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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Nov 11, 2023



                          DIRECTOR RONI SUPANGAN BENAID OF   'MARITA' 


‘MARITA’ is a Viva Films fright movie touted as the New Face of Horror. 

It is written and directed by Roni Benaid, who also did the hit “Mary Cherry Chua” that got extended in cinemas when it was released last July. 

Just like “Mary Cherry Chua”, “Marita” is also based on a true story circulated as an urban legend.

It’s about an actress in a university theatre group who felt bad when she was upstaged by new rivals and killed herself right in front of the shocked audience.

Direk Roni says this happened in the 70s but her ghost continues to haunt the campus. 

The movie stars Louise Delos Reyes as a teacher who tries to revive the theatre group, Rhen Escaño as Marita and playing the roles of the students haunted by Marita are newcomers Ashtine Olviga, Andrea Babierra, Yumi Garcia, Ethan David, Taneo Sebastian, Sara Joe, JD Axie, and Neil Tolentino. 

How is “Marita” different from “Mary Cherry Chua”?  

“Si Mary Cherry , she just wants justice as someone murdered her.

"Si Marita is more evil, more vicious in haunting students na wala namang kasalanan sa kanya kaya much more scary itong ‘Marita’ dahil nagsasabog talaga ng lagim yung multo rito who’s competently played by Rhen Escano.”

Most of the cast members are newcomers. How is it directing them? 

“As a creative supervisor for Viva, I’ve worked with most of them. Mga bata sila, some of them, first movie nila ito,

"but they are all very talented. Hindi naman ako nahirapang idirek sila as we had a workshop before the shoot where we told them our expectations sa kanila.

"They’re all willing to learn at ang maganda, since they play a barkada here, naging magkakabarkada talaga sila during the shoot. Maganda ang naging bonding nila sa set.”

How about the more senior members of the cast, Louise de los Reyes as the teacher and Rhen Escano as the ghost?  

“They’re very helpful sa mga baguhan. Inalalayan talaga nila. 

"Si Louise, napakagaling tumili. May scream siya na nakakapanindig-balahibo talaga and sabi ko nga, we record it para magamit as stock screaming kapag kailangan ng may sumisigaw sa eksena. 

"Si Rhen naman, very professional. Sa suicide scene niya, ako ang natakot kasi baka masaktan siya dahil magbibigti siya rito at nilagyan talaga namin ng lubid ang leeg niya.

"I keep on asking her kung kaya niya, oo raw, and she did it. Hindi siya naging happy sa take one, so humingi pa ng take two para mas convincing daw.”

He’s been directing nothing but horror flicks, starting with his first movie, “Poon”, a Cine Filipino filmfest entry in 2018. 

Isn’t he afraid he might be tagged a Horror King?  

“I don’t really mind. I’ve always been a fan of horror films. 

"I love watching scary movies like ‘The Conjuring’ and ‘Insidious’ series. Tinakot nila ako noon, kaya ngayon, ako naman ang mananakot.”

Their set seems to be a really old theatre. Do they have any spiritual rituals before the shoot to make sure bad spirits won’t bother them while they’re making the movie?

“We shot this at an old school theatre in Santa Catalina College at Legarda St. in Sampaloc. It’s a Catholic school that is really old as it was established in 1706 pa. 

"The theatre really looks haunted and some of the young cast members, may nakita raw talaga sila. What we do is we always pray before we start work to make sure that no evil spirits will be around.”

‘Marita’ will start scaring you on November 22 in cinemas nationwide!