Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mondonesia: Mystics in Bali

This poor movie has been in review limbo and must be set free. Part of the problem, I think, is that I have seen many films in the same vein & certain ones seem to take precedence. For example, Eternal Evil of Asia was just plain nuts & had to be reviewed right away. This placed Bali and tomorrow's review- Seeding of a Ghost- on the back-burner. In addition, I have written about the film in at least one list, making me feel like I was already done with it. So what is the movie about? Basically, it is about what happens when reporters get too deep in a story. It is also about what crazy wizard lady will do to get revenge on society. Mind you, this is quite different from Queen of Black Magic, although both hail from the same country. Both films do features some bizarre and dated special effects, so that is something to look forward to. This is...
Mystics in Bali
The film begins by introducing us to our heroine- a spunky reporter who has the burning desire to get a story. The story is about the secret society of the Leyak, the Indonesian equivalent to an evil voodoo spirit. She settles into the environment very well, even hitting it off with a local man. He introduces her to an evil witch, who prefers to talk from behind some bushes. She makes our heroine do lots of errands for her, gathering certain objects. Of course, the weirdness comes in when the woman grabs an object from behind the bushes with her super-long tongue. Oh my God, its Gene Simmons! The lady gets more pushy towards our heroine, even telling her what underwear to put on. To her credit, our heroine picks up most of the big magical ideals very quickly. Actually, to be fair, she merely says that she does. Did you expect the movie to show you everything? Ha! That's just silly.
Unfortunately, the evil witch has some evil intentions for our heroine. What?!?!? Anyhow, she utters the infamous line 'I need to borrow your head for a while' and causes the woman's head to float off of her body! I bet you count on your hands how many films that you have seen that feature a Penanggalan. Don't worry, though- it's not going out alone. The body part is still connected to its spine and guts. The thing flies off in a slightly-very-dated special effects shot and seeks out a pregnant woman. It flies in through her window and goes to town on what's inside of her. For the record, they show nothing. For that, you'll have to watch Aswang- also on DVD from Mondo Macabro! This causes some havoc in town, however, and our heroine's friend suspects what is up. Gee, I wonder. Fortunately, his uncle is a good wizard and can help out. He reacts oddly-calm to the sight of the woman's headless body waiting in her house. His solution: stick a bunch of pins in the wound, which makes her head not able to return. Oh, that was easy.
It's not over yet, kiddies! The whole thing builds up to the battle between the witch and the wizard. Highlights include lots of drawn-on effects that feel taken from Roger Corman's The Raven, some flying and a person being turned into a pig. Man, how many Indonesian movies do I need to see with this happening in it?!? It's all a big, crazy mess and I won't spoil it for you. Just go see this already.
This movie is good, but definitely with some caveats. For starters, you have to understand the climate and time in which it was made. Rules in Indonesia actually required these guys to pump out movies on a regular basis- one for every five that is imported. If you ever wondered about the questionable quality and logic attached to these movies- see The Devil's Sword and The Warrior- this is your explanation. As for this movie, it is very steeped in regional mythology and may not be accessible to those who are not a fan of foreign horror. If you can accept the silly effects, you can have a good time with this. The 'crazy foreign horror film about magic' is something that was oddly popular in its day and quickly died out. I defy you to find a movie like this made in the last five or ten years. If nothing else, this features the insanely-awesome Mondo Macabro trailer reel. Ah reel, you never let me down!
Next on the agenda, a Shaw horror film about love, revenge and demonic wizards. You only get this kind of stuff from China! Stay tuned...

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