Black Magic
(GONG TAU) 1975

Director: Ho Meng-hua

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Black Magic In a jungly rural area of Southeast Asia, a type of black magic called gong tau or "trained heads" is practiced, a combinaton of the darkest Chinese herb lore, & bone-magic inherited from African witchcraft from times untol.

The film Black Magic (Gong tau, 1975) explores this area of magic when a woman pays for a spell to kill her husband together with his mistress.

There follows a truly gross-out roasted rotten corpse spell concocted by the sorcerer Sha Jian-mai/San Kan-me (Ku Feng), followed by some voodoo doll stuff, then we watch illicit couple die horribly.

Black MagicA priest (Ku Wen Chung) finds the sorcery-slain couple & begins a sutra that, some distance away, scares the bejabbers out of the sorcerer. He begins attaching protecting charms to his room's walls, but the sutra wins, & the sorcerer runs from his collapsing hut in terror.

The film then cuts to a modern city's construction crew for a skyscraper. The film's opening had a certain sleezy charm much of which is lost when it leaves the jungle for modernism & big-city characters.

Nudity & adult content, like when the sorcerer kills the active lovers together, or when he "milks" women or shoves rice of a vagina as part of a ritual, makes it wildly unsuited to young viewers. Yet the rest of the content is often so juvenile, it's hard to comprehend how this was such a commercial success in its day.

As Asian shlock horror, it has an obvious appeal for fans of bad cinema, but Black Magic seems to have had a broader audience than that, having inspired sequels plus a whole slug of imitators.

Black Magic Miss Zhou Luo Yin (Tanny Tien Ni) is the young wealthy widow of the construction company's late boss. She's an aggressively horny gal desirous of one of the hardhat workers, Xu Nuo/Hsu Lo (Ti Lung).

Xu Nuo has a girlfriend already, the ever so sweet Miss Wang Quming or Chu-ying (Lily Li). Her very existence makes Miss Zhou freakin' jealous.

A gangsterish bad guy, Jiajie (Lo Lieh), wants Miss Zhou's money, so attempts to seduce her, but she's disgusted by him. So he makes a journey to the jungle to find the sorcerer & get a love potion.

Zhou Luo Yin is herself so annoying it's hard to feel sorry for her that a disgusting man is placing a love curse on her. Soon she is obsessed with him by the spell's power.

The sorcerer required payment in the form of a chunk of gold the size of a skull. But after one day the love potion wears off, & Jiajie doesn't want to pay the hefty fee since he feels cheated. Besides, he hasn't any method of paying up without access to Miss Zhou's wealth. This means he's made an enemy of the sorcerer, & won't be long in the world.

Black MagicIntrigued by the influence of the sorcerer's herbal concoction which caused her to become enamored of a disgusting pig for one day, Miss Zhou wants to try something more lasting on Xu Nuo who has remained annoyingfly faithful to his sweetheart.

By evil magic requiring a voodoo doll of Xu Nuo, Miss Zhou is able to attract the long-dreamed-of Xu Nuo on the couple's wedding day, when he inexplicablly abandons his bride & forgets he even got married.

The priest or white sorcerer Furong reappers to attempt to counter the evil love spells & death curses. He's the priest who had earlier used sutras to fight the sorcerer. Much of what follows is Priest vs. Sorcerer shtick. Eventually they'll have a big final clash with a phony storm on a rear projection screen, FX that would've delighted Ed Wood.

Though i didn't care a lot for Black Magic, many do regard it as a tasteless classic, & I must at least admit Ku Feng as the "trained head" sorcerer really puts his full spirit into being an appalling villain.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

[ Film Home ] - [ Film Reviews Index ]
[ Where to Send DVDs for Review ] - [ Paghat's Giftshop ]