Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 21) — Kim Chiu reveals that her first solo-starrer horror film “The Ghost Bride” hits close to home because of personal experience and her family’s stories of the archaic yet still-practiced tradition.
Chiu says that her paternal grandmother, who is still alive, almost became a ‘ghost bride.’ Had her grandmother agreed to be a “ghost bride” in a “ghost wedding” she would have forever been bound to the dead person’s family, Chiu added.
“‘Yung lola ko, muntik na siyang maging ghost bride. Kaso mas gusto niyang magka-anak. Sabi niya kapag nagpakasal siya sa patay, habambuhay na nakatali sa pamilya ng patay, kaya po malapit sa akin ang kwento nito,” the 27-year-old Chiu tells CNN Philippines in an interview.
[Translation: “My grandmother almost became a ‘ghost bride.’ But she wanted to have children. She said that if she had agreed to marry a dead person, she would be tied to his family for life. That’s why this story is dear to me.”]
The late cousin of Chiu’s grandmother was an actual ghost bride, Chiu adds.
“Ghost weddings” are practiced in China. In this rite, males who die single are found a living spouse to be wed to. This is done so that the unmarried dead person will not be alone in the afterlife. As a reward, the spouse and her family receive a huge dowry.
Chiu says that if she had to help her family because of dire need, she would be willing to be a “ghost bride” herself.
“Katulad ni ‘Mayen,’ gagawin ko ang lahat para sa pamilya. Kung wala po itong showbiz at kailangan ko maging ‘ghost bride,’ gagawin ko,” the actress says, referring to her main character named “Mayen.”
In the film, Mayen is a Filipino-Chinese girl who gambles her life on becoming a ghost bride upon the advice of a mysterious matchmaker Madame Angie Lao (played by Alice Dixson) in order to help her family.
Horror blockbuster director Chito S. Roño is behind “The Ghost Bride.” He is the director behind box office hits “Feng Shui” starring Kris Aquino in 2004 and “The Healing” in 2012 with “Star for All Seasons” Vilma Santos.
Roño says that the movie that does not delve too much on the Chinese tradition but more on the sacrifices we are willing to make for love and for family. He also believes that horror films will always be a favorite genre of Filipino moviegoers.
”’Yung ibang Asian countries mahilig din sa horror. Pero tayong mga Pilipino, marami pang kwento ng kababalaghan na hindi pa nakukwento, na-eexplore,” Roño says. (Translation: “other Asian countries enjoy horror (films). But we Filipinos have many stories of horror that have yet to be told or explored.”)
Chiu’s latest Star Cinema film “The Ghost Bride” opens on November 1. This third film venture with Director Roño has been a long time coming. Chiu first worked with him in “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” (2010), and then two years later in ‘The Healing” where she portrayed the sick step-daughter of Vilma Santos’ character, who is estranged from her husband.
Chiu doesn’t mind being tagged as the “Horror Movie Queen.”
“Wala na kong mahihiling pa sa pelikulang ito. Sobrang saya ko at sa akin ibinigay ang project na ito. Hiling ko nalang sana suportahan nila ako” she says.
[Translation: “There is nothing more I can ask of this film. I’m really happy I got this project. I hope (my fans) will support this.”]