Saturday, April 13, 2013

"B" is for Black Magic Terror

Black Magic Terror
Distributor: Twilight Video
Parent Corporation: Trans World Entertainment
Catalog #: 15011
Case Type: Oversized clamshell
VHS Released: 1985
Original Movie Released: 1983
Directed by: L. Sudjio (aka Liliek Sudjio)
Country of Origin: Indonesia
Title As Released: Ratu Ilmu Hitam
Alternate Titles: The Queen of Black Magic, Black Magic 3

Black Magic Terror was directed by the prolific Indonesian filmmaker Liliek Sudjio in 1983. He had already directed quite a few films before this one, the earliest dating back to 1957. And he dabbled in all kinds of genres including drama, action, war, superheros, and horror. I've only seen Black Magic Terror, and I'm not sure how many of his other films (if any) are dubbed in English or subtitled. 
 I would love to see some of his other films, especially the superhero stuff like Gundala Putra Petir (Gundala The Son of Lightning) and Darna Ajaib (DarnaWonder Girl). 


Black Magic Terror carries on the tradition set forth by Hong Kong cinema's "black magic" sub-genre, which began with the Shaw Brothers production Black Magic (Jiang Tou) in 1975, and followed by such films as The Boxer's Omen, Seeding of a Ghost, and Devil Fetus to name a few.
 Box Synopsis:
In this horrifying tale, the darkest witchcraft is
woven to create terrifying demons to attack the body,
mind and spirit of its victims.
Evoking these evil spells is the Queen of Black Magic
whose anger is matched only by her powers,
her passion matched only by her hate.
The above-mentioned Hong Kong-based "black magic" films are well known to western audiences, but the genre actually goes farther back. There's a Hong Kong/Indonesian/Malaysian co-production from 1967 called Penanggalan (aka The Headless Terror), directed by Tulsi (Darwaza) Ramsay, and starring Indonesian actress Suzzanna as the "penanggalan". In Southeast Asian folklore a penanggalan is a being who, either through the use of black magic or by being cursed by a black magician, could detach its head from its body and the disembodied head, with entrails dangling from the spinal cord, could then fly around seeking victims. Hence the English translation of the Penanggalan film, The Headless Terror. All this would be great practice for Suzzanna, who would go on to become Murni, the "Queen of Black Magic, in Sudjio's Black Magic Terror. And one of my favorite scenes in Black Magic Terror also features a penanggalan. After being cursed by Murni's black magic, a victim proceeds to rip his own head off, complete with dangling spinal cord, which then flies around biting people. Awesome!

Black Magic Terror was distributed in the US in 1985 by Twilight Video, which was owned by Trans World Entertainment. I have a copy of Joe D'Amato's Trap Them and Kill Them, which was also released on Twilight Video, and to my knowledge that's the only releases by the company. I think some people confuse releases by another company called Twilight Home Entertainment, which is different. If anybody knows of other releases let me know.

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