Written by: John White on December 27th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1975
Director: Ho Meng-hua
Cast: Ti Lung, Lo Lieh, Ku Feng, Lily Li, Tien Ni
DVD released: 8th January 2004
Approximate running time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
DVD Release: Celestial
Region Coding: Region 3 NTSC
Retail Price: HK$100
Synopsis: Xu Nuo (Lung) is a hunky foreman on a building project being sexually harassed by female boss and lusty widow Luo Yin (Li). She in turn is the subject of Jiajie’s (Lieh) affections. Jiajie decides to get a helping hand in his pursuit of the rich widow and visits Shian Mei (Feng), a black magician. Mei gives him a formula which bringsYin into the clutches of Jiajie but lasts one night. When Yin wakes up she makes Jiajie tell her the truth and she asks to meet Mei. Mei then spins his spells on her love, Xu Nuo, and his bride Quming (Ni). Will Xu Nuo forget his bride and what does Mei really want?
This is quite a change of pace for Ti Lung from his usual chivalrous epics. Black Magic is quite a dark twisted film with the dark arts involving digging corpses up, evil worms under the skin, maggots and rotting fingers, and lactating breasts. Lung’s character is either under spells or behaving very foolishly whilst Lily Li flirts with him – no butts are kicked and no brotherly relationships are formed!
The mixture of Voodoo and romance works well as does the final showdown between Mei and good magician Furong (Koo Man-chung).The scenes of casting spells of love are quite unsettling with fat cut from corpses and poultices applied to the groin. These scenes are very well done though.
Like the director’s other well known films – Mighty Peking Man and the Flying Guillotine – there are moments of dubious taste and unintentional comedy, but this is wonderful exploitation film making. A little bit sexy, a little bit scary and more than a little bit tasteless, Black Magic is fun for 90 minutes of genre fans’ time.
A lot of the Celestial releases have been messed around with when released on DVD, but not Black Magic. The sound is presented in the original mono and the feature is in anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is magnificent and the picture seems to be missing no information. The English subs are very reliable.
The disc is the usual Celestial release with trailers included for other releases such as the classic Oily Maniac!
I really enjoyed the film and can’t imagine how this film could be better packaged than this release. If you want some tasteless, daft Asian Horror then this is for you.