#SpookySZN: ‘Something Strange Is Happening’ reinvents the American horror story
An official selection of the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival (yes, they do podcasts now), “Something Strange Is Happening” is reinventing the American horror story. Unlike any tale that’s been told before, the immigrants who came to America brought their language and culture, but also their monsters.
“Something Strange Is Happening” was created and written by screenwriter Christina Kingsleigh and performed by Tessa Bartholomew. With a haunting score and immersive (and grotesque) sound design, you’ll be plunged into Jasmine’s life in LA’s Historic Filipino Town. Much of Kingsleigh’s works are informed by her multiracial heritage, seeking to tell stories of cultural identity and social justice.
The podcast is entrenched within themes of colonialism, the horror of this first episode coming from the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. As the murderous Spaniard colonizers staked claim of the islands, new mythological monsters arose from Filipino and Spanish cultures, pitted against each other. Others say that creatures from Filipino folklore took on traits of the Spanish, seeking to conquer and kill.
Like the Batibat, a vengeful demon that causes suffocating nightmares, and the Aswang, a shape-shifting evil creature that can transform into a beautiful woman to drink the blood of men. So, when the first Filipinos stepped foot on U.S. soil, in Southern California, so did these creatures.
Well, Jasmine’s family has been hiding a secret. A dark secret. The night before Jasmine’s 18th birthday debut, a dream of her teeth falling out of her mouth signals to her an incoming disaster. And she’s not taking any chances: the last time she had this dream, both of her parents wound up dead. But this time, she has no idea what she is about to be in for.
“Something Strange Is Happening” features monsters and spirits back for vengeance. The first episode is out now and we can only hope there are more on their way. It’s an incredible piece of fiction mixed with the true folklore that makes this idea even more terrifying.