Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Magic Curse (1977)

1977 - The Magic Curse (company unknown)

[A Hong Kong production filmed in the Philippines; released in France as “Au Pays De La Magie Noire”]

Directors/Screenplay “Tommy Loo-Chun”/Chin-Ku Lu, To Man Po Producer Chang Tsung Lung Music Wong Chu Yen Editor Yu Sheung Makeup Mok Wai Hong Production Manager Peter Chen Lau Production Supervisor Wong Chen Yen Assistant Director Cho Kin Martial Arts Perter [Peter?] Chan Lau Lighting Technician Lau Piu Chung Camera Operator Simmy Wong

Cast Jason Pai Piao, Pinky de Leon, Peter Chen Lau, Tan Chia Bee, Mong Hu, Woung Eune En, Nam Soon Joung, Hwang Kun Chi, Choi Mu Ung, Roger Cooquia, Vic Silayan, Philip Coo

Fred Adelman’s review from his Critical Condition website:

When his uncle's plane crashes somewhere in the jungles of Borneo, nephew Lin Wen Ying (Jason Pai Piau; BRUTAL SORCERY - 1986) flies to Borneo by helicopter, grabs a few native guides and heads into the jungle to search for his uncle, who was carrying a fortune in jewels on the plane. They run into a tribe of lepers and the guides run away in fear, forcing Lin Wen Ying to kill a few of the attacking lepers with his shotgun. It turns out that their leprosy was caused by a magic curse put on them by high priest Abdullah and only death by an outsider will release the curse (One of the dying lepers reverts back to his normal human form, tells Lin Wen Ying the whole story and then begs for one final shotgun blast to finish him off, which Lin obliges). Abdullah is the high priest of the Snake Tribe, who periodically sacrifice nubile young virgins to the Snake God, while their priestess, Filona (Pinky DeLeon), watches unapprovingly. Abdullah has the hots for virgin tribal girl Sophia and when he sees that she is about to lose her cherry to tribe member Chow Ming, he performs a magic ritual where Sophia turns into a vampire and bites off Chow Ming's penis, killing him (Just as she bites it off, the camera switches to a tribe member peeping on the couple as he bites into a banana!). Lin Wen Ying witnesses Sophia committing suicide after waking up from her trance and seeing what she has done, so he runs over to her and all she says is "Abdullah!" before she dies (To which Lin replies, "Him again?"). When Lin asks members of the Snake Tribe if they have seen his uncle and the jewels, he gets an arrow in his shoulder for his troubles. He escapes and is found unconscious by Filona and some handmaidens (who we see frolicking buck-naked in a pond with some surprising full-frontal nudity), she nurses him back to health and they fall in love. Now here is where it gets weird. Filona tells Lin that the Snake Tribe witnessed his uncle's plane crash and Abdullah stole the jewels from his uncle's corpse. Filona, who doesn't approve of Abdullah's magic or his virgin sacrifices, shields Lin from Abdullah, but once Abdullah finds out Filona is in love with Lin, he fashions a voodoo doll from Lin's pillowcase (!) and puts a magic curse on him, which Filona counters using her magic powers. Lin leaves the jungle and promises to come back, but just to make sure he does, Filona puts a magic curse on his lips, telling him if he kisses any other girls while he is away, they will die a horrible death and he must return to the jungle within a year to marry her. This leads to a whole lot of trouble for Lin once he returns to civilization and it's best left to the viewers to witness for themselves. Needless to say, Lin forgets about his promise to Filona rather quickly (What do you want? He's a man!), which leads to death, destruction and plenty of snakes. Will Lin learn to keep it in his pants before more women meet their maker in horrible fashions?

This Hong Kong Production, co-directed and co-written by Tommy Loo-Chung (actually Lu Chin Ku; THE BLACK DRAGON [1974] and TIGER OVER WALL [1980]) and To Man Po (a.k.a. "Lee Tso Nam"; EXIT THE DRAGON, ENTER THE TIGER [1976] and THE TATTOO CONNECTION [1978]), is a crazy combination of fantasy and martial arts genres with plenty of fighting, gore and nudity. While not as outrageous as BLACK MAGIC (1975), you have to give points to MAGIC CURSE for making Lin such a horndog, even though he knows there's a curse on his lips. He picks up women at bars and parties, beds them immediately and then the women die horribly shortly thereafter (they hallucinate they are being attacked by hordes of snakes, making the die from fright, heart attack or falling down a staircase). Lin simply moves on to the next woman, telling himself that their deaths were merely coincidences! Particularly hilarious is that during these lovemaking sessions, brassy lounge or jazz music plays on the soundtrack, which makes it sound like some cheap porn film. The plot of the film is all over the place, opening up in a bowling alley, then switching to the jungles of Borneo (the bloodiest section of the film; with human sacrifices, stabbings, impalements, bloody magic rituals and, of course, the penis-biting), then back to civilization and, finally, back to the jungle again, where a cop returns with Lin to make sure his story about magic curses is true. The finale, where Filona battles Abdullah (who walks around carrying a staff with a human skull attached at the top), contains fireballs, snakes and a funny shot where Abdullah catches a huge (and obviously Styrofoam) boulder right in the chest. As usual, this is a worthwhile Hong Kong effort for those who know what to expect from these kind of films: Non-stop craziness with a sense of the absurd. Also starring Peter Chen Lau, Tan Chia Bee, Mong Hu, Woung Eune Em, Nam Soon Joung, Hwang Kun Chi and Choi Mu Ung.

Review from the Internet Movie Database:

Intercontinental were the quintessential late 70's exploitation film distributors. Their bread and butter lay in cheap Spaghetti Westerns, Kung-Fu movies and sex items like Tokyo Emanuelle, The Sexorcist and the much banned Seven Women For Satan. Released early 1977, The Magic Curse is the most out of control movie to bear the Intercontinental mark. In classic Wardour Street fashion it was sold mainly on the sex angle, the poster illustrating the film's shower and nude bathing sequences and the X certificate on display. What then was an audience to make of this mad mix of horror, jungle adventure and Kung-Fu film with mysticism and a sound-track shamelessly borrowed from Hammer movies thrown in for good measure!!! Jason Pai Piau stars as Man-Ying a ten pin bowling playing playboy, whose rich Uncle has crashed his plane in the Borneo Jungle, quick to come to his relatives aid Man-Ying heads out on the next plane trip to Borneo. A few steps into the green inferno and Man-Ying and his less than enthusiastic guides find themselves in a leper colony! Only these `lepers' look more like a bunch of hungover rockabilly singers and practice cannibalism! Confused? it appears that Abdullah the high priest of the jungle's snake tribe cult has a habit of using his black magic on anyone who gets in his way, which goes a long way to explaining why most of the jungle population are gut sucking blue-faced lepers. This Abdullah's a real card all right, cackling like a true lunatic behind his giant white beard and levitating skulls to impress his pals `high priest you're great'. After asking one too many questions Man-Ying is beaten, shot with an arrow and left for dead, only to be saved by a bunch of passing Amazon Women!

These Amazons look quite a sight, wearing plastic horns and minimal leopard skins, they turn out to be the other faction of Abdullah's snake tribe, the cult being sexually segregated. In fact the only time the two sides in this battle of the sexes seem to get along is when they are messily sacrificing nubile virgins to the Snake God. But whereas Abdullah and his thugs use their black magic to raise hell, the female Amazons lead by Fleoha (the wonderfully named Pinky De Leon) prefer calmer hobbies like frolicking naked in a pool. One look at his moustached mug and Fleoha soon falls head over heels for Man-Ying's rugged charms, however the sexually frustrated Abdullah tries to put a stop to the romance threatening to stick pins into an effigy of Man-Ying unless he gets out of town. As a parting gesture Fleona bites our adventurer on his lip, no she's not just being kinky she's placed the titular curse on him, whose rules dictate that if Man-Ying has sex with anyone else but her they will die `and very horribly too'. Suddenly we're abruptly back to civilisation and the film transforms into a Sex and Kung-Fu movie right in front of your eyes!!! Far from heeding her warnings of celibacy Man-Ying hits the chic disco's of Hong Kong like some demented bunny, no woman is safe. Then again what gal worth her weight in blue eye-shadow could resist Man-Ying's fashion sense which suggests that he stopped by Carnaby Street between plane rides from Hong Kong and Borneo. His understandably confused one night stands end up on the receiving end of The Magic Curse, that entails snakes terrorising them until they suffer coronaries. Its not all bad luck though, when Man- Ying gets into a fight with a tough street gang to their disbelief he turns green and his snake friends attack them! With all these girl's tickers giving out the police are soon on Man-Ying's case. What do they do, lock him up, arrest him or have him committed for his rantings about Borneons who worship reptiles? No they happily accompany him around the globe to follow up on his theories.

The Magic Curse is wildly out there defying any attempt to pigeon-hole it down to one genre- you can just imagine an Intercontinental frontman scratching his balding head over what to do this thing before giving up and sending it on its way to the fluff market. Directors of nominal Kung-Fu movies, Tommy Loo-Chun and To Man Po agreeably push the right buttons for a rollicking little exploitation number, with cheap sex tagged on as an 'afterthought' to ensure a foreign sale. Every trick in the hat is pulled out for our entertainment, be it disappearing acts, earthquakes and flaming rocks- little however will prepare you for Magic Curse's most outragous scene- an Amazon girl Sophia rejects Abdullah's lecherous advances in favour of a passing hunk. Soon Sophia and her boyfriend get down to water bound l'amour, but Sophia is not feeling herself due to Abdullah's ol' black magic that transforms her into a green faced ghoul with very large teeth... and bites her boyfriends privates off!!! Magic Curse's off-kilter narrative, dedication to shock value scenes and not forgetting those rubber snakes being thrown in the direction of slumming Hong Kong actresses- must have satisfied fleapit cinema audiences looking for something different back then, years later its still endlessly fun viewing. `Long live the Snake tribe' indeed.

From Jack Jensen’s blog:

Brian (of the excellent Cool Ass Cinema blog!) asked if I've seen Tony Liu Jun Guk & Lee Tso Nam's THE MAGIC CURSE and yes I have. Lars Jacobson drew my attention to it a couple of years back (he told me he's so exited about it he always force feeds people with it. And thank you for that, Lars!) and I could have sworn I posted the cover scans here last year when I found and won the über über rare UK tape but damned if I can find the scans now. Oh, and to make it even MORE rare the tape I won is the INSANELY RARE Betamax tape!!!!! Either I didn't post them or I did but forgot to label the post and somehow it doesn't come up with the search function.

Oh well, here they all are anyway (and no it's not like I MIND showing off this tape, [I would have a big grinning smiley here if I could!]). Completely mint condition! I think someone bought it and put it in a drawer right away and never took it out again before they sold it off. It's an awesome tape; dubbed in English and letterboxed. I kept a close watch on it all week, every single day, when the auction ran last summer. I'm aware Miltos of Cinehound wanted it too. I'm aware there's both a French VHS and a DVD release but they are both dubbed in French which obviously is no good, LOL (this is info I have from French sites that I've checked anyway but you know how it is with Internet sites, sometimes they're not gonna list the English option if the webpage is intended for another market, however, the DVD probably doesn't carry the English track. But who knows unless you check :/ ). If you or anybody wanna look for the french tape or dvd the title is Au Pays de la magie noire.

About the film; The main character's uncle is reported to have crashed his plane over the jungle so he takes off on a rescue mission and encounters heaps of wild stuff. This film has EVERYTHING. It's completely whacked-out crazy! There's zombies, wild women, gore, nudity, insanity, all of it. Haha. No, I'm not gonna write a proper review but it's very entertaining, just take my word for it. I guess it was a product of Hong Kong's having been become tired of straight kung fu films and so they began to chuck everything else into the films to keep people's attention. Well, they certainly kept mine with this one, that's for sure.

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