MMFF Horror ‘KAMPON’ Designed for Derek Ramsay

In Kampon, Derek Ramsay’s character Clark cannot conceive a child with wife Eileen, played by Beauty Gonzalez (who starred in the recent Sundance horror In My Mother’s Skin).

 They’ve been trying for eight years already but it seems like a hopeless case, until one stormy night, a little girl (newcomer Erin Espiritu) shows up on the couple’s doorstep claiming to be Clark’s daughter. Thus, the horror begins.

The supernatural horror Kampon is Quantum Films’ entry to this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival. At a recent press conference held 11 December, it was revealed that the movie was written with two-time MMFF Best Actor winner Ramsay in mind, who has just returned to showbiz after a long hiatus.

“It was really intended for [Derek],” said Quantum Films producer Atty. Joji Alonso. “Itong Clark character na ito, fit talaga kay Derek — physically, and even emotionally, psychologically, swak na swak sa character ni Clark (It fits the character of Clark). So, it would be so difficult for another actor to step into the shoes of the Clark character.”

Perhaps it helped that the 47-year-old Ramsay could sort of relate to the anxieties of his character Clark about conceiving a child.

“To be honest, kasi medyo tumatanda na rin tayo, so akala ko baog din ako (because we’re getting older, I thought I might be infertile too),” shared Ramsay. “Pero nung nasa Spain kami, nalaman namin na preggy si Ellen (wife) (But when we were in Spain, we found out that Ellen is pregnant). And then, unfortunately, we lost the baby. Pero at least alam namin na hindi kami baog (but at least we know that we are not infertile). First attempt pa lang naman.”

Meanwhile, the film’s director, King Palisoc, professed admiration for Ramsay’s performance in the film.

“It took almost five years to make [the movie] happen. When it finally happened, I was so relieved and so grateful that whatever we had in mind sa script, nakuha ni Derek…Ang galing ng ginawa niya dito sa pelikula nito (he did a great job in this movie), so I was very surprised.”

This is Palisoc’s first “true horror,” having previously worked in advertising, music videos, and the 2015 action-crime drama Tandem (JM De Guzman, Nico Antonio).

He conceptualized the story years ago, with horror filmmaker Dodo Dayao (Midnight in a Perfect World, Violator) serving as screenwriter.

“As a whole, challenging talaga gumawa ng horror kasi, well, personally, hindi ako masyadong matatakutin (I am not easily frightened),” shared Palisoc exclusively to DAILY TRIBUNE. “Parang mahirap for me mai-imagine kung ano ba talaga ang nakakatakot for a lot of people (It’s kind of difficult for me to imagine what is really frightening for a lot of people). But I think ‘yung naging process ko ng pagbuo ng kuwento is really more on finding kung ano ba ‘yung nakakatakot para sa akin, secondly, kung ano ‘yung nakakatakot para doon sa Clark character (But I think my process of crafting the story is really more about figuring out what is scary for me, secondly, what is frightening for the Clark character).

“So nung binubuo namin ‘yung story (while we were creating the story), as Atty. Joji have said, we already had Derek in mind for the character. Nilagay ko sarili ko sa shoes ni Derek — ano ba ‘yung nakakatakot for Derek (I put myself in Derek’s shoes — what is scary for Derek)?”

He said he really wanted a horror film that features a child.

“I was inspired by The Omen, Orphan, Case 39Gusto ko mag-explore ng horror na may bata na may dadalhing kababalaghan sa bahay (I want to explore horror with a child bringing supernatural events into the house).”

Meanwhile, Alonso further described how their horror entry to the biggest local movie fest in the country — which also stars Nico Antonio and social media personality Zeinab Harake — is different.

“I take pride that this horror film has a heart. As what Quantum always wants to achieve, gusto namin lahat na ang pelikulang ginagawa namin ay may puso. Doon ako nananalig sa strength ng pelikulang ito (we all want the film we’re making to have heart. That’s where I believe in the strength of this film),” she said.

At the press conference, Ramsay announced that once he and wife Ellen finally have a baby — and they will try again — he will take a break from showbiz. Kampon may be his last movie and television project, given that he and Ellen are adamant in building a family soon.

Kapag nangyari ‘yun (having a baby), medyo malabo na tatatangap pa ako ng projects, kasi really hands-on ako mag-alaga…Gusto ko, ako talaga ang mag-aalaga sa kaniya (If that happens (having a baby), it’s a bit unlikely that I’ll still accept projects, because I’m really hands-on in taking care… I want to be the one to take care of him/her),” he said with resolution.

Kampon, and the nine other competing Metro Manila Film Festival feature film entries, will premiere 25 December in cinemas.