Urban Anxieties in Davao Horror Short Films

Katrina Ross A. Tan, Laurence Marvin S. Castillo


The essay examines how horror shor t f ilms produced by independent filmmakers based in Davao City in southern Philippines function as imaginative mediations of urban anxieties in the region. Discussing f irst existing scholarship on Philippine horror cinema, the essay then maps the emergence of regional filmmaking in contemporary independent cinema before briefly touching on the ways Filipino mainstream and independent films construct urban spaces. As the analysis shows, the horror short films articulate people’s anxieties over socio-economic and political realities experienced in Davao, such as extrajudicial killings, enactment of a pioneering anti-discrimination ordinance, urban diaspora, and cosmopolitanism. In addition, they reveal people’s complex views and attitudes towards urbanization and modernity against the specter of rurality in Davao City. The paper argues that these films imagine, not just the uneasy position of a regional city in the national topography shaped by the socio-economic operations of globalization, but also the anxiety of a Third World formation hounded by the specter of uneven development.

Keywords: Regional cinema, horror films, short films, Davao City

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ISSN: 2012-0788