“haaahhhh…haaahhhh….di ko sinasadya!…di ko sinasadya!” – Pina
Basic Information: Directed: Maryo J. De los Reyes; Story: Via Hoffman; Screenplay: Jake Tordesillas; Cast: Vilma Santos, Michael De Mesa, Miguel Rodriguez, Francis Arnaiz, Richard Gomez, Mark Joseph, Lito Pimentel, Joey Hipolito, Joey Marquez, Tony Santos Sr., Caridad Sanchez, Lucita Soriano, Dante Castro, Bing Davao, Alicia Alonzo, Mia Gutierrez, Raquel Villavicencio; Executive producer: Via Hoffman; Original Music: Jaime Fabregas; Cinematography: Ely Cruz; Film Editing: Jess Navarro; Production Design: Cesar Hernando, Lea Locsin; Sound: Joe Climaco, Jun Martinez
Plot Description: A young Pina was traumatized when her family was murdered while she had her first menstruation. She grown up into a serial killer transforming herself to different personalities as she seduced one man at a time grossly killing them while in the act of sexual pleasure. Eventually Pina was caught by the authorities. Considered by some critics as a feminist movie, Tagos ng Dugo has the feeling of claustrophobic but stylized European slasher movie that showcased the wide acting range of Philippines’ cinematic diva, Vilma Santos. The film lacks the usual long dialogue of her previous films but in this film, she was given a chance to show her body movements and “eye” acting that climaxed with tour de force ending, a mad lion being caught by armed hunters. – RV
Film Achievement: 1987 FAMAS Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 1987 CMMA Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 1987 FAP Best Musical Score – Jaime Fabregas; 1987 FAP Best Actress nomination – Vilma Santos
Film Review: “…In Filipino movies, drama is synonymous with exaggeration. In many films, scenes of cruelty, violence and torrid sex are depicted with little restraint so that they border on distasteful. In Tagos ng Dugo (1987), a young girl is raped after her parents are mudered. While she’s being abused, blood from her murdered mother’s body drips through the ceiling and falls on her forehead. In Kapag Napagod and Puso (1988), a harassed movie director (Christopher de Leon) takes out his frustration on his young wife (Snooky Serna) by smashing her face, pounding her head on the wall and punching her pregnant body black and blue. Once it was sufficient to depict adult activities by implication. To speak of sex on screen, it was enough to show a couple closing a door as they entered a room. A passionate embrace or a kiss is always followed by a quick fade to black. But nowadays, with sexual liberation and the heightened sense of realism demanded by viewers, Filipino movies have become more graphic in their treatment of sexual matters. There is now a greater curiousity for the phenomenon of the woman’s body. It is a must to depict menstruation (Tagos ng Dugo), labor pains (Kapag Napagod ang Puso) and a miscarriage (Burlesque Queen, 1977) by showing blood stains on the garment near the area of the vagina and blood trickling down a woman’s leg. The first signs of pregnancy are always dramtized by showing a woman throwing up in asink (Pasan Ko ang Daigdig, 1987). Abortion scenes have a very clinical look: a woman must be shown lying down with her legs in stirrups as a doctor or quack performs the bloody operation. Since abortion is illegal in the Philippines, it is common to depict abortion scenes ending in tragedy. In Celso Ad. Castillo’s Nympha (1971), a woman is left to die naked, wallowing in her own blood on the floor after doctors fail to stop her bleeding following an abortion. Childbirth scenes are just as graphic. In Nunal sa Tubig (1977), a baby’s head is shown emerging from a vagina…” – Emmanuel Anastacio Reyes, Notes on Philippine Cinema (Collected Writings on Cinema)…” – Emmanuel Anastacio Reyes, Notes on Philippine Cinema Collected Writings on Cinema (READ MORE)
First of all, serial murder is almost alien to Philippine crime journalism, a fact that’s due certainly to our police force’s lack of records on such cases. Now, this police record gap may of course in turn reflect a lack of local police coordination towards (or, worse, capability for) determining crime patterns as possibly serial. Unless those determinations have to do with the usual cop-out that goes like this: “it’s another NPA hit” blah blah blah, or “its another murder similar to the one that happened last week, and this is reflective of pornograhy’s…”. My above statements are meant to illustrate a national wont to demean our own police organization’s capability (or, worse, intelligence) that may neither be fair nor productive, but it would be a habit that certainly is not undeserved given the record — official and memorial — of the police prioritizing its own people’s interests and “rackets”.
Given this background, therefore, Tagos ng Dugo can be said to be a demonstration of serial crimes’ possible placement in local shores, and that would certainly be a valid view. Except, of course, that in effect Tagos is also — and probably should be read primarily as — a demonstration of possiblities other than the merely forensic. I say “should be”, since the police is portrayed fairly in the film, albeit not exactly generously. So what could be all the fuss about Tagos’ value? “Production values” is the often-heard reason, needing elucidation. A breakthrough for Philippine psychological movies? Probably. Let me explore a few other angles on this seeming cross between Francois Truffaut’s “The Bride Wore Black” and Luis Benuel’s “Belle Du Joir” — I don’t know if screenwriter Jake Tordesillas or Delos Reyes himself should be congratulated for the cohesion of multi-resultants in this work. Part of this multi-readings would be the movie as a feminist take on womankind’s monthly pains as a form of excuse for female monthly insanities, insanities our macho’s regard as regular terrorism on the whole of mankind (men or society as a whole).
It is with that reading that the ending apologies, by Vilma Santos in the lead role, might be understood as a plea for understanding of how all of woman’s monthly Eve-behavior should not be seen as a Biblical sin but as an equal (to, say, man’s beastly) naturalness… Another feminist reading, more radical perhaps, would treat the film as a view of how Philippine society (the men in it, primarily) approaches provincial innocence, educational weakness, and “female’s weaker sanity” as stimuli for abuse… There is, however, the possibly more general reading of the film as an apologia for insanity qua itself, how it should be treated as a disease instead of as a monster to be eliminated… And finally, there’s the possiblity that the film is actually a depiction of how crazy the world outside the insane mind really is, albeit this view would probably be the least successful direction for the film… As a bonus, maybe we can also bring the movie to more latent, more philosophical territory, say, how it depicts the sanity of innocence.
But, given the validity and possible weight of all those approaches, what finally makes this movie a jewel in Philippine cinema history is how it brings forth — every time you watch it — its case achievements in directorial and film editing dramaturgy ( including the recurring stage-like choreography, Hitchcockish camera positionings, and acting pacing within). For the serious student of third world filmmaking, here is a requisite Philippine movie from where to cull precious fragments. In these fragments, he/she is sure to find sparkles that are in themselves gems. – Eric Nadurata
The story revolves around Pina, a woman haunted by her past traumatic experiences. She always feels afraid at the sight of blood. Whenever she is physically or emotionally injured, she experiences the so-called “post-traumatic syndrome,” which persuades her to kill every man who has hurt her. She disguises herself as a prostitute with different personalities, and becomes a mysterious murderer.
The Review – The future National Artist for Film and recent U.P. Gawad Plaridel and Gawad Suri awardee Vilma Santos has done a gamut of roles. She is the only Filipina actress on record who has the most impressive resume of great performances (and is credible in any role, including Darna, the Pinoy female version of Superman), and has amassed 50 plus acting trophies. The Variety magazine and the world film community has dubbed her the Filipino Cinematic Diva and the Meryl Streep of the Philippines. If her luck continues, she may end up in Guinness’ Almanac as an actor with the most number of acting awards. One of my favorite Vilma characters is that of Pina, a serial killer, in Tagos ng Dugo. Directed by Mario J. Delos Reyes, it won four best actress awards for Vilma: her second CMMA, fourth FAMAS, and two from magazine polls. When it comes to edgy, neurotic, complex roles, leave it to Versatile Vilma, the Meryl Streep-like cerebral and intuitive actress who was born to play them. Vilma’s foray into the “luka-luka” genre began in Dama De Noche where she plays twin sisters, one of which is, you bet, neurotic.
Bernal’s classic Ikaw Ay Akin is best remembered for the manic-depressive, chain-smoking, Valium-popping, liberated, free-spirit Sandra (Vilma). Says critic Mario Bautista in his review: As the uptight Sandra, Vilma Santos has the script’s choicest, wittiest lines. She makes the most of them and gives a fairly accurate portrait of an emotionally insecure young woman. She likewise handles her final breakdown exceedingly well. There is a common thread in classic films like Broken Marriage, Relasyon, Tagos ng Dugo, Bata, Bata, Dolzura Cortez and Hahamakin Lahat. Outstandingfilms, thanks to Vilma’s perfect portrayal of women on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It is no wonder that the late National Artist Lino Brocka quoted: “Vilma can do any role now. She registers like water, she has overtaken Nora Aunor.” The U.P. MassCom jurors concurred with Brocka and gave Vilma that seal of approval by giving her the National Artist award precursor, the prestigious U.P. Gawad Plaridel for excellence in film acting. And oh yes, let us not forget the Gawad Suri Award. In layman’s terms, she is the best in the business, period!
Back to Tagos ng Dugo. At best, it is Vilma’s most emotionally and physically, albeit, draining role. Maryo J. made Vilma succeed to say more with less as we will find out. In the opening scene, Pina’s medical history is revealed: schizophrenia, painful menstruation, manic-depressive. Then we see the pubescent Pina screaming and writhing in pain on her first menstruation, calls out to her mother: “Inay!” The luminous Alicia Alonzo plays her mother and tells her “dalaga ka na!” Menarche and puberty did not sit well with Pina. While menstruating, she discovers of her father’s affair with a circus girl who her father accidentally kills in the “knife roulette” show, as the victim’s blood spills on her face. The girl’s family gets even, kills her whole family one night, while she gets raped. Tagos ng Dugo. Here’s the message: hell hath no fury than a woman violated while having painful menstruation. She has bridges to burn and many losses in her life. She has become a lost and tormented soul. A victim. A monster is born. Oscar best actress Charleze Theron may have taken an inspiration from Vilma’s Pina. Flash forward: Orphan and just released from a mental institution, the grownup Pina is seen staying with her aunt Caridad Sanchez and her husband, a police officer, Tony Santos, Sr. This is where Pina’s “calvary” as victim (again) begins. So many men, so many abusers, or so we thought. Enter Michael De Mesa, Santos, Sr.’s nephew who has lust at first sight on Pina. “Malagu, ’ne?” (She’s beautiful), De Mesa gushes on the coy and evasive Pina. In Kapampangan, Tony tells De Mesa that she was just released from the mental hospital. Michael attempts to enter Pina’s room one night but is unsuccessful.
Next to Dekada ’70 perhaps, this is one movie where Vilma succeeded in quiet scenes, by just using her eyes. Whether she writhes quietly in pain during her period or is scared of the inevitable such as Michael’s evil intent, this is the vintage Vilma now. Less is more. The triumph of restraint and hard work. Versatile, Inc. She meets the nice and good-looking cop (Francis Arnaiz) in the police station where she works as a sloppy, unfocused canteen helper who gets easily rattled by men around her, earning the ire of her boss Lucita Soriano. “Ano ba Pina, ang tanga-tanga mo. Ang dami mo nang nabasag na baso, hah?” Arnaiz is different: caring, sensitive, a gentleman. She is Pina’s crush and hero. She steals her crush’s photo ID and in her secret hideaway, kisses the photo, followed by a nervous, hysterical laugher, reminiscent of her confrontation scene with Gloria Romero in Kapag Langit ang Humatol? Enter a notorious rapist who is now in jail who held Vilma by the neck and mashes her breasts. Vilma becomes hysterical and cries unconsolably even after Arnaiz and the cops come to her rescue. This scene is again Vintage Vilma. When the rapist is released from prison, he chooses Vilma as his first victim and in the rape attempt, Arnaiz shoots him dead. Again, blood droops on Pina’s face. Tagos ng Dugo. Next thing we know, De Mesa almost succeeds in raping her but falls off the window when Vilma fights back. She uses Michael’s knife to scare him off. Now wiser, stronger, sophisticated and smarter, Pina finds solace and a sanctuary in an abandoned house across from where she lives. She learns how to apply mascara and wig. A serial killer is born.
This is where she plans her revenge. So many men, so little time. It’s payback time. In the wise use of flashbacks, we learn that Pina is violated again and again by the very people who should be helping her cope with her unstable mental status, one of which is the evil warden Lito Pimentel. She falls in love with her therapist who politely turns her down. It is a series of painful abuse and rejection for the sad, sad life of Pina. We also learn that she has a brother/sailor who sends her monthly stipend which she never benefits from and in his last visit, Pina begs him to stay with him. In multiple flashbacks, we see a helpless victim, Pina crying out for love and acceptance. Nobody seems to listen. A dysfunctional family. Abused physically and emotionally. Neglected. Rejected. Unwanted. Tormented. Untreated chemical imbalance. A perfect scenario for the birth of a schizophrenic, manic-depressive serial killer. Disguised as a prostitute, she kills her tormentors one by one with a knife she steals from De Mesa, with the exception of a druggie, the excellent Richard Gomez in cameo role. Here is a performance that is Vilma Santos’ gift to the world, right there in the dark theatre and on the silver screen.
Are killers made or born? Is society or family to blame for sociopaths? Are menarche and the drive to kill symbiotic? In a touching scene where she literally shreds Arnaiz’s stolen photo with her teeth (Arnaiz reconciles with and will marry her fiancée) out of jealousy, and rejection, Pina plans to make it out with Arnaiz in a hotel where the cops hang out to have a good time and where Arnaiz will screw a prosti as the boys’ “gift” to him. Vilma is that prosti. When Aranaiz discovers it is the demented Pina, he takes pity on her and prepares to put on his clothes. What, rejected again? Pina pleads Arnaiz to love her, hug her, kiss her. She will take no for an answer. Like a raving lunatic, she strikes Arnaiz with the knife. Meanwhile, little did Pina know that Caridad and Santos, Jr. discovers her dark secret and desperately calls the boys to watch out for Pina, the deranged murderer who might be stalking on Arnaiz. Sanches and Santos, Jr. either fumbles with the phone number or gets a busy signal. Wala pa kasing cell phone noon, eh! Next thing we know, the cops run to save Arnaiz from Pina. The hunter is now the hunted. What they discover in the room is a wounded but still alive Arnaiz who cries: “Huwag!” as his colleagues aim their guns at the crazed woman with thick mascara and wig. In a memorable and touching scene, the camera pans on a screaming, out of control, bloodied, lost her sanity Pina, angry one moment, repentant (“di ko sinasadya!”) the next, and then mumbles incoherently. Prison bars are etched across her whole body, and the movie ends.
Pina is Vilma and Vilma is Pina. This is their story. This is their movie. This is acting at its best. Thank God, Mayor Vilma Santos has come to the rescue of the Pina’s in this world. Unlike the super heroine and fictitious Darna who kicks butt as she battles with the forces of darkness and defend the people, here is Vilma, the philanthropist and the Mother Theresa of her generation, in the flesh, reaching out to the poorest of the poor of her Lipa constituents. Through her loving heart and helping hands, she has actually helped thousands of society’s outcasts, the poor and the needy. This is the Vilma Santos today: successful, revered, in demand, a winner in all fronts. A National Treasure! Who would have thought that the second fiddle to another actress will become the greatest film practitioner of all time and a capable Mayor? A great actress and an excellent Mayor. Nobody does it better. – “Tagos Ng Dugo: The original Naglalayag Revisited” by Mar Garces, published in V Magazine 2006
First of all, serial murder is almost alien to Philippine crime journalism, a fact that’s due certainly to our police force’s lack of records on such cases. Now, this police-records gap may of course in turn reflect a lack of local police coordination towards (or, worse, capability for) determining crime patterns as possibly serial. Unless those determinations have to do with the usual cop-out that goes like this: “it’s another NPA hit” blah blah blah, or “it’s another murder similar to the one that happened last week, and this is reflective of pornography’s . . .”. My above statements are meant to illustrate a national wont to demean our own police organization’s capability (or, worse, intelligence) that may neither be fair nor productive, but it would be a habit that certainly is not undeserved given the record — official and memorial — of the police’s prioritizing its own people’s interests and “rackets.” Given this background, therefore, Tagos Ng Dugo can be said to be a demonstration of serial crimes’ possible placement in local shores, and that would certainly be a valid view. Except, of course, that in effect Tagos is also — and probably should be read primarily as — a demonstration of possibilities other than the merely forensic. I say “should be,” since the police is portrayed fairly in the film, albeit not exactly generously. So what could be all the fuss about Tagos’ value? “Production values” is the often-heard reason, needing elucidation.
A breakthrough for Philippine psychological movies? Probably. Let me explore a few other angles on this seeming cross between Francois Truffaut’s The Bride Wore Black and Luis Buñuel’s Belle du Jour — I don’t know if screenwriter Jake Tordesillas or De los Reyes himself should be congratulated for the cohesion of multi-resultants in this work. Part of this multi-readings would be the movie as a feminist take on womankind’s monthly pains as a form of excuse for female monthly insanities, insanities our machos regard as regular terrorism on the whole of mankind (men or society as a whole). It is with that reading that the ending apologies, by Vilma Santos in the lead role, might be understood as a plea for understanding of how all of woman’s monthly Eve-behavior should not be seen as a Biblical sin but as an equal (to, say, men’s beastly) naturalness. . . . Another feminist reading, more radical perhaps, would treat the film as a view of how Philippine society (the men in it, primarily) approaches provincial innocence, educational weakness, and “females’ weaker sanity” as stimuli for abuse. . . . There is, however, the possibly more general reading of the film as an apologia for insanity qua itself, how it should be treated as a disease instead of as a monster to be eliminated.
And finally, there’s the possibility that the film is actually a depiction of how crazy the world outside the insane mind really is, albeit this view would probably be the least successful direction for the film. . . . As a bonus, maybe we can also bring the movie to more latent, more philosophical territory, say, how it depicts the sanity of innocence. But, given the validity and possible weight of all those approaches, what finally makes this movie a jewel in Philippine cinema history is how it brings forth — every time you watch it — its case achievements in directorial and film editing dramaturgy (including the recurring stage-like choreography, Hitchcockish camera positionings, and acting pacing within). For the serious student of third-world filmmaking, here is a requisite Philippine movie from where to cull precious fragments. In these fragments, he/she is sure to find sparkles that are in themselves gems. – “Tagos Ng Dugo (1987): Maryo J. de los Reyes’ Jewel” by Vicente-Ignacio S. de Veyra III Geocities web-site (VISV III, July 2002 – April 2004)
“…Sa anggulong ito halos umikot ang kabuuan ng pelikula. Masasabing naging matapang ang mga bumuo ng pelikulang Tagos Ng Dugo dahil sa tahasan nitong tinalakay ang sekswalidad ng mga pangunahing tauhan. Mapapansing pinagtuunan ng pansin ang kabuuan ng karakter ni Pina na buong husay ginampanan ni Vilma Santos. Ang aktres ay halos nasa lahat ng eksena sa pelikula. Maituturing na hysterical ang pag-arte ni Bb. Santos ngunit sa pelikulang ito ay malaki ang naitulong nito upang maipahatid niya ang nararapat na emosyon sa epektibong paraan. Malaki ang naitulong ni Direktor Maryo J. de los Reyes sa pagsasalarawan ng kuwento ni Pina. Nailahad niya ng maayos ang mga problemang sikolohikal hindi lamang ni Pina kundi ng buong lipunan. Makikitang binigyang diin ang posibleng solusyon sa mga suliraning ipinamalas sa pelikula. Maaring may ilang pagkukulang ang pelikula sa naging takbo ng istorya ngunit naisalba ito ng mahusay na pagdidirehe ni de los Reyes. Sa anggulong ito naging malaking bahagi sa tagumpay ng Tagos Ng Dugo ang direktor dahil sa tuwiran niyang naipahayag ang patotoo sa mga isyung tinalakay sa buong pelikula. Dito rin natamo ni Vilma ang kanyang ikaapat na FAMAS Best Actress Award bago siya tuluyang naluklok sa Hall Of Fame nang sumunod na taon.” – Jojo Devera, saringsinengpinoy.blogspot.com READ MORE
“…And what do we make out of Maryo de los Reyes’ Tagos ng Dugo, with its grossly improbable tale of multiple schizophrenia and made all the worse by the director’s penchant for pseudo-character changes? Personally, i would rate Vilma Santos here as having been last year’s most colorul character instead of a consumate performer….” – Justino Dormiendo, Manila Standard, Feb 23, 1988 (READ MORE)
“…She has lost some pounds (due to the gruelling shooting of her recent film, Tagos ng Dugo, but she is still the same radiant beauty…Santos is likewise bugged by the observation (presumably by some Nora Aunor supporters) that her performance in Tagos ng Dugo, wherein she portrayed a psychopath, was “Norang-Nora.” She could not divine how the comment was made in the first place. Was it becauise, in the film, she was handled by Maryo de los Reyes who is known to be a close friend and one of the favorite directors of Nora Aunor? Or, was it because her role in Tagos called for a lot of the so called Nora-style acting -expressive eye movements, prolonged byt quiet crying binges? Is she, in the eyes of some Aunor loyalist, as good as actress now as their idol? “Wala akong ginagaya,” defended the actress. “That was Pina, the role, I was acting out. I did not think of Guy or anybody else when I was doing the film. “But you know, that (comment) is good,” she said as an after thought. “Kinukumpara pa rin kami hanggang ngayon. That means kami pa rin – the rivalry is still strong.” On the other hand, one is hard put to imagine Aunor attempting Santos’ “patented” acting style (the ease and confidence in delivering kilometric line, among others). If and when she does in any of her future films, I told the actress, we would also say “Vilmang-Vilma” siya! She burst out laughing…” – Mario V. Dumaual Manila Standard, Feb 19, 1987 (READ MORE)
“…At first, policemen manning the station likened Pina’s arrival in their canteen as a breath of fresh air in the dirty world they work in. Although she is not entirely all right up there she is pretty and quiet. An industrious helper she only absents herself once a month because of extreme dysmennorhea. Then men started getting killed within the vicinity of the police station. A vacationing overseas worker a prisoner on bail a handsome playboy a drug crazed youth… Is it only a coincidence that the murders seem to happen exactly on the days Pina is experiencing her very painful monthly period?…” – Mav Shack (READ MORE)
“…I had actually intended to evaluate the industry’s artistic accomplishments from January to June this year, but the consideration of causes simply overwhelmed the original subject. Anyway, in providing a listing of the more acceptable items, it would serve our purposes well to keep in mind that these titles were originally greeted with expressions of disappointment and frustration, with only passing acknowledgement of their respective merits – to which I now most carefully give mention…Tagos ng Dugo (Maryo J. de los Reyes, dir.): kinkiness rounded out with psychological backgrounding and propelled forward with a sense of conviction and sympathy for the plight of the subject…” – Joel David, National Midweek, 26 August 26, 1987 (READ MORE)
- IMDB: Tagos ng dugo (1987)
- IMDB: Maryo J. de los Reyes
- Film Review: Tagos ng dugo
- Filmography: Tagos Ng Dugo (1987)
- Gov. Vi says OK to Ai-Ai’s ‘Tagos Ng Dugo’
- The View From The Director’s Chair
- Maryo J. delos Reyes unveils his 4th Sine Novela Presents
- Sinungaling Mong Puso 1992
- “Tagos ng Dugo” (Video)
- Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors (part one)
- Mula sa mga Aninong Gumagalaw by Cesar Hernando
- Tagos ng Dugo – Vilma Santos 4 (Video)
- Tagos ng Dugo – Vilma Santos 2 (Video)
- Tagos ng Dugo – Vilma Santos 1 (Video)
One thought on “Filmography: Tagos Ng Dugo (1987)”
Actually, this is one of Vilma’s best, under rated but classic and the culmination of her versatility!
Comments are closed.