HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Apartment 1BR
1776
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Black Magic Bring on the breast milk!
Year: 1975
Director: Ho Meng-hua
Stars: Tanny Tien Ni, Ti Lung, Lily Li, Lo Lieh, Ku Feng, Lam Wai-Tiu, Goo Man-Chung, Lee Sau-Kei, Yueh Hua, Chen Ping, Norman Chu Siu-Keung, Ng Hong-Sang, Dana, Lam Fung, Gok Dik-Wa, Ofelia Yau Wai, Lam Siu, Chin Chun, Fung Ging-Man
Genre: Horror, Sex, Weirdo, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Shaw Brothers produced the granddaddy of all Hong Kong horror films in Black Magic which, partly inspired by Hammer Films and The Exorcist (1973), established their patented gross-out formula of copious bugs, slime, breasts, steamy sex and most importantly, wacky supernatural hoodoo.

We open with a quote from philosopher Zhuo Nan stating “excessive sex has the same effect as being under a spell.” Before viewers can ponder that moral quandary, things hop headlong into hair-raising weirdness when a village woman asks black magician Shan Chien Mi (Ku Feng) to kill her adulterous husband and his mistress. So he decapitates a corpse and boils the head into a broth while mumbling incantations. Quicker than you can say Beelzebub, the naked lovers shag till their brains haemorrhage. Hmm, maybe Zhuo Nan was onto something. Nevertheless, Chien Mi is forced to flee the village when a good guy holy man cracks his shack over a fiery pit of hell.

Meanwhile, in groovy mid-Seventies Hong Kong, sultry Ms. Zhou (Tanny Tien Ni) has the hots for handsome construction worker Xu Nuo (kung fu icon Ti Lung), but he already has a girlfriend, sweet schoolteacher Wang Chu Ying (Lily Li, also better known for her martial arts skills). Flush with her late husband’s cash, Ms. Zhou is used to getting what she wants, but Xu assures her “you can’t buy me.” Elsewhere, oily playboy Liang Chia Chieh (the great Lo Lieh, so greasy he oozes across the screen) hassles Ms. Zhou for a fling, but she isn’t interested and trashes his sports car to prove it. A friend points Liang in the direction of Chien Mi’s snake infested forest lair, where he sees the wizard rub sticky rice all over a sexy naked girl (Shaw’s top nudie cutie Dana) and milk her breasts. Add a dash of snake venom and you’ve got a love spell.

Thanks to Chien Mi, Ms. Zhuo becomes Liang’s love toy. They go at it with sweaty abandon to the strains of the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil, while her jolly German Shepherd plays voyeur. The dirty dog. Next morning, Ms. Zhuo angrily threatens Liang till he confesses all. Whereupon she hires Chien Mi to put the love whammy on Xu. And that’s when all hell breaks loose.

The success of Black Magic made veteran Ho Meng-hua, Shaw Brothers’ go-to guy for monsters and horror. Whereas the films of Shaw’s other resident horror helmer Kuei Chi-hung are seedy and downbeat, Hua is an EC comics/Hammer style moralist revelling in sex, sleaze and gloopy horror, but with clearly delineated good guys and bad. No surprise for a director who packed kids’ films, musicals and chivalric swordplay epics into his eclectic filmography. Meng-hua had yet to hone his formula so consequently the film drags in spots, with a love triangle that gets a bit Mills & Boon and a handful of silly scenes. Lo Lieh went on to take centre-stage in the superior sequel and became the genre’s most prominent player, but here makes an early exit after a cursed coconut melts his face into a maggoty mess. Ti Lung is uncharacteristically weak, largely because he doesn’t have a whole lot to do besides switch from stoic to zombie love slave. He does get to go crazy at his construction site where he bites co-workers and zaps himself with electricity. We’ve all been there.

Despite occasional pacing problems, Meng-hua still pitches a load of spooky stuff that keeps the audience glued to the increasingly outrageous events. Among the classic set-pieces: the wedding party where Xu hallucinates his bride and guests are hideous mutants and walks out right into Ms. Zhou’s arms; a graveyard voodoo session wherein Chien Mi defiles a corpse then fondles Ms. Zhou’s breasts all in the name of spell-casting of course; a nightmare sequence with Chu Ying menaced by leaping ghost girls with long black hair; and the bit where she goes all Linda Blair until sagely Master Fu Yong (Goo Man-Chung) extracts poison worms from her swollen belly.

Slimy bugs play a major part in Hong Kong horror, with poor Xu forced at one point to eat a bowl of centipedes (see also: Centipede Horror (1988)), as indeed does the contrast between modern values and old world superstition. As in later efforts, Thailand serves as Hong Kong’s equivalent to Transylvania, a world where magic still rules and city slickers are at the mercy of dark forces. Another key ingredient was softcore sex and, although Celestial’s region 3 DVD release seems cut to appease the Mainland censors, Tanny Tien Ni obligingly disrobes for numerous steamy scenes. A regular in upmarket, arty erotica from Illicit Desire (1973) to Forbidden Tale of Two Cities (1975), Tien Ni married multi-talented Shaw star Yueh Hua, who appears in a cameo.

The finale goes all out including a car chase, a hypnotised Xu dangling above a building site and a fiery wizards’ duel with cartoon laser beams, force fields, withering hags and melting villains. Meng-hua’s follow-up: Black Magic 2: Revenge of the Zombies (1976) would be one of most memorable Hong Kong horrors of all time.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 5677 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: