The Horror Queen is gone

Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - August 21, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A real professional actor.

With those four words, director Chito Roño paid tribute to Lilia Cuntapay, the undisputed Horror Queen who died 6 o’clock yesterday morning in the house of her only child Gilmore in Brgy. Tartarabang, Pinili, Ilocos Norte. She was 81.

“She can easily switch from horror to comedy,” continued Chito who directed Lilia in two movies, Spirit Warriors 2 and Sukob, both produced by Regal Films which launched Lilia’s career in the Yaya episode of the long-running franchise Shake, Rattle & Roll (III) in 1991 appearing in two more SRR movies in 1992 (IV) and 1994 (V), and cementing her reputation as The Horror Queen of Philippine Movies.

“In Spirit Warriors,” said Chito, “she played the grandmother of one character and Vhong Navarro’s character mistakes her for a ghost. Without qualms or ifs, she could go naked as lunatic spirit in Sukob. She will be missed. By the way, Lilia and I spoke in Waray. That’s how we would chat on the set.”

That is, even if, unlike Chito who is a native of Calbayog City, Eastern Samar, Lilia was born in Tuguegarao in 1935. All her life, even when she ventured into showbiz, she raised her son as a single parent.

Lilia held a B.S. Education degree and taught in the primary levels at a school in Tuguegarao. She quit and worked as an office staff at the National Police Commission.

As an actress, she was cast in mostly horror roles because she could transform her naturally lovable self on screen into a witch, a ghost and all other characters in horror books. In 2011, she won Best Actress in the Cinema One Originals Filmfest for playing herself in Six Degrees of Separation From Lilia Cuntapay which was directed by Antoinette Jadaone. Besides films, Lilia also did TV shows, the last was in the hit Coco Martin starrer ABS-CBN action series FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano as guest star.

Only recently, Lilia appealed for financial help from showbiz colleagues to cope with expenses as she was suffering from a spinal cord ailment. According to a report, early last year, Lilia was struck in the face by a mentally disturbed man during an event in the South. However, there was no known connection between the incident and her ailment.

The Horror Queen is dead. Long live the Queen! 

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