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PEPSI Paloma, Coca Nicolas and Sarsi Emmanuelle on the poster of Snake Sisters.


Celso Ad film set for DVD release in US

By Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:47:00 02/10/2008

Filed Under: Entertainment (general), Cinema

MANILA, Philippines - After Elwood Perez?s ?Silip,? the British firm Boum/Mondo Macabro is releasing Celso Ad Castillo?s ?Snake Sisters? on DVD in the United States, critic and distributor Pete Tombs related to Inquirer Entertainment in an e-mail interview.

?Snake Sisters? top-bills Sarsi Emmanuelle, Coca Nicolas and Pepsi Paloma as the scantily clad spawn of a mother reptile. It?s described in a website as a ?gothic tale of paradise lost.?

In an e-mail sent late last year, Tombs said that he hoped to release the 1984 erotic drama ?in the next few months.?

He related that recovering ?Snake Sisters? had entailed an arduous process.

?The negative had been badly damaged due to poor storage conditions,? he recounted. ?We spent a small fortune restoring it as well as we could, but it would never look pristine.?

Neglect of movies like ?Snake Sisters? is not uncommon, he pointed out. ?This is a sad fate that seems to have befallen far too many wonderful films in the Philippines.?

He recalled that he had first come across Castillo?s name ?in Phil Hardy?s monumental book ?The Aurum Encyclopedia of Horror? ? [sometime] in the 1980s.?

The book, ?the first to deal with horror movies outside of the mainstream,? included a short article on Castillo and the 1974 thriller ?Patayin Mo sa Sindak si Barbara.?

?I was intrigued,? he admitted. ?I was determined to track down any of his films I could find.?

Since then, he had become quite familiar with a number of Castillo?s works, including ?Nympha,? ?Burlesk Queen,? ?Virgin People,? ?Lihim ni Madonna? and ?Comfort Women.?

?His independent spirit and desire to experiment with form marks him as a true original,? Tombs said of Castillo. ?He is prepared to take risks and that?s essential when great cinema is the aim.?

As luck would have it, he met Castillo?s son Chris, who?s now a filmmaker based in Los Angeles.

?Chris introduced me to Celso who told me about ?Snake Sisters,? which I had heard of but never seen. He said that it had been banned in the Philippines for some years, but he had just retrieved the negative.?

Tombs described ?Snake? as ?amazing ? a wild and willful piece of cinema.?

He conceded that ?it may not be to everyone?s taste, but it?s undeniably the work of an original and visionary filmmaker.?

He asserted that his firm is releasing ?Snake? on DVD because ?there?s always a market for works of art that break down barriers ? It does what all great films should do: It takes [the viewer] on a journey to somewhere else. And that?s worth treasuring.?

He concluded: ?I think it?s time for a major retrospective of his works.?

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