids’ movie! Besides the werewolf infestation, there are also vampires randomly attacking the town. Dr. Rowling realizes the vampires and werewolves were both created by the same evil scientist who poisoned the water, but he can’t find the evil lair.
Did you know vampires look like were-bats, or those bat people from They Fly By Night? Except with fleshy wings that look like capes? And they hop around like monkeys? These vampires are lame, and Rocco punches one once and it runs away. The vampire punches out Dr. Rowling, but Rocco fights it some more. With the stupidest rolling attack I’ve ever seen! Rocco rolls into a ball and aims for the vampire, misses, goes way up a tree, then rolls back down and connects!
The vampire breaks off his teeth when he tries to bite Rocco! Should be using toothpaste with fluoride, buddy! Rocco knocks a wall onto the vampire, only to discover the vampire is Captain Hugo when it reverts to human form while unconscious! Rocco sneaks into the werewolf ladies’ house and tries to scare them with a mask. But it is lame and he escapes by rolling into a ball and rolling off again. This idiot rolls right into some water, his weakness! Rolling isn’t an accepted fighting form for a reason, Rocco!
The three werewolves grab him and bath his naked body…this is disturbing as heck! Thanks a lot, movie! How is this a children’s film, again??? The heat from the fire dries Rocco off, and soon he is fighting the three werewolf women. (Thankfully, he got dressed, or this would have reached disturbing Orson Scott Card levels of naked children fighting!) Rocco beats them up, then runs off. He stumbles across Captain Hugo, who turns into his vampire form. And by turns into his vampire form, I mean he recreates the scene of Poochie turning into a still frame and claiming to be returning to his home planet and getting lifted up from the screen, despite this film being made years before that happened. This is the power of Filipino Cinema!
Note: Poochie died on his way back to his home planet
The vampire flies and grabs Rocco, who then breaks one of the vampire’s wings. This wounds cool except he then falls off and into more water! Rocco, are you serious? Also, the werewolves are all killed by a mad mob of villagers, so you no longer have to worry about them..
Robbie the goon from ten years ago is working for the mad scientist Dr. Desares, who despite being played by a Filipino is supposed to be German, the English dub even cooperates by giving him a German accent! Dr. Desares punishes a henchman by tossing him in a telephone booth, turning a nob, and disintegrating the dude! Agony booths are making a comeback.
Rocco awakens in a cave, complete with glowing crystals, and a blind bearded guy dressed in robes beams in, calling himself Vulcan, Elder of the Immortals. Vulcan has a chalice slowly float over to Rocco, but it moves at such slow speeds it would be faster to just walk it over. Vulcan says Rocco is half-immortal, and his parents are in purgatory. He can rescue them if he follows Vulcan’s cryptic instructions. Now it’s time for Rocco to get some sleep, as tomorrow he goes to the land of the small people. Vulcan leaves Rocco some clothes and gold armor and shield as well.
Rocco marches on down to the land of the small people. There, small people surround him, and will guide him on his quest if he helps them fight against the giant cyclops named Golem. He agrees, and it’s fighting time! The fight doesn’t go too well at first, with Golem winning and even eating one of the small people. The other small people fire Rocco right at Golem using a giant ballista, and this let’s Rocco stab Golem right in his eye! Suck on that, Golem! Get a name that isn’t the name of a different monster, buddy!
The chewing is the most horrible part!
Next he’s pointed on his path and runs into a two-sided monster, aka conjoined twins connected at the back. During the fight they are separated, but still threaten our hero despite his stone skin that makes him impervious to swords, but he’s saved by…Darna??? Some Amazonian Filipino woman named Janice. Bootleg Darna. She gives Rocco her magic sword, and soon he is creaming their crops with his sweet moves. I think The Raid ripped off these sweet choreography moves…for their outtake reel! Get it? Because they suck. Rocco kills them both in one stab, and then Janice disappears for a bit.
It’s time for the third test of Rocco, The Gold Hand of Death! Somehow we got into numbered testing instead of a quest, perhaps I should pay better attention. “Think well on what I said, and you will REALLY understand!” – The wise words of Vulcan. Rocco goes into a cave, which is filled with lots of cave dudes and their leader, a big cave dude with a trident, who fires really slow lasers from his eyes and hands.
The laser firing is so slow that Rocco has time to wait 25 years for the Captain America movies to be made, watches them, and gets the idea to throw his shield like a Frisbee an lops off the laser guy’s head. Next time use lasers that move at the speed of light, not the speed of boredom!
Janice beams in, and takes Rocco inside, where a woman in a 18th century French powdered wig and dress interrogates Rocco. These are the gods, and the Council of Gods agree that there will be no more punishments, but Rocco needs to do 1001 salvations to save his parents, and is beamed back to Earth. Good grief, the gods make this mess, then make Rocco fix it because they are too busy holding meetings. Lazy gods!
Back on Earth, the German scientist Dr. Desares reveals he is Dr. Mengele (yes, THAT Dr. Mengele) and has attacked the village and taken everyone prisoner, to be used in mad experiments of madness. Rocco and Dr. Rowling are free, but are captured before they can even help anyone.
Dr. Mengele declares he will teach all he knows to Rocco, because he is the only one smart enough to be deserving. Beep beep, back that truck up! When the heck has Rocco displayed any amount of intelligence, ever? Okay, Rocco does one thing intelligent just now, he beats up Dr. Mengele, and then beats up some guards (including tearing off some of their clothes!)
Robbie says “Did you know that I’m a first-class riddler? And I’m about to, uh, teach you again!” and then sprays Rocco with a hose to weaken him. Rocco is tossed into the agony booth, but quickly smashes out, slaughters some guards, and helps the villagers escape and captures Robbie.
Dr. Mengele points gun at Rocco and prepares to fire, while Rocco just puts his finger in the gun’s barrel. Because we’ve now entered the wacky world of Looney Toons, the bullets go backwards and kill Dr. Mengele! I hear this is how the real Dr. Mengele died, and I’m too lazy to go look up if that’s true.
Because he saved over 1001 villagers, Rocco’s parents are freed from Purgatory! But their transparent ghosts tell Rocco they can no longer visit him. Yay, I guess. The day is saved until the next secret Nazi moves in next door. I think I see a U-Haul turning onto the street now…
Rated 4/10 (mom, dad, goofy dad, he got boothed!)
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