The Only 6 'Shake, Rattle & Roll' Movies You Need to See
There are 15 films in the Shake, Rattle & Roll franchise—and with three short episodes in each one, that's a total 45 stories to try to cram for the holidays. No one wants to do that: not because that's just too long a series of movies to marathon, but also because not everything is that entertaining.
Yes, out of the 15, only about six are really standouts and out of those six, only about 12 episodes are really worth watching. We weeded them out for you.
1| Shake, Rattle & Roll 2 (1990)
All three episodes were directed by Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes, which may have helped keep a consistent mood among them. The piece de resistance is "Aswang" where actress and SRR mainstay Manilyn Reynes finds herself in a town inhabited by aswangs after being invited by her friend, played by Ana Roces. The village is apparently celebrating a festival and a virgin must be sacrified. Guess who the lucky sacrificial lamb is supposed to be? There are themes of cannibalism, fantasy, and just pure thrill all throughout the short.
"Multo," which opens the film, isn't as iconic or memorable as the finale "Aswang," but it deserves recognition, too. The story is about a pair of newlyweds who wind up with a cursed wedding ring that belonged to a killer. The ring is haunted and turns the groom into an evil killing machine. This bloody episode is much more subtle when it comes to showing the supernatural; instead, it's a perfect throwback to the time when censorship and ratings weren't the top concern.
2| Shake, Rattle & Roll 1 (1984)
Not everyone remembers the first episode, "Baso," about a group of friends who messed around with the spirit of the glass game (hey, that doesn't sound familiar at all), but the latter two episodes have become such cinema icons. "Pridyidir," which was directed by Ishmael Bernal, is about a possessed refrigerator that entraps female victims. It sounds strange, but watching a young Janice de Belen act out a rape in front of a refrigerator is creepier than it sounds.
The third episode, "Manananggal" is a favorite among horror movie aficionados. Pre-politico Herbert Bautista expertly shifts from comedy to horror in this Peque Gallaga-directed segment. Tasked to kill a menacing manananggal in the area, he was able to separate the winged creature from its bottom half and bravely protected his family from the vengeful monster. Bautista's acting and Gallaga's haunting, eerie score will have you at the edge of your seat.
3| Shake, Rattle & Roll 12 (2010)
The first episode about a doll haunted by a dead mother (an obvious nod to Child's Play) is terrifying but only in the way possessed toys are always haunting. No, what you need to see here is the Jerrold Tarog finisher "Punerarya." Karla Abellana's character works as a tutor to the children of a widower funeral home owner. Depite the eeriness of the household (the children are afraid light and crave human body parts), she continues to work because she needed the money. You don't expect people who are hungry for entrails to keep a live woman around, but she eventually overcomes the widower and she takes his son with her as she escapes.
There's surprising depth in the story, such as the explanation for the family's cannibalism (they came from a tribe). But apart from giving them motive, there's also a great twist in the end.
4| Shake, Rattle & Roll 2K5 (2005)
The seventh installment of this film series starts out week with a comedy offering from Ai Ai Delas Alas, which falls flat in both comedy and horror. However, the finale "Lihim ng San Joaquin" more than makes up for it. Directed by Richard Somes, this is yet another interpretation of the local aswang, relating it more to vampires in the west. While the story feels a bit similar to Gallaga and Reyes' creation in Shake, Rattle & Roll 2, Somes's stylistic choices must be commended. He pays homage to famous vampire films like Dracula and Nosferatu to come up with his own version of the scary Philippine monster.
5| Shake, Rattle & Roll 3 (1991)
The queen of horror, Lilia Cuntapay, opens up the third installment with "Yaya" (not to be confused with the episode of the same title in SRR 8) in what is possibly her most iconic role. Hard to tell whether it's Cuntapay or the young Kris Aquino who has the most memorable role here, as the latter plays a mother who realizes that an evil spirit is trying to steal her child.
In terms of maternal love, however, no one can beat the mothering of Undin, who appears in the third episode, "Nanay." The sea creature seeks revenge when a curious student steals some of her eggs from the bottom of a lake. Using the pipes in the dormitory, Undin goes on a killing spree in search of her babies. At one point, Undin kills one of the characters by melting her—it's creepy, disgusting, and funny all at once. In the end, protagonist Maloy (Manilyn Reynes) gives her the solitary egg left and the monster happily returns to the lake and reunites with her mate. If you think about it, it's really a story about family.
6| Shake, Rattle & Roll 8 (2006)
Another fan favorite, SRR 8 offers a pretty solid trilogy: there's a party on a haunted 13th floor (why would you even want to go), a monstrous yaya, and a human-eating monster on a train. You can skip the first one and just watch the impressive interaction between the little boy (Nash Aguas) and his nanny (Iza Calzado) in the middle aswang thriller. We don't learn anything new in Topel Lee's "Yaya"; it uses the same tropes and even the same bawang remedies, but the young Star Circle Quest winner does a good job of making us care despite all of this.
You'll find a more complex story in the third episode, "LRT," where a group of late-night commuters suddenly start being killed off one by one. They discover that an evil eyeless monster lurks in one of the stations. Once the survivors escape, the quickly report the muderous events to the police—only to find out that the creature is the son of the chief and the train is purposely led to the secret station to feed him. The Mike Tuviera ender isn't bad at all, if only it didn't remind us so much of Clive Barker's Midnight Meat Train.