The Queen of Black Magic DVD Review

What’s it about ?:

A wedding ceremony is cursed and it’s bride stricken with hallucinations thanks to a mysterious streak of black magic. After a witch doctor figures out the direction of the source just before dying, the groom falsely accuses Murni, a women he deceived into deflowering. The groom and a mob of villagers hunt down Murni, burn down her home and tossed over a cliff. Murni is saved and healed by a mysterious stranger who promises to help her get revenge by teaching her the dark arts. Alone, betrayed, disrespected and thought of dead, Murni sets out to become the very thing the villagers accused her of being. The Queen of Black Magic.

The Very Lovely Suzzanne

The Good

This picture is one of the crowning achievements of Rapi Films, the “Universal” of Indonesia. It was one of the first pictures from Indonesia to make it out west. It’s mostly a character study as well as a supernatural revenge movie. Tons of character development are heaped on between killing villagers with bees or worms. Not only should the director, Liliek Sudjio be commended for such pacing but also the two leads. The distinguished W.D. Mochtar and the very beautiful Suzzanne, who thanks to this film, has become the Barbara Steele of Indonesia Horror.

Another reason this is a fun movie is the special effects of El Badrun. While these days, the special effects are pretty primitive, during the time the film was made it was revolutionary.Some of the stuff Badrun was doing not only in Queen, but in other films, were ahead of their time and wasn’t fully picked up in the Hollywood circles until three years later. So this film is sort of a document to SFX innovation.

Maybe you should get that looked at.

The Bad:

While there’s nothing wrong with the movie. The cast and crew utilized what they had to the best of their ability. The Indonesian government wouldn’t let this be shown unless there was a moralistic edge to it. So while it’s all fun to see this revenge plot go on, they had to shoehorn in the moralistic failing of practicing black magic as well as a showdown with a holy man. It’s like having a cop movie rev you up with high tension and action…and then having it all brought down by a twenty minute service announcement on how you shouldn’t break the law. That’s your ending. It just kills the mood and pacing. They did a good job trying to salvage it, but the damage was done.


The DVD:

Mondo Macabro does an awesome job getting this project together. The visual and audio dub which was lifted from the original print is masterfully restored. The color is vibrant and besides the hiss of the dub, the sound was crisp. The dub was done well might I add, no one in the vice cast sounded like they were there just to get paid.

Among the extras are a text essay on the start of Indonesian Cinema and it’s relation to Queen, the trailer which is kinda poor due to being ripped from old VHS, a catalog trailer of the Mondo Macabro Library and a eleven minute interview with El Badron, the Stan Winston of Indonesia. Just seeing this guy give a tour of his workshop and play with the costumes and prosthetics is fun in of itself.

My final thoughts? Definitely get this movie for your collection. Even if you’re not a fan of horror, it makes a great conversation piece.

Rating: 4/5

Dry Slaps: One for the Indonesian Government for making people waste film.

GS Reviewer: Royal

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