Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 30th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Indonesia, 1979
Director: Liliek Sudjio
Cast: Suzzanna, W.D. Mochtar, Teddy Purba, Sofia W.D., Alan Nuary, Siska Widowati, Dorman Borisman, Jufri Sardan, Mien Brojo, Tizar Purbaya, Gordon Subandono, H.I.M. Damsyik, Adang Mansyur, Belkiez Rachman, Ali Albar, Jafarpree York, Ibu Subekto, Jufri Bardan, Soendoro,Joie Pacharintraporn, Doddy Sukma
Approximate running time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: A young woman is accused of being a witch by her former lover who blames her for the bizarre things that plagued his wedding. The former lover with the help of the superstitious townsfolk tries to get rid of the young woman by throwing her body off a cliff. An old man who lives in the canyon below finds her and nurses her back to life. Once the young woman recovers the old man convinces her that she should avenge those who tried to kill her with black magic.
Queen of Black Magic is a bizarre oddity which stars Suzzanna queen of the Indonesian horror film. The plot centers around witch craft and Murni’s revenge which she deals out in spades through bee attacks, quicksand, self-inflicted beheadings and baby snatching. To complicate things further an outsider arrives at the village that uses his own mystical powers to help save the villagers. After a slow build up the film moves along at a rapid pace with each new revelation topping the last one all leading up a one twisted ending. My favorite moment in the film is when Murni’s former lover tells the rest of the villagers,”It is impossible to prove black magic because it erases all traces of its existence after the deed is done”. With logic like this and gullible citizens it is no wonder that they scare so easy.
The special effects from all the death scenes all look fantastic and grotesquely brutal. The films English dubbed audio mix is effective and never distracting. The fantastical nature of the plot works as well as it does because of the quality of the effects during the revenge murders sequences. Suzzanna is sinful and enchanting in the lead role of Murni. There is a genuine intensity to her performance that makes you side with her need for revenge. Overall out of all the Indonesian films that Mondo Macabro have released so far Queen of Black Magic most resembles The Devil’s Sword content and style wise.
The Queen of Black Magic is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. Colors look nicely saturated and details look sharp throughout. This progressive flagged transfer is on par with Mondo Macabro’s The Devil’s Sword and Virgin’s from Hell transfers.
The only audio option included with this release is a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. There is noticeable hiss/background noise throughout that doesn’t interfere too much with the viewing of this film. Also the audio sound flat at times and adjusting volume throughout the film may be necessary.
Extras for this release include extensive background information about the film and its cast written by Pete Tombs. Other extras include a interesting eleven minute interview with SFX creator El Badrun. Rounding out the extras is the Mondo Macabro preview trailer which includes clips from titles they have currently released or about to release. Lately Mondo Macabro have been focusing of cinema from south Asia and their release of The Queen of Black Magic is another winner that should quickly find its way into the collections of fans with a taste for the more obscure Asian delights.