Sunday, February 7, 2010

Jiang Tou (Black Magic) (1975)
HONG KONG --- horror

Dir: Ho Meng-Hua

All societies on the earth have pretty much dabbled in some form of the dark arts or another. Whether it be the infamous voodoo of the caribbean islands or the wiccan practices of Eastern Europe, being in league with the devil has no borders. In this such case, we turn our attention to the shores of Hong Kong.

Known primarily for the nigh endless droves of chop-socky forays such as "The 36 Chambers of Shaolin" and "The Five Deadly Venoms", the Shaw Bros. studio decided to expand out of the martial arts genre. Jiang Tou "Black Magic" is one of these efforts. A rich sexy widower, named Luo Yin who owns her late-husbands construction business, has designs on a young engineer named Xu Nuo. Xu Nuo has a fiance, while Luo Yin makes her intentions known to him, only to be denied a relationship.

Meanwhile, Luo Yin also has a suitor, in Mr. Liang Jiaje (played by Five Fingers of Death star Lo Lieh). A man struck with puppy love so bad, he goes to all ends to get the woman of his dreams, unfortunately his motives are ruled not of love but of lust, and worse off greed. He goes to the shady sorcerer-for-hire, San Kan-Mi, where he is told to gather some materials for the spell to work, for sinister love potion. After gaining the items, Liang returns to Luo Yin later on, and the potion mixed in a drink works for a night, but that is all. Realizing, she has been used, Yin coerces an answer out of Jiaje, and plots to use this black magic magician for her own purposes, such as gaining the love of Xu Nuo.

While Xu Nuo and his fiance plan marriage all the while, Liang gets his just desserts 'Tales From the Crypt' style and Luo Yin pays San Kan-Mi to put a powerful spell on her hearts desire. It all leads to a climatic confrontation between a benign wizard named Master Furong and San Kan-Mi. The film features, throughout some seemingly step-by-step instructions for the process of San Kan-Mi's potions and spells. Complete with gratuitous nudity, graphic violence and gore, Jiang Tou (Black Magic) is one of the better genre pieces from the Shaw Bros. studio.