Khavn has produced an atmospheric and stirring video for the song “Dead Woman in My House” by Los Chupacabras, a Manila-based band, who where formed in 2003 and disbanded in 2008. The main actor, Easy Fagela, is also the bandleader/singer/songwriter/guitarist, and still performs solo, as he did in the late 90’s in Khavn’s bar Oracafe. The other members of the band are well-known poets Joel Toledo and Mikael Co, and fictionist Carljoe Javier. The film was part of Khavn’s 12-film retrospective in Oberhausen, 2017, curated by Olaf Möller. In compact four minutes, Khavn tells the story of a rogue who first has the sympathies of the audience on his side, but then cheekily offends them.
The song is performed in the first person. A man comes home drunk, faints and after waking up discovers the body of a woman. He calls the police, who arrest him. He complains that they never believe him and that the crime is attributed to him. Here the narrator begins to sing a lament. Through the repetition of the chorus and the single melody passages, the video gets an ingratiating tone. The irony and twist in the story are unexpected and therefore all the more impressive.
As in a classical music video, footage of the band performing in a sparsely lit bar is mixed with visualizations of the motifs from the song. You see a man walking through the nightly streets, a motionless female body fading in again and again and in between screams. Khavn works with cross-fades, distorted images and especially fast cuts.
The camera is guided by Albert Banzon, (“the Raoul Coutard of the Philippine No Wave”,) according to Olaf Möller) who has been Khavn’s partner for many years and who captures and shapes his visual language. In essence, they decide, in this video too, to use reduced means, rich colours and a rough aesthetic that likes to focus on the dirty side of things.
“Dead Woman in My House” recalls a Wild West ballad, in which brutal events are told with undercooled chant. The song reminds of “Buenas tardes amigos” by Ween. Here, too, the main character in the song turns out to be less innocent than he wanted to make believe in the first place.
Music is an essential element to Khavn, being himself a musician. The director not only prefers to use pieces from alternative groups in his films, but also maintains various collaborations with artists.
Khavn has managed to give the already catchy piece of music an almost cult video.