Gandarrappido!: The Revenger Squad (Review)

Gandarrappido!: The Revenger Squad

Gandarrappido!: The Revenger Squad
Story by Enrico C. Santos & Juvy G. Galamiton
Screenplay by Danno Kristoper C. Mariquit, Daisy G. Cayanan, & Jonathan James A. Albano
Directed by Bb. Joyce Bernal

Gandarrappido!: The Revenger Squad
Well, it looked like 2017 was going to end with me seeing The Shape of Water as my last film in the theaters for that year, but the local multiplex decided otherwise by opening a Filipino super hero comedy unannounced! Thus I finished out the year with Gandarrappido!: The Revenger Squad! After taking one look at the trailer and seeing Vice Ganda in a rainbow wig and lipstick Sailor Moon outfit battling a bunch of villains meant it became the most important movie to immediately see right now! It’s weird and makes references I haven’t watched enough Filipino cinema lately to get, but it was easy to follow, had a lot of colorful effects, and for a modern Filipino super hero comedy wasn’t half bad! It was worth running out to see, as how often am I going to get a chance to watch a film like this? The theater just gave up and listed Gandarrappido!: The Revenger Squad as Revenger Squad, but at TarsTarkas.NET, we’re sticking to authorial intent, baby!

Gandarra (Vice Ganda) is a famous superheroine and her super friends battle against the evil Mino, who has been trapped in a mirror since a prior battle with Gandarra. He can still speak and influence the outside world, where he mind controls a villain named Madman and plots to steal the magical lipstick from Gandarra, from which she draws her power. In their climatic battle, Madman is killed and Gandarra suffers a head injury, resulting in amnesia. The remaining heroes resolve to raise the orphan son of Madman, Chino, as a normal child so he’ll never know his father was evil, and they all live together, keeping their heroic past a secret from Chino and Gandarra. As an aside, Madman had seduced Gandarra’s sister, Cassandra (Pia Wurtzbach), who became the supervillainess Kweenie in response, plotting with Mino to track down Chino after he gains super powers on his 21st birthday.
Gandarrappido!: The Revenger Squad
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James Batman – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 19

James Batman
From the depths of the internet the Infernal Brains have returned again to discuss the wonderful adventures of Batman and James Bond in the Philippines! Yes, it is James Batman, a film so amazing it starred two of the most popular figures worldwide, both played by the same actor! Totally unauthorized, totally crazy, totally fun, James Batman is an amazing film that is a shining example of Filipino pulp cinema of the 1960s. We also get into other Filipino Batman movies (of which there are many, but far less that survive!) and some history on Dolphy, the comedian who brought both James Bond and Batman to life at the same time. There was a bit of audio distortion at times due to a bad connection, but not so bad you can’t hear the conversation (apologies!)

As usual, we have a whole Batcave full of ways to listen:

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Films Discussed:
James BatmanTars’ ReviewTodd’s Review
Johnny Joker stills
Batman Fights Dracula stills

Sites of interest:

Prior Infernal Brains:
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 1
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 2
Polly Shang Kuan
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 1
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 2
Dara Singh
Infernal Brains Podcast – 07 – Insee Daeng
Infernal Brains Podcast – 08 – Worst Podcast Ever
The Mummies of Guanajuato – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 09
Jane Bond – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 10
Daigoro vs Goliath – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 11
Down the Rabbit Hole with Pearl Cheung Ling – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 12
Through the Looking Glass with Pearl Cheung Ling – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 13
Starman – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 14
The Brainiac – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 15
The Secret of Magic Island – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 16
Space Ladies from Outer Space – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 17
Cat-Beast – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 18

Click the graphic for Podcast Feed:

Infernal Brains Podcast

Boy God (Review)

Rocco, Ang Batang Bato

aka Boy God aka Stone Boy
Rocco Ang Batang Bato Boy God Stone Boy Filipino
Story by Joeben Miraflor
Screenplay by Eliseo Corcuerra
Directed by J. Erastheo Navoa

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.
Rocco Ang Batang Bato Boy God Stone Boy Filipino
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.
Rocco Ang Batang Bato Boy God Stone Boy Filipino
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!

Rocco (Niño Muhlach) – Rocco has invulnerable skin, meaning he can’t be hurt by normal means. Rocco with the rock hard skin, a lot of creativity is present. His mom is named Cora (Cecille Castillo) and his father is Issabello, but both are killed when he is a baby and stuck in Purgatory. His real father is the god Pyfan. His grandmother is named Dunata, and is who raises Rocco. Rocco gets weak in water, which is a convenient excuse not to take a bath for a kid. His hobbies include rolling into a ball and bowling into people, defeating local warlords, fighting monsters, saving his parents from awful fates, and being annoying.
Tiki (???) – The talking parrot pet of Rocco who factors into the film in the beginning and then sort of fades away.
Robbie (???) – A local warlord dressed in a Flintsones cow toga who harasses the village. Killed Rocco’s parents. Is in league with Dr. Mengele. Robbie isn’t a name that instills in me a sense of terror, but occasionally it sounds like they are calling in Grobbie, which is even worse.
Golem (???) – A giant cyclops, not a golem, but whatever. Enjoys threatening and eating small people, but gets annoyed that they randomly have sharp knives on their bodies that he has to spit out. Tries to eat Rocco.
Janice (Liz Alindogan) – Why would you think this is Darna? She’s clearly Janice! A totally different Filipino wonder woman, and vaguely the love interest for Rocco, despite the fact he’s a goofy boy. Janice is named Janus in the Tagalog version, borrowing a name from Clash of the Titans
Dr. Rowling (Jimi Melendez) – A heroic doctor who tries to solve the monster problem in the neighborhood, and ends up teaming up with Rocco to do so. I don’t know if he’s related to the Harry Potter author. Dr. Rowling is named Eldee in the Tagalog version.
Dr. Mengele (???) – The infamous Nazi scientist has been hiding out in the Philippines under the name Dr. Desares, and he’s somehow also Filipino now! OMG! He’s behind the rash of monsters thanks to the continued efforst of his experiments, and he’s also financing Robbie’s reign of terror.
Vulcan, Elder of the Immortals (Venchito Galvez) – Vulcan shows up to do his blind soothsayer act and bestow upon Rocco a bunch of magic armor and a quest.

Rocco Ang Batang Bato Boy God Stone Boy Filipino
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Alyas Batman en Robin (Review)

Alyas Batman en Robin

Directed by Tony Y. Reyes
Written by Joey de Leon and Tony Y. Reyes

Alyas Batman en Robin
The Philippines returns to prove nobody does Batman like they do! Batman continues to be a campy caped crusader, and all the familiar elements are here – the classic villains, evil doing, and saving the day. The stakes may be lower, but there is still wrongs to be righted. And Alyas Batman en Robin showed everymen becoming superheroes long before Mark Millar stole it for Kick-Ass. I’m on to you, Millar!
Alyas Batman en Robin
If you remember the overview of the Filipino Batman films I did at the beginning of the James Batman review, then you’ll remember Alyas Batman en Robin from 1993 is the most recent. So here it is! Part musical, part campy, part guys beating up people, and part a love story, Alyas Batman en Robin tries to be a lot of things. Let’s find out if it succeeds…
Alyas Batman en Robin
But first, the Roll Call!

Kuya (Joey de Leon) – Kuya is the closest I could figure for a name for his character, though that’s just the way they sound like they’re saying the word for big brother in Tagalog (which is Kuya) Kuya defends Kevin from his tormentors, but also doesn’t really want to get involved in crime fighting. Kevin forces his hand, so he reluctantly joins Kevin and becomes…
Batman (Joey de Leon) – Batman fights the villains and hits on the hot journalism chicks. Because that’s what Superma– I mean, Batman does! Joey de Leon started his career as a radio dj, which evolved to a comedy career with the trio Tito, Vic and Joey, getting parts in television and movies. By the 1980s, he was a solo star in comedies and headlining sitcoms. He continues to do host work on television, and has reignited his singing career in recent years.
Kevin (Keempee de Leon) – Kevin is the hottest guy at school that the girls all mob over, but he has his eyes on justice! Thus, he cons his older brother into joining him as dressing up as a superhero and fighting evil, becoming…
Robin (Keempee de Leon) – It’s good Kevin became Robin, because he was obsessed with him! Joseph Joakim “Keempee” de Leon is the son of Joey de Leon and was the one-time teen idol of the Philippines. He got into drugs and sought treatment in 1993 as this film was tearing up the Filipino box office. That’s also where he became very involved in missionary work. He returned to acting in 1994, and appears in movies and television. His haircut during the 1990s was called the Keempee and has become a sign of the era much as big feathered hair lets us Americans know it’s the 1980s.
Jocson (Rene Requiestas) – Jocson is Kevin’s bitter friend, who when he’s forced to join his Uncle Paeng’s gang, decides to be the best villain ever and becomes…..
Joker (Rene Requiestas) – Renato “Rene” Requiestas was a comedian noted for his emaciated look, specialized in sidekick roles. He was Cheetae in the three Starzan films, and was also in Sheman: Mistress of the Universe. He sadly died of tuberculosis shortly after this film was finished in 1993 at the age of 36.
Uncle Paeng (Panchito) – After recruiting his nephew into his criminal organization, Uncle Paeng then follows his nephew’s lead and becomes a super villain himself, the…
Paenguin (Panchito) – Paenguin is the pun name for Penguin, who dresses as Penguin and leads the gang on their various bank robbing activities. As there are practically no police in the city, this gang is free to run wild unless Batman and Robin stop them. Born Alfonso D. Tagle, Sr., Panchito was best friends with fellow comedian Dolphy, meeting him when they were both starting out their careers as traveling entertainers in the Japanese-occupied Philippines during World War 2. By the 1960s, they were constantly paired in a string of comedy films. Panchito suffered a stroke in 1995, and he passed on a month later.
Angelique Legarda (Dawn Zulueta) – Gotham Daily Star reporter who is assigned to the crime beat, gets involved in the Batman and Robin story, and even becomes Batman’s love interest.
Vina (Vina Morales) – Vina is a schoolgirl who crushes on Kevin, to the dismay of Jocson. At one point actress Vina Morales dated Keempee, it might have been during this movie being made.
Catwoman (Almira Muhlach) – The Catwoman leads an all-girl gang and is recruited by Paenguin and Joker to add some muscle to their group after all their crew quits due to low pay. She changes costumes often, but is captured by Batman halfway through the film and is never seen again. Almira Muhlach married basketball star Bong Alvarez and has had a rocky relationship due to his rage issues. Her half-brother is actor Aga Muhlach.

Alyas Batman en Robin
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James Batman (Review)

James Batman

Directed and screenplay by Artemio Marquez
Story by Pepito Vera Perez

James Batman
James Batman is both a comic parody and wonderful homage to both the 1960s Batman TV series and the James Bond films. Legendary Filipino comedian Dolphy plays both title characters, as they team up to take down the ultimate terrorist organization, who has set its sights on conquering the world (typical!) Because this film is somewhat rare, you’re gonna get a long infodump in the beginning, and a long review as well. And if you don’t like to read, there will be a bajillion pictures and even a movie clip!
James Batman
The Philippines have a long history of making Batman films that are completely unauthorized (along with a whole slew of other superheroes.) James Batman isn’t even the first Batman! 1965’s Alyas Batman at Robin has that distinction. It featured Bob Soler as Batman, Lou Salvador Jr. as Robin, and actress Nova Villa. James Batman was next in 1966. 1967 gave us Batman Fights Dracula in color, featuring Jing Abalos as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Ramon D’Salva, and Vivian Lorrain. (Batman seems to fight vampires a lot).
Alyas Batman at Robin

James Batman

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Batman Fights Dracula
There was a trilogy of Batwoman and Robin films that began in 1972 with Batwoman and Robin. They starred female action star Virginia (aka Virginia Gaerlan aka Virginia Aristorenas) from Revenge of Lady Fighter as Batwoman, her real life son Robin Aristorenas played Robin, and Jun Aristorenas/Junar (Virginia’s husband) produced and directed. Tony Cayado took over directing duties for the sequel Batwoman and Robin Meet the Queen of the Vampires, but by 1973’s Johnny Joker, Jun Aristorenas was directing again and even starred as Johnny Joker. Virginia and Robin were back as well, along with Merle Fernandez as Catwoman, Freddie Webb as Spider Web, and Palito as Lastikman.
Batwoman and Robin
Batwoman and Robin Queen of the Vampires
Johnny Joker

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UPDATE: 2 stills from Johnny Joker can be found here. Warning! The stills will make you more angry the film is lost!

Fight Batman Fight! is a 1973 joint starring Victor Wood as Batman, Lotis Key as Catwoman, Rod Navarro as Joker, Pinky Montilla as Bat Girl, and Roderick Paulate as Robin. It also has an awesome-looking cardboard box robot. The final Batman flick is 1991’s Alyas Batman en Robin, which you will find out more about soon. Sadly, of all these wonderful films, only James Batman and Alyas Batman en Robin still exist in a watchable form. It is possible that there are vhs tapes of these surviving somewhere, but the original prints are long gone and most of the masters were destroyed at some point during the various political uprisings along with countless other films.

Fight Batman Fight

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Fight Batman Fight

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Fight Batman Fight

there is no huge...

James Batman stars Dolphy, one of the most famous comedians from the Philippines ever. Born in 1928 as Rodolfo Vera Quizon, he began his career during the Japanese occupation at the age of 17 doing stage work. Two years later he made his film debut, playing mostly bit roles. After some exposure in radio, he began headlining films in 1952, and also began his long time partnership with fellow comedian Panchito (who would do his own Batman movie turn as Paenguin in Alyas Batman en Robin.) He has continued to work for decades, even gaining modern fame for his 2001 film Markova: Comfort Gay. Never married, Dolphy has 17 children from his five long term relationships, including several who have also entered show business. His spoof films covered almost every possible genre and most popular film series at the time. They include Tansan the Mighty (1962), Dolpinger (1965), Scarface at Al Capone: Espiya sa Ginto (1965), Alias Popeye (1966), Captain Barbell Boom! (1973), Da Best in da West (1984), and dozens more. Sadly, many of his films are considered lost, but thanks to sheer volume there are a lot still around.
James Batman
Batman and Robin are presented just as campy as the TV series lays them out to be. But the jokes have to go further for this film, so we get random sight gags such as a machine that delivers food in the Batcave obviously being a guy in a box thanks to the all-too-human hand that comes out of it (is that Alfred???) and let’s not forget the random scene where Robin shows off how if you put a light bulb in his mouth it glows. Yeah. Music guy Caroling Cruz is not afraid to just rip the Batman theme directly, further cementing this as a bizarre fever dream episode of the series.
James Batman
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Discount Puppet Explosion 411 – Episode 105 – Biokids

Discount Puppet Explosion 411 – Two teams battle by reviewing awful films for fabulous prizes or horrible non-prizes. In this episode, Team Jawesome reviews the Filipino film Biokids and gets caught up in its awfulness. Will this be enough for Team Jawesome to win this round of the Discount Puppet Explosion 411 competition?

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