'Mallari' creators hope to match, surpass 'Feng Shui' success

Jan Milo Severo - Philstar.com
'Mallari' creators hope to match, surpass 'Feng Shui' success
Piolo Pascual, Janella Salvador and director Derick Cabrido
Philstar.com / Jan Milo Severo

MANILA, Philippines — "Mallari" director Derick Cabrido and writer Enrico Santos hope that their Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry will match or even surpass the success of the Kris Aquino classic horror film "Feng Shui."

In the grand media conference last Friday, Santos said that "Feng Shui" is an iconic horror film and they will be honored if "Mallari" will replicate its success. 

“Sana nga mapantayan lang. But I would love to say na I hope the legendary 'Feng Shui,' makahabol man lang kami," Santos said.

“Dahil wala naman pong tatalo du’n, iconic na iconic 'yun. Makalapit lang kami du’n, honored na honored na kami,” he added. 

WATCH: Piolo Pascual plays 1st known Filipino serial killer in 'Mallari'

Cabrido, meanwhile, said that only time can tell if their movie will surpass the Chito Roño masterpiece. 

“Kung mapantayan o malagpasan, well, hinihiling namin na sana, tumatak 'yung 'Mallari,'" he said. 

“Kung mapantayan siya o malagpasan siya, only history can tell. Hindi ko po masabi. It really depends. Only time can tell. Pero ano po, hopefully, sana po,” he added. 

Piolo said that he first refused to play the lead character in the movie based on Fr. Juan Severino Mallari, said to be the Philippines' first and only recorded serial killer.

"When I got a phone call on a pitch [for] three characters, I didn't know if it was real. It said tatlong character, horror tapos 'Mallari' 'yung title, serial killer siya, 'yun lang sinabi sa akin. Sabi ko, 'No.' I was doing a film back then and I still had a tour. So there was no way I could squeeze it in my busy schedule," Piolo recalled.  

But on the same day that he rejected the project, Piolo said that he and fellow actors, Joao Constancia and Kyle Echarri, were discussing American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and wondered if there was a Filipino serial killer. 

"Nasa set kami and then we were talking about serial killers. Then I said, 'Do we actually have a serial killer in the Philippines?' So we Googled it," Piolo shared. "Joao Googled it and said there was a Severino Mallari. That was the same day. I stood up, 'Oh, shoot, it's a real guy. It's a real person.' It gave me goosebumps. Sabi ko, 'Lord sign ba 'to?'"

Piolo then called up his manager to set a meeting with the producers.

"Mallari" is a partly true-to-life account of a parish priest in the 1800s who killed 57 people before being arrested, the murders antedating those by Jack The Ripper by over 60 years.

The film also stars JC Santos, Janella Salvador, Elisse Joson and Gloria Diaz, with the special participation of Mylene Dizon. — Video from Mentorque Productions YouTube channel

RELATED: 'It gave me goosebumps': Piolo Pascual initially declined doing 'Mallari'

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