Black Magic (1975)

*. I don’t think I’ve seen another movie shot in Kuala Lumpur, so in that respect at least Black Magic was, for me, a unique experience.
*. Aside from the handful of location shots I didn’t find much else interesting about Black Magic. That feels like a weird thing to say, since it’s a zany movie. But it’s not zany enough.
*. The actual story is just an updated folktale involving a bad rich girl who wants a love potion to make a decent working fellow leave his fiance and become her toy boy. She gets said potion from a wicked wizard who carries a skull around. But the young man’s fiance and friends fight back by enlisting the aid of a good wizard.
*. That’s the outline, and you’d think it would be hard to screw up. But Black Magic is a total mess. It’s basically a sort of exploitation horror flick, but it isn’t scary or erotic in the slightest. The subdermal worms are the only creepy part (aside, that is, from the ghastly wallpaper), and the way the women have to be milked by hand to make the love potions will only appeal to the (hopefully) small percentage of the population with a lactation fetish.

*. The effects are laughable, but they make for the few enjoyable moments. The final battle is like something out of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but a lot cheaper. This cheapness has some unfortunate results elsewhere in the film. The severed finger, for example, has an uncomfortable similarity to a dog turd.
*. Speaking of dogs, the one we see here has to be the most unthreatening guard dog in film history. It’s so obvious he just wants to play.
*. I can’t think of much to recommend this one. It’s basically a bunch of bits and pieces thrown together without any strong connecting thread. We spend far too long, effectively the entire first half of the movie, dealing with extraneous plot elements. Then we’re left wondering if the evil magician was in love with the rich girl himself or if he was just interested in a one-night stand. If the latter, why does he keep hanging around? By the end I didn’t care, and all the Italian-style zooms and campy special effects didn’t make much of a difference to me.

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