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Silip: Daughters of Eve

Review by: 
Daughters of Eve
Release Date: 
Mondo Macabro
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Elwood Perez
Sarsi Emmanuelle
Maria Isabel Lopez
Myra Manibog
Bottom Line: 

Here is another Philippine sexploitation film from Mondo Macabro.  While it is true that I often select a film to review based on cover art this one was something of a perfect trap for poor impressionable Sinferno and one that he about did not survive.  First let’s talk of the bait. Look at the cover, two Asian women in peril hugging as if something we can’t see is somehow threatening them.  Don’t be afraid! I am sure that you two exotic dolls will figure out a way to persevere against whatever bad things as well as probably experience a new appreciation for each other, a form of sweet secret sisterhood that is never talked about on Oprah but one that Ellen would freely endorse and thankfully it’s not something I get tired of watching onscreen. Even the description on the box only further baited the trap, promising me that the film starred none other than Miss Philippines (Maria Isabel Lopez) in her most revealing role ever. Moreover, according to the box copy this was the story of “three women and their struggle to come to terms with their own sexuality against a background of religious repression and male brutality”. Excellent, I love stories of female perseverance that defy convention and MPAA ratings (it just makes me all warm inside.) The final barb on the hook was the promise that this film contains scenes of sex and violence that may disturb some viewers.  I laughed openly at this disclaimer, with the same exact false confidence that often leads to misfortune at least according to fortune cookies everywhere. If films from this sub-genre were potentially troubling to the male psyche, well then I assumed I personally was most likely already too disturbed to care, probably have been (truth be told) ever since any of you have ever read any of my reviews, considering my usual weekly film diet. Or so I thought…But first some talk about the film itself, before I tell you all why I would rather chew off my own finger than use it to press the button on my remote control that would play this film again, even though truth be told, it was not a “bad film”. More on this later…

When the film first starts we meet Tonya, a Beautiful Philippine woman who teaches Christian values to all the young, coming of age children.  Despite her considerable youth, physical assets and “Native Girl” outfit that showcases more than it hides she is often ever vigilant in teaching children that sexuality is something to be loathed and feared, even going so far to teach the young girls in her charge that the male penis is something akin to the devil’s horn as offering ultimate temptation and later damnation. Before this thing becomes a total Nunsplotation drag where normal sexual curiosity is meant with scathing physical punishment, something that happens that forces Tonya to confront her beliefs as well as her deepest, most heartfelt desires. A woman named Selma arrives in the village, another comely attractive island woman who is just now being allowed to return from the city after being exiled form many years after Tonya reported her having an affair with a man named Simon, a man she herself once loved, whose sole purpose in the world of Silip as the only adult male of in the entire village is to (apparently) have sex with every woman from ages 15 to 40 and to bring them chunks of bloody ox meat. Of course, this arrangement comes with no small share of drama or discontent as every woman in the island constantly vies for his affections and quarrels with one another.  

Of course, Selma is actually much freer and happier than Tonya, she not only bears no ill will whatsoever to her former friend for neither the scandal norr the resulting exile, she encourages her to be with Simon (as every women in the village apparently has done). Yet, Tonya remains true to her faith spending her entire day teaching the children about the nature of sin, joy and perdition even going so far to secretly grind salt into her loins whenever the temptations get to be too much for even her bizarre notions of chastity. While Tonya teaches and secretly regresses more and more something like an animal in heat, Selma spends her days lazing about, teaching the girls how to wear to wear makeup and eventually rekindling the affair with Simon, even at the expense of cheating on her boyfriend.  Of course both of these actions enrage an already obsessive and hypersensitive Tonya and she realizes that she too must have Simon all to herself, just as she has wanted during her entire, repressed existence.  It is during her awakening where she realizes the ultimate price of passion, the true nature of friendship and why her personal “Judgment Day”  would involve some strange rituals they never taught in church.

Sound bad? It most certainly isn’t. SILIP isn’t a terrible film at least not in the common critical sense; It just is absolutely one of the most needlessly brutal fucking movies I have ever seen at least according to my American cultural sensibility. From the first opening scene where a live ox is beaten to death by being struck repeatedly with a sledgehammer to the skull as of a group of small children look on, to all the peculiar scenes of sexualized minors all the way to the grisly murder sequence of an adult by a gang of knife wielding young children, this film is absolutely beyond my emotional capacity not to be troubled by. I concede that if I was twenty years younger and, still throwing “special” film parties with my film phreak friends of the day it would have been a different viewing experience as each and every one of us had seen way too many movies to be entertained by them honestly anymore. Back then we all gathered merely to see which one of us could come up with the sickest possible underground film that would make someone’s girlfriend throw up in the small hours of the morning, long after we had run out of alcohol. Back in those days this film would have been priceless to me, valued somewhere between my dog-eared VHS copies of FACES OF DEATH and GUNIEA PIG.  But as an adult who has seen way too much of this stuff and yet somehow still has functioning eyelid if not the maturity to close them now and then when a movie just gets too damned sick, let me say (at the risk of dating myself) that sometimes, less is more.   As a simple sexploitation film that includes both male and female nudity, actual sex (arguably) and likable characters caught in an actual plot all set in a beautiful tropical island locale, SILIP is a very decent film despite its indecency. Yet, in good conscience I have to take away one skull, because there are just too many vicious scenes which seemed to have no conceivable purpose other than to make sure I could never be aroused by it. Not that this is the most important thing in a cult film-anyone who reads my reviews knows I routinely review other movies than just erotic films, yet for a DVD with this cover art, box description and back cover blurb I have to give some respect to this film, not as an enjoyable media product per se but as a particularly deceitful enemy that enticed me into relaxing my gaze only so it could beat my brain so badly I suspected it somehow might have heard every negative review I have ever given to a sexploitation film and sought to punish me for it. Yet admittedly, this is probably the ultimate praise I could give to any film especially to an audience of twenty something film fans out there who are now currently assembling their own video shelf of lurid; controversial films that not so much encourage strong feelings from an audience of friends as to inflict them.  It is to those people who I must admit that this is the hardest cut of this film ever to appear and an easy 5 skulls, despite I personally found no real “enjoyment” of it. However, being the fact I am a purist when it comes to all matters of film and this is Horrorview I must respectfully commend its capacity to horrify…

Special Features Include a second disk full of special features Including interviews with the director, interviews with Maria Isabel Lopez (Tonya) and a brief history that details the unique circumstances of this film’s production and its importance to the genre. Also included is several trailers of future movies which are for lack, of a better word, terribly lurid. Look for them soon.

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