You know there are some films that simply leave you sitting there in stunned silence with a goofy grin on your face and ZSAZSA ZATURNNAH ZE MOVEEH is definitely one of them, take my word for it. Or better yet if you are a lover of really wacky (and I Do mean wacky) flix, then by all means find yourself a copy of this little Filipino gem at once if not sooner! This is the kind of stuff I live for.
In modern day Manila demure transvestite hairdresser Adrian ( Rustam Padilla) has just been abandoned by his latest lover--after having put him through college first, of course, and the very heavens open up and weep with him/her as we learn that this film is also a MUSICAL. Yep. Get used to it. People are going to break into song and dance from time to time. Heartbroken, Adrian (Ada for short) decides to pull up stakes and move to a small village with her little sister and her equally gay friend and fellow hair dresser DiDi (Chokoleit) where they quickly set up shop, and just as quickly Ada falls head over high heels for hunky Dodong (Alfred Vargas) who works across the street. But alas she is far too shy and damaged by her previous bad experiences with men to even speak with the object of her affections, so she spends her time mooning and working, and working and mooning, until one night while singing in the shower a strange pink rock hurtles first through space and then through her corrugated tin roof right into the shower Ada is currently occupying.
Ada shows the strange rock (which has the word "Zaturnnah" written on it) to DiDi who instantly concludes that the correct course of action would be for Ada to swallow the rock--which is about the shape of a brick and slightly larger! (It's amazing how little encouragement Ada needs.) And once the rock is swallowed sweet, shy, mousy, gay male Adrian instantly transforms into a sexy, flashy, 100% transgender female with bright orange hair whom DiDi KNOWS must have Super Powers. And sure enough she does--although she can't fly, she does otherwise have pretty much the standard range of Super Powers. It's at this point that ZsaZsa Zaturnnah(as DiDi has dubbed Ada's alter-ego) encounters her first immodest SuperHero costume, and her first heroic challenge!
What that challenge is would be telling, and I don't want to ruin everything for you. All good movies (for me at least) are about surprises--the unexpected, the outrageous even, and when you're dealing with drag queens, space aliens, transgender SuperHeroines, and the Catholic religion there have got to be some surprises in there somewhere. But I will tell tell you that the two best scenes in this flick involve 1) a battle between our transgender SuperHeroine and sword wielding pirate skeletons INSIDE the belly of a giant money frog and 2) a tearful encounter set to music between a gay man ( who's a SuperHeroine) and his homophobic father (who's dead) while a chorus of floating zombies sing back up! But I strongly suspect that some of you guys out there may enjoy the aliens who are Amazonistas from the Planet XXX led by the evil Queen Femina! Out of the 5 of these babes 2 are actually female! Can you spot them?
ZSAZSA ZATURNNAH (played in the film by Zsa Zsa Padilla) evolved from a graphic novel created by Carlo Vergara who served as writer and art director on the film, and the character's comic book origins are obvious--the whole look and feel of the film scream comic book. (I'd die for an English language copy of this book.) The special effects weren't all that special, pretty basic in fact, but that only added to the enjoyment of the film. Anything more sophisticated would have seemed out of place in a flick like this. It seems silly to even comment on things such as acting and technical merits--suffice it to say the film is very watchable and EXCRUCIATINGLY entertaining. But I will add that there is absolutely nothing of an offensive sexual nature going on here--not so much as a kiss. And unless you find the simple existence of homosexuals to be an abomination, you would have a hard time being offended by this film.