Wednesday, October 27, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Queen of Black Magic (1981, 2019)

Believe it or not, I did not get the streaming channel Shudder, until really recently.  I was building my list and I saw one I knew of but had not seen yet, 1981's The Queen of Black Magic, also known as Ratu Ilmu Hitam or Queen of the Dark Arts. I also saw there was a Shudder exclusive, 2019's The Queen of Black Magic.  Thinking they might be the same I opted to make a night of it.  

The Queen of Black Magic (1981)
The Queen of Black Magic (1981)

This one came highly recommended.  

Baedah is getting married, but something is wrong.  She sees maggots, snakes, and the groom as a corpse and his men as demons. Something also is attacking the local shaman.  The groom, Kohar, quickly decides that it must be Murni's fault because she is a witch. She is a witch because this is all her fault. Solid logic!  We learn that he had seduced Murni and took "her dignity" (virginity) but would not marry her. 

Murni is played by Indonesian horror queen Suzzanna (Suzzanna Martha Frederika van Osch).  "Murni" by the way means "Pure" in Indonesian.  Kohar and his mean go to her home and lynch her. He even slaps her old mother and sets their home on fire.  They toss her off the side of a cliff to make sure to "get rid of her black magic" but she is caught by a strange man.   

The man rescues her and nurses her back to health.  He tells her if they accuse of her black magic then she should use black magic to get her revenge. She will be the Queen of Black Magic.  

We get a "training montage" which involves Murni doing naked backflips under a full moon until smoke comes out of her head.  This had to be near-pornographic for Indonesia in the early 80s.

Murni returns to her village, much to the shock of the men that tried to kill her.  They try to warn Kohar, but she summons bees to kill one of them.  She then causes huge boils to form on another and they explode, filled with blood.   Gruesome, yet satisfying.  Lots of great examples of sympathetic magic here too.  

An Indonesian Lionel Richie-looking dude shows up to the village. He seems very religious and immune to the effects of black magic. 

Murni killing Kohar by getting him to rip off his own head is worth the price of admission alone.  Then watching Kohar's head fly around is just great. 

The becomes a battle between black magic and the power of the new stranger, Permana, invoking god. 

In their battle, we learn that Permana is Murni's older brother to learn from a holy man far away.  Makes sense since they both can do the same backflips.

They fight, but when the evil priest/magician that trains Murni shows up to kill Permana, Murni turns on him instead.  She blows him up with magic, but it is implied she dies as well.

Some great effects really, given the time and budget, and a fun story.

The Queen of Black Magic (2019)
The Queen of Black Magic (2019)

This one is also Indonesian and described as a loose-remake of the first. 

This one starts out strong. A family is driving back to visit the orphanage the father grew up in.  While talking they hit something. Getting out they find a deer on the side of the road, but it seems like it has been there a bit.  As they drive off we see a bloody girl on the other side of the road that they missed. 

They meet at the orphanage and others are also here to see the old caretaker., Mr. Bandi.

We learn that one of the kids from the orphanage was a girl named Murni. But no idea if it is the same one. Obviously, there is something about Murni that makes the adults very squeamish.  

Hanif, the father, is getting food from his car when he notices the blood on the car but also the black hair.  The deer he hit was brown.  Driving back he and one of his brothers, Jefri, find the girl.  They also find a bus full of the orphans and they are all dead. Murdered. 

They let their other brother Anton know and he drives back to see and go get the police.  He gets trapped on the bus and attacked by bugs. So many that his eyes pop out of their sockets.  Back at the orphanage the same thing is happening to his wife Eva.  Lina, believing she is too fat due to hormone treatments and begins cutting off bits of her flesh.   Eva rips off some of her skin and bugs come crawling out.

We learn the three boys as orphans discovered that Ms. Mirah had abducted a girl and was using black magic. So they locked her in a room where she banged her head against a door until she split her own skull open.  So with Mr. Bandi's help, they tore up the floor, put her body in, and covered it in cement. 

We see her ghost at one point. Damn. The Indonesians have some scary-ass monsters.

Nadya, Hanif's wife, discovers a bunch of photos of half-dressed underage girls that apparently Mr. Bandi took.  One of the girls is Siti, the woman married to Maman who invited them all there.   When confronted with the photos Siti tells everyone he did it with all the girls. When three were going to tell, he locked them in a room and poisoned them.  It seems that Ms. Mirah was protecting the girls and she was going to kill Mr. Bandi.   

Nif finds another picture and we learn that Murni was Ms. Mirah's daughter.

Something, Murni likely, begins to torture everyone. Eva is clawing her skin off, the orphans are being scalded with steaming water. Nif's children are getting whipped. It's all pretty brutal. 

Murni gets her head cut off, but puts it back on in an obvious nod to the first movie.  Nadya sets Murni on fire.

Later Nadya is picking Haniq from school but thinks she sees Murni. 

The movie ends with scenes from the 1981 original. 


Both movies were pretty good with some good scares and a good story.  Glad I watched them back to back. 

2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 48
First Time Views: 35


Dick McGee said...

"We get a "training montage" which involves Murni doing naked backflips under a full moon until smoke comes out of her head. This had to be near-pornographic for Indonesia in the early 80s."

I feel like Potter Stewart would have been very confused by this part of the film.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

True. Even by the standards of the US in the early 80s, the scene was tame. You could not see anything but a silhouette. But for Indonesia at the time? Crazy scandal I am sure!