Greetings, Brothers and Sisters of the Psychotronic Video World. I come to you today with some sad news – that Filipino Cinema stalwart Eddie Romero has passed away at the age of 88. A consummate artist, Romero continued to work almost to the end, premiering his last film, FACES OF LOVE, in 2006. In the last year he had been battling prostate cancer and pneumonia, and passed away after developing a blood clot in his brain.
He is best known among our sort of film-goers for his more lurid output in the 1970s, much of it financed and distributed by American International Pictures or Roger Corman’s New World Pictures – films such as the women-in-prison films BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA and SAVAGE SISTERS, supernatural thrillers like BEAST OF THE YELLOW NIGHT (which was my introduction to Romero’s work, though I didn’t know his name until I saw MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED) and of course his grue-spewing magnum opus, the “Blood Island” Trilogy – BRIDES OF BLOOD, MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND, and BEAST OF BLOOD. Many of these films starred American ex-pat John Ashley, while others showcased the rising talent of Pam Grier.
Romero was far from limited in his scope, and did far more than “just” horror films, with a range of work encompassing musicals, dramas, war movies and period films – many showcasing the colonization and history of the Philippines, the culture of which he was a passionate supporter. He donated the rights to his most famous film, 1976’s musical drama about Spanish colonization GANITO KAMI NOON, PAANO KAYO NGAYON to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in order to ensure its continued screening.
Without Romero, not just Filipino cinema, but world cinema would be a poorer place. His films, regardless of budget and genre, are elegant creatures that entertain the viewer and occasionally, sends them home with something to think about. Thank you for the movies, Eddie.