sábado, 14 de noviembre de 2009

Queen Of Black Magic

Indonesia is a place that people don’t think of when they think about world horror films, but for a brief moment in history, there was a rich abundance of genre films coming out of this country. Now, to be honest, I’m not really talking about high-ranking, high quality horror films here; they’re cheap as hell, the acting is mostly terrible and there is an air of absurdity to the events that actually add more to the entertainment value. Surprisingly enough, this one takes itself pretty seriously, well except for the third act. The story deals with a young woman named Mumi (Suzzanna), who has been betrayed by her boyfriend. When the boyfriend’s new bride goes batshit, the boyfriend blames Mumi and accuses her of being a witch. They throw her off a precipice, but she lands, luckily, on a black magic doctor who teaches her the tricks of the trade. So, she starts taking revenge on the people, until a good witch doctor comes in and helps the problem. This is your typical revenge film, only with black magic instead of a gun. Speaking of black magic, this is disguised to be a sequel to the Black Magic film series coming out of China’s Shaw Studios in the 70’s, featuring the same kind of look and use of grotesque effects and animals. The magic sequences are really cool, first starting with the obligatory pile of disgusting maggots. Then comes the revenge stuff, which ranges from people being hung by magic dresses, sinking into sand, being stung to death by bees and, my favorite, a guy who’s head separates from his body and starts killing people, similar to the monster in another Indonesian classic, Mystics In Bali. The introduction of the ‘good’ doctor reminds me of the Hammer vampire films, where there’s an established evil and in comes Peter Cushing to help out.
As I said, it’s mostly played like a straight horror film until the third act comes out, when we first start with a fire show where our main hero turns himself into an acrobat to avoid the fires, in a scene that made me spit out my strawberry milkshake, and then, to cap it all off, we get to find out that the hero and the witch, who were starting to fall in love with each other and were going to get married, are actually brother and sister! The stench of incest penetrates the air and I look stupefied as they fight together the evil sorcerer, only to later see the witch die in his arms, in a romantic embrace. It’s like getting that awkward feeling you got in Return of the Jedi when you found out Luke and Leia were siblings, only weirder. Still, this only added to the weirdness of the film. The only disappointing thing about this is that there is no nudity, which is too bad since Suzanna is pretty damn hot. Even so, this is a hilarious and grotesque fantasy/horror film from Indonesia, who know how to mix the fantasy, the grotesque, and the over-the-top in the same film. Check it out, thanks to the boys at Mondo Macabro!

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