Written by: Carroll Jenkins on July 10th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1981
Director: Chih-Hung Kuei
Writers: On Szeto
Cast: Fei Ai, Hussin Bin Abu Hassan, Lap Ban Chan, Lily Chan, Chun Chin, Miao Ching, Piao Chin
DVD Released: April 10th, 2007
Approximate Running Time: 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Mandarin, Dolby Digital Mono Cantonese
Subtitles: Chinese, English
DVD Release: Celestial Pictures
Region Coding: Region 3 NTSC (Hong Kong)
Retail Price: $10.90 ($85 HK)
Synopsis: A vacationer from Hong Kong has a fling with a sweet young thing in Thailand. She originally spurns his advances, but eventually gives in to his persistence and charm. She also insists he return to visit by a specific date and presents him with an amulet so he won’t forget.
This Shaw Brothers black magic opus boasts a more cohesive storyline than most of it’s brethren. We begin with a few uncanny events, apparently to establish that witchcraft is commonplace. Then the central plot is triggered by the cursed vacationer who was made to drive a nine inch spike into his daughter’s head. Flashback to his Thai experience and his would-be steady girl and her witchy ways.
We are talking serious spell casting here, and this isn’t amateur hour either. Doubting his sincerity our miss solicits the talents of a master magician, who casts extravagant designer spells upon our hapless beau. Homicide detective Melvin Wong gets in way over his head as the movie becomes a gourmet cookbook of exotic enchantments and counter spells. Most of the familiar elements / ingredients are here including unfortunate chickens and snakes (no crocodiles, though).
Director Kuei Chih Hung directed a number of similar films including the Hex series and the sequel to Bewitched, the gonzo Boxer’s Omen. The special effects are sparse compared to the latter, as are scenes of eating worms, etc.. This is probably the best of his black magic efforts, mainly due to the superior pacing and the sheer number of spells and the twists and turns the plot takes. Other notable films include Bamboo House Of Dolls, Killer Snakes, and Killer Constable.
Digitally remastered from a nice print. Anamorphic 1:85 with original mono Cantonese or Mandarin soundtrack and removable English subtitles. As usual, there are some grammatical errors. Extras include the original trailer and a stills gallery.
This film takes for granted that witchcraft is everywhere in the Orient, especially Thailand. Gotta watch out for those black magic women (even if they do look good topless at the beach) – and being such a jerk.