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October 31, 2009

Black Magic 2

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Gou hun jiang tou
Ho Meng-Hua - 1976
Media Blasters Region 1 DVD

I started off October with a review of the first Black Magic movie. The second is not a sequel but another story about non-believers discovering the supernatural. The same cast is involved, but with different roles, but again the action takes place in Malaysia. This time, a doctor and his wife come from Hong Kong to find out why people have some mysterious, incurable ailments, usually involving oversized, throbbing sores, or worms visible beneath what appears to be translucent flesh. Later, the two doctors and their wives go to dinner, where the biggest dish is a featured dancer in a gold bikini. If you're in the mood for a tastefully crafted horror movie, this ain't it.

Black Magic 2 has everything that was great about Black Magic, only more. This means more gratuitous nudity, more gore, and more out and out nuttiness. The only thing Black Magic 2 has less of is anything resembling a logical story or even a dash of common sense. The hero of the film is so dense that it takes until near the end of the film to recognize that the villain is the same person photographed in what is purported to be a study of Asian black magic by "an American professor". One of the characters drives away, and no sooner than our hero steps out on the street, a cab appears, and we hear the immortal words, "Follow that car.".

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The magician has an army of zombies, mostly beautiful women, but also a few guys capable of some basic kung fu, because, after all, this is a Shaw Brothers production. The zombies are kept under control with nails in their noggins. We're talking long nails about the size of acupuncture needles. When the nails are pulled out, the zombies go into instant decomposition mode, leaving an oozing mess. The magician also has a passion for milk. Not just your regular cow's milk from the grocery store, or even something more exotic, like organic goat's milk, but milk from youngish woman, from their nipples to his mouth. The unconventional dietary habits don't stop there. At one point, I had to ask myself if I had really just seen one man gulp down another guy's eyeballs.

The only films I can think of offhand that might be more over-the-top than Black Magic 2 might be the early films by Peter Jackson. If there wasn't so much sex and nudity, this film would be ideal for the space traveling wiseacres of "Mystery Science Theater". As it is, Ho packs a lot into an hour and a half, starting with a group of country girls, shedding their wraps for some skinny dipping, only to have one girl eaten by a very large crocodile, who in turn is caught by the good magician who has a dead chicken on a hook over the water. Don't bother seeing this film if you are sensitive to the misuse of dead animals. Whether intended or not, Black Magic 2 is as funny as it is gross. It might not be art, but it is undeniably entertaining.

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Posted by Peter Nellhaus at October 31, 2009 12:05 AM


You've got me eager to see Black Magic I & II! Your description of the film makes it sound like one kooky movie. Happy Halloween, Peter!

Posted by: Kimberly Lindbergs at October 31, 2009 12:55 AM

Thanks! And a Happy Halloween to the always wonderful Cinebeats.

Posted by: Peter Nellhaus at October 31, 2009 01:48 AM