Muahahahahahhaha. Welcome to the crypt, boils and ghouls. I have many tricks and treats for you. OK, we’ll knock off the Crypt Keeper bit, but that should have been enough to let you know that this is the Halloween version of Trailer Thursday here at VCinema. Halloween, due to its European roots, is typically not celebrated in Asia though some countries might due to western influences and general inclination to have a reason to party a little. With that said, we will bring you a little 1975 horror classic directed by Ho Meng-Hua for none other than the Shaw Brothers, Black Magic.
Black Magic was certainly not the first Chinese/Hong Kong horror film and not even the Shaw Brothers’ first (that honor is generally given to Li Han Hsiang’s 1960 ghost tale, Enchanting Shadow), but it has garnered resonance in a region that, sometimes crassly, cashes in on every cinematic trend and profit-maker for all they are worth (Bruceploitation being one such example). For all intents and purposes, Black Magic, which was popular at the time of its release, is one the starting points of supernaturally themed Hong Kong horror featuring evil (and good) wizards and witchdoctors, magic, potions, and lots of creepy crawlies running all over and out of various orifices (e.g. the trailer for Centipede Horror). The film can also be seen as the starting point for such wildly bizarre imagery that it practically synonymized Asian cinema with “weird”. The 2007 Herman Lau-directed Gong Tau: An Oriental Black Magic is evidence of the influence of Ho’s film in both its name, theme, and visuals.
Ho Meng-Hua who, before Black Magic, was a versatile director who had his hands in many commercially successful Shaw Brothers films such as The Monkey King series (The Monkey Goes West, Princess Iron Fan, and The Cave of the Silken Web), the martial arts actioneers Vengeance is a Golden Blade and The Master of Kung Fu, is best known in the West for his mid ’70s genre works such as The Mighty Peking Man and sequel-only-in-name Black Magic 2 (released in US theaters under the name Revenge of the Zombies to cash in on Romero’s Living Dead series, ironically enough).
After you check out the trailer, watch the full-length feature. It’s a real treat.