Monday, May 11, 2009

Black Magic 2 very very soon!!!


Yes, I admit the grabs look a tad too dark but the new restored Celestial print I watched last Christmas looked much brighter so lets cross our fingers and hope it's only the preview scans and not the actual DVD which is too dark.

And finally... the absolutely ATROCIOUSLY AWFUL new cover for the film:

I REALLY REALLY don't get it!!! Why use such a terrible cover when they could have used the original:


BLACK MAGIC 2 (1976) - I've been waiting quite a few years to get my hands on an uncut version of this film ever since I saw a chopped-up edit of it in theaters (distributed by World Northal Corp.) and on bootleg VHS under the title REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES. Now, thanks to the fine folks at Celestial Pictures, we can all see this film the way it was meant to be seen: Fully uncut and with English subtitles (replacing the horrendous English dubbing on earlier edits). The film opens with a bunch of topless women (all nudity was cut from the edited version) splashing around in a river when, all of a sudden, a huge crocodile grabs one of them and chows down on her. An elderly white-haired witch doctor hangs a live chicken on a hook above the river and begins chanting. The crocodile grabs the chicken and becomes hooked, as the witch doctor pulls it to shore and stabs it in the eyes, finishing the crocodile off by gutting it and pulling the contents out of it's stomach, which includes a tin can, a sandal and the unfortunate dead girl's bracelet, which he hands over to her family. We then switch to two professional city couples, who take a trip to "a tropical city" to research spells and to discover if they have any validity in modern society. Something tells me that they're not going to like what they uncover. They stop at a nightclub (a disco band plays a funky tune while a girl in a sequined bikini dances on-stage), where we watch an evil black magician (Lo Lieh; THE STRANGER AND THE GUNFIGHTER - 1974) bring a beautiful woman back to his mansion, leads her into a secret room, strips her naked and then reveals that she has a giant spike embedded in the top of her skull! He slowly pulls the spike out with a pair of pliers and the beautiful girl rapidly turns into a decaying corpse. The two couples, the male members both being doctors, visit a hospital where the patients have strange skin ulcers, all said to have been caused by spells, especially the dreaded "Green Venom Poison Spell", which causes lesions that look like human faces. The black magician becomes smitten with Margaret (Tanny; HUMAN LANTERNS - 1982), the wife of one of the doctors, and puts a spell on her by stealing a drop of her blood, hanging a dead cat in her yard and pouring a potion made from her blood on one of his huge collections of wax effigies. Margaret's husband, Zhensheng (Ti Lung; 10 TIGERS OF KWANG TUNG - 1980), becomes worried for his wife's health and safety when she disappears each night. She is under the control of the black magician, who creates a potion using her freshly-shaven pubic hair (!), to make Margaret produce breast milk, which he will drink every night to keep his youthful appearance. Every night, Margaret sleepwalks to his mansion, where he sucks on her titties and then makes love to her (including some backdoor action!). When Zhensheng finally catches on to Margaret's nocturnal visits, he also discovers that she is suddenly nine months pregnant! She has an emergency c-section, where a mutated stillborn baby is delivered. Folks, this is only the first thirty minutes of the film. What comes next is truly beyond proper description and is best witnessed first hand. This is another weird and entertaining Shaw Brothers production, directed by demented genius Ho Meng-Hua (credited as "Horace Mengwa" on the abortive English language prints), who also directed the original BLACK MAGIC (1975; which stars many of the same actors here, but in different roles), as well as THE OILY MANIAC (1976), THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN (1977; a.k.a. GOLIATHON) and THE RAPE AFTER (1986). The screenplay, by I Kuang (THE KILLER SNAKES - 1974), gets increasingly more bizarre as the film progresses, as we watch the black magician (whose name is revealed as Kang Cong!) perform his various spells (usually love spells for some poor schmucks that invariably go very, very wrong) obtaining blood or a personal item from his victims, which he uses to make potions to pour over his wax dolls or on the many dead, rotting corpses he keeps in the basement of his mansion. He then hammers a giant spike into the tops of their heads and, presto!, instant zombie with a youthful appearance. There's so much more insanity on view, including grave robbing, dead cat whipping, breast milk squirting, stop-motion disintegrations, skin lesions containing slimy worms and a zombie attack in the finale that is as surreal as it is horrific. There's also the prerequisite battle between the good magician (the white-haired witch doctor from the beginning of the film) and the black magician, where the black magician drives giant nails into his own cheeks and hands while the good magician rips out his own eyes and gives them to the hero for protection! I won't even mention the fight on a moving tram car that offers some of the chintziest blue screen work in recent memory. There's also tons of nudity and sex on view, all of it missing from the English language version; so much so, that it plays like an entirely different film. This is twisted horror in the best sense and gets my highest recommendation. A second in-name-only sequel, the Indonesian QUEEN OF BLACK MAGIC (1979), followed. Also starring Liu Hui-Ju, Lily Li, Lin Wei-Tu, Frankie Wei and Yang Ai-Hua. A Celestial Pictures DVD Release in a beautiful widescreen print. Not Rated.

As always a warm thank you to Fred for letting me use his reviews as I wish. Thanks.

The screen grabs are courtesy of Ian Jane of Dvdmaniacs.

Evelyne Kraft RIP

Unfortunately, I just read that Evelyne Kraft died in January in Switzerland! Evelyne Kraft was of course the best jungle bunny to be caught by a Hongkongese King Kong wannabe (in Mighty Peking Man aka Goliathon/Colossus of Congo). When 'Asian Trash Cinema' #1 came out they had a raunchy pic of her on the back of the cover and I just knew I had to track down that film.

RIP Evelyne.

I found this piece of sad news here:

- where someone translated the obituary from the Swiss magazine 'Blick':

Originally written by Michel Bodmer/translated by Doctor Kiss
In memoriam Evelyne Kraft (1952 - 2009)
It's as if Evelyne "THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN" Kraft had been completely forgotten. When Swiss cinema doyenne Anne-Marie Blanc (FURY OF THE SABERS, 1965) died in early February, practically every newspaper from the Adliswil Advertizer through to the Zofing Herald dedicated copious column-inches to this lamentable 'loss to the Swiss film and theater scene.' By contrast, Evelyne Kraft's death two months ago in a rural part of Zurich canton barely caused a ripple in the press, with only Blick and the Mittellandzeitung reporting her passing under the catchpenny headline 'King Kong's Swiss Bride is Dead.' Of course, they didn't mean King Kong at all, but Utam, the giant ape from the 1977 Hong Kong trash classic THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN. In the movie, Kraft swung her way through a pot plant jungle, where she had been raised by the mega-gorilla following her parents' death. Although Kraft might have risked damaging the film's profits when she revealed that her hirsute guardian 'wasn't an animal at all, but an Asian guy in an ape-suit,' the movie in fact proved a successful long-term seller, apparently served up most recently to cinemagoers in Mumbai. And THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN made such an impression on Quentin Tarantino that he secured the distribution rights to the picture. (...)

The blonde from Zurich's short-but-memorable screen career began in 1972, alongside Anita Ekberg and Howard Vernon in Ferdinando Merighi's workmanlike giallo THE FRENCH SEX MURDERS. A role as a vamp followed in 1973's THE MANUFACTURERS, co-scripted by Swiss cinema's arguably greatest talent in the comedy field, Clemens Klopfenstein (THE BIRD PREACHERS, 2005). Prefiguring David Cronenberg's CRASH (1996) was director Rudolf Zehetgruber's decision to establish a libidinous connection between Kraft and the Volkswagen Beetle 'Dudu' in the movies SUPERBUG, THE WILD ONE (1973) and SUPERBUG, THE CRAZIEST CAR IN THE WORLD (1975). The actress's Hong Kong excursion followed at this point, before she returned to Europe, armed with newfound gorilla experience, to appear in the French-German co-production OOH LA LA... THE LITTLE BLONDES ARE HERE (1977), in which she played Karin alongside the hugely popular Olivia Pascal's dazzling performance as Maria. She also turned up on German television in single episodes of [detective series] Der Kommissar and [comedy sketch-show] Klimbim, before bidding a worthy farewell to her screen career alongside Brad Harris, Theo Lingen, Eddi Arent, Walter Giller, Roberto Blanco, and Herbert Fux in Franz Josef Gottlieb's LADY DRACULA, and alongside Helmut Berger and Udo Kier in Duccio Tessari's THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT (both 1978).

Thereafter, according to Blick magazine, the former screen-blonde dedicated herself to a) animal welfare, b) global poverty concerns, and c) her husband's real-estate company. Evelyne Kraft died of heart failure on 13th January 2009, aged 57. May she rest in peace.

Naked when you come

If I were in a garage rock band we'd cover this:

It sounds so simple and yet so full of melancholy and ending. From 1966.

Satan's Slave / Pengabdi Setan

Congrats to whoever won the Japanese video release of the Indonesian horror movie SATAN'S SLAVE, known in Indonesia as Pengabdi Setan. The tape went for $162 which was far more than what I had in my pockets. Boo-hoo.