The movies that scare the wits out of Benjie & Empoy
Benjie Paras (left) and Empoy Marquez have good comedic chemistry.
The movies that scare the wits out of Benjie & Empoy
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - October 31, 2020 - 12:00am

The stars of TV5/Cignal TV’s Ghost Adventures 2 open up about other creepy things

What’s your favorite ghost/horror movie that caused you sleepless nights when you were young?

I can think of so many...such as the Dracula movies (with Christopher Lee), The Exorcist (with Linda Blair), The Innocents (with Deborah Kerr), the Kulay Dugo ang Gabi (with Amalia Fuentes, directed by Gerry de Leon), Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara (with Susan Roces, directed by Celso Ad. Castillo) and many more. But what stands out is (you guessed it, didn’t you?) Gabi ng Lagim which gave me nightmares back in Tabaco Pei Ching School in Tabaco, Albay, where my brothers and I studied high school. Us students from other places stayed at the dorm on campus and the night we saw the movie at the nearby Mayon Theater, all of us were tossing in bed, imagining Myrna Delgado as the vampire lurking in the dark with her fangs ready to pierce our necks.

Benjie Paras and Empoy Marquez are starring in Ghost Adventures 2 (GA2, directed by GB Sampedro), produced by Viva Television for TV5/Cignal TV, airing at 6 to 7 tonight (before The Masked Singer, another Viva TV production), so I asked them what their favorite ghost movie is.

In GA2, Benjie plays Ghost Whisperer Par Jack who opens a Day Scare Center that helps the departed soul cross over to the afterlife, and also to trace the lost soul of his wife, until he meets a girl (played by Kylie Verzosa) who resembles his dead wife. Empoy plays the lazy Grim Reaper Kasper who feels threatened by Par Jack and that’s when the adventure begins. The show is designed not so much to scare as to make you laugh. It has a poignant tone that reminds you of Demi Moore and the late Patrick Swayze in Ghost with the haunting Unchained Melody as background song.

“My favorite is The Eye (2002), a Hong Kong-Singapore movie that I saw 17 years ago,” said Benjie. “Because of that, I don’t want to ride an elevator alone.”

“Mine is The Conjuring,” said Empoy. “I don’t want to watch it again kasi ayaw maalis sa isipan ko at napapanaginipan ko so I would watch SpongeBob para mawala ‘yon.

They admitted having had a creepy encounter with a ghost in real life.

Kylie Verzosa as the girl who resembles the dead wife of Benjie's character.

Related Benjie, “A few years ago when we were taping in Baguio, may nakita akong babae na naka-dungaw sa balcony ng katabing house. I think she was angry because I was noisy so I asked her to join us. Then the caretaker of the house where we were taping asked me who I was talking to. He told me that the katabing house had been abandoned for years na pala. When I looked at the house again, the woman was gone. It was totally dark. With our group was a PA (production assistant) who had a third eye and she told me that the woman was still there, looking at me, galit na galit daw. So I kept quiet until we finished the taping.”

“Before I became an actor, I worked at a convenience store in Bulacan,” shared Empoy. “On Oct. 31, 2001, I checked in at 10 p.m., then at 2 a.m., I saw the ghost behind the slurpee. I was looking at it and it was also looking at me. I blinked and when I looked again, bigla siyang nawala.”

Both actors believe in the afterlife.

Benjie: “My mom just passed away. Before she did, she used to tell me her dreams about her own mom, my lola who died 10 years ago. In her dreams, my mom said the two of them were walking in a beautiful garden full of roses and even if they stepped on them, the roses didn’t break.”

Empoy: “Yes, I do. I always dream about my dead loved ones. They seem to be communicating with me. Yes, I believe that there is heaven and there is hell. According to Revelation 1:8: ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says The Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’”

Since they have worked together before, Benjie and Empoy were comfortable with each other during the locked-in shoot south of Manila.

“We have perfect chemistry,” assured Benjie. “Kabisado na namin ang isa’t-isa.”

“Huli na po ni Kuya Benjie kung paano ako tumirada. Maayos ang batuhan namin ng linya,” seconded Empoy. “Masaya kasi first time ko gumawa ng sitcom na matatakot ka sa katatawa. Since we shot under the new-normal system, I call Ghost Adventures a pandemic sitcom. Kuya Benjie and I have worked in a sitcom for QTV11. I have also worked with Andrew Muhlach in the ABS-CBN sitcom Super Inggo; bata pa siya noon.”

(Also in the cast are Pio Balbuena and Billy Villeta as Par Jack’s sidekicks; and Madz Red as Kasper’s trainees with Andrew.)

If they were ghosts, would they be “good” like Benjie’s character or “bad” like Empoy’s character?

Benjie: “I would be a good ghost, unless I die a violent death which would not allow me to rest in peace. Let this serve as a warning to those who have ill intentions towards me, hahaha!!!

Empoy:Siempre, I would be a good ghost.”

Anyway, have they ever “ghosted” any girl? (The term “ghosting” became popular when Bea Alonzo and Gerald Anderson broke up, meaning a partner simply walks away without any by your leave, walang ni ha ni ho.)

Empoy: “Opo, Sa panaginip, mayroon po akong na-ghosting.”

Benjie: “Baliktad yata ang tanong, hahahaha!” (You should know what Benjie meant.)

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

BENJIE PARAS EMPOY
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