(Dramatic Feature, 1994, Premiere SUNDANCE)
On Friday, January 21, 1994 at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, Aswang premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the Midnight Movie section. Shot on 16mm in the fall of 1992, it was a tongue in cheek cult horror film about a family of Filipino vampires who feed on the unborn.
After a swing through the midnight movie film festival circuit, Aswang was picked by Prism Pictures for a video relase. Prism cut it for an “R” rating and re-titled it The Unearthing. At the time of its release, Aswang was mostly ignored by mainstream critics, but was praised by cult critics such as Joe Bob Briggs and Phantom of the Movies’ Videoscope, who wrote that “The Unearthing is an exercise in extreme claustrophobia and disorientation… the creepiest film I’ve seen since Guillermo Del Toro’s Cronos“. And our favorite quote came from the NY Daily News: “If you only see one mutant baby movie this year, we strongly suggest you opt for The Unearthing”
By the early 2000’s, the otherwise largely forgotten Aswang had begun to garner a cult following. In 2003 British distributor Mondo Macabro released a ten-year anniversary DVD of Aswang uncut and under its original title. The reviews were good. Film Threat –– which hadn’t noticed the movie upon it’s initial release — praised the uncut release as “completely loaded to the teeth with nerve-wracking suspense, an atmosphere of sheer dread, stomach turning gore and just a dash of black humor. Aswang is a very effective and nightmarish film that deserves far more attention than it has garnered over the past 11 years”.
By 2008 Aswang was featured in the Fangoria book “101 Best Horror Movies You’ve Never Seen”, helping cement it’s stature as an obscure but enduring cinematic oddity.
A Purple Onion Production
Produced, Written & Directed by Wrye Martin & Barry Poltermann
Edited by Barry Poltermann
Story by Frank Anderson