In Filipino filmmaker Yam Laranas’ latest thriller The Road (review here), we see what happens when a twelve-year-old cold case is reopened after three teens go missing on an abandoned road.
During the course of the investigation, more gruesome stories of abduction and murders are discovered, allowing after more than two decades the secrets of the haunted road to be finally revealed.
Today, May 11th, The Road hits limited theaters here in the United States, making Laranas’ spookfest the first Filipino project to ever get a Stateside theatrical release, which is quite an accomplishment. Recently Dread Central had the opportunity to chat with Laranas about his film as well as why horror is where he belongs and where he’ll be heading for his next genre endeavor.
Dread also had the chance to catch up briefly with the director at the red carpet premiere of The Road earlier this week at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood, California; after the reading the below interview, make sure to check out the video to hear more from this impressive up-and-coming filmmaker.
Dread Central: I’d like to start off by hearing more on where the story for The Road came from.
Yam Laranas: Well, The Road started with an idea I had around 2005 where I was thinking about places that would be claustrophobic; we’d seen things like an apartment, a room, a haunted house done with claustrophobic elements before so what about something unexpected, like a road? With exploring claustrophobia in an open space, I thought I would be doing something different.
I then had an idea about three teens- you know, the usual thing where they steal a car to go on a road trip and they get lost. As I was developing it, I was really excited, but as I kept going, I hit a blank wall so I left it alone for a while.
Then I chanced upon a tragic story in the Philippines about two sisters being abducted and killed which was a complete random act of violence; I thought it was just terrible, especially the thought of just how randomly violence can happen in this world. So I started working on a story about two sisters traveling alone and I just got stuck again; I decided then to talk to my writing partner because I knew I had a couple of stories here so I thought we could just throw them all on the table and see what happened.
Dread Central: Well, it seems like you took some elements from all of those stories for this then…
Yam Laranas: Oh absolutely! We just ended up combining elements from all those stories to make up The Road, and something still just wasn’t right so I thought about mixing up the story a bit and decided we should tell it in reverse; I knew that would keep audiences guessing because they think what they’re seeing is a predictable story, but in reality it’s anything but predictable.
Everything in The Road is circular, and so it becomes this really fun movie with a lot of creepy moments and good scares in it, too; I’ve really loved the reactions we’ve been getting during all the screenings too because it seems like everyone responds to all the little horror moments in the film so it’s great to see that the movie seems to work universally.
Dread Central: Is the horror genre well received in the Philippines?
Yam Laranas: Definitely; horror movies always do really well there. We especially love our creature features- the sillier, the better. See, horror is universal; people love to be scared. It’s human nature to want to have that kind of control over your emotions like you do when you watch a horror movie and I think that’s what fans like. You can’t control it if someone is really chasing you, but if you’re watching someone getting chased in a tense situation, you can control what you see and experience while that’s happening.
Dread Central: With The Road heading to theaters this weekend, what’s coming up next for you? Are you planning on returning to the Philippines for your next project or are you staying in the US?
Yam Laranas: I’m trying to finish up one story right now, and I’ve got another project with GMA that we’re going to be making in Manila- we’re hoping to start production on that one later this year. It will definitely be a horror film; I really love the genre and I definitely think that’s where I’m going to stay for a while. It’s just too much fun.
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