Urban Anxieties in Davao Horror Shorts

Katrina Ross Andal Tan, Laurence Marvin S. Castillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The essay examines how horror shor t f ilms produced by independent
filmmakers based in Davao City in southern Philippines function as imaginative
mediations of urban anxieties in the region. Discussing f irst existing
scholarship on Philippine horror cinema, the essay then maps the emergence
of regional filmmaking in contemporary independent cinema before briefly
touching on the ways Filipino mainstream and independent films construct
urban spaces. As the analysis shows, the horror short films articulate people’s
anxieties over socio-economic and political realities experienced in Davao,
such as extrajudicial killings, enactment of a pioneering anti-discrimination
ordinance, urban diaspora, and cosmopolitanism. In addition, they reveal
people’s complex views and attitudes towards urbanization and modernity
against the specter of rurality in Davao City. The paper argues that these
films imagine, not just the uneasy position of a regional city in the national
topography shaped by the socio-economic operations of globalization, but
also the anxiety of a Third World formation hounded by the specter of uneven
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalHumanities Diliman
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Regional cinema
  • horror films
  • short films
  • Davao City

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