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John’s Horror Corner: Black Magic 2 (1976; aka Gou hun jiang tou), an Indonesian Shaw Brothers movie black magic and sultry lady zombies.

September 27, 2022

MY CALL: If you love Asian shock cinema, then this movie is like an art history lecture—it’s not exciting, but you can appreciate it anyway. The content itself is more illustrative of lines drawn in the sand that would later be honed, bested and perfected by more provocatively gory successors. This movie likely won’t shock you. But you’ll see where those that did found some of their inspiration. MORE MOVIES LIKE Black Magic 2:  For yet more bonkers Asian horror, consider Mystics in Bali (1981; aka Leák), The Boxer’s Omen (1983; aka Mo, Black Magic 4), Seeding of a Ghost (1983; aka Zhong gui), The Devil’s Sword (1984), Evil Dead Trap (1988; aka Shiryô no wana), Lady Terminator (1989) and, perhaps, Black Magic (1975).

So, is this your first Shaw Brothers cult classic? Not 60 seconds deep into this Shaw Brothers release and we are treated to a skinny-dipping crocodile attack scene leading into a crocodile hunting and gory gutting scene. Yup, boobs, blood and guts for all. Especially boobs, there’s a lot of that.

Drs. Chi Chung Peng (Lung Ti; The Warrior’s Way, Black Magic, The Legend of Drunken Master) and Shi Chen-Sheng (Wei-Tu Lin; Black Magic, Corpse Mania, The Flying Guillotine) have discovered a pulsating incurable infection which, after much doubt, they can only attribute to black magic.

The malady is the work of the evil magician Kang Cong (Lieh Lo; Black Magic, Super Cop), who raises the dead to serve as his zombie slaves. Kang is a classic cat-stroking villain, literally. Unaware of his evil intentions, our doctor protagonists seek his help and, in turn, Kang sends beautiful zombie ladies to do his bidding. Yeah, it’s as shallow as it sounds… hence the abundant boobs. Did I mention that this ancient black magician remains ever youthful by consuming breast milk? Yeah, it’s like that.

Other than seeing Kang revivify corpses by nailing spikes into their heads, there is some brief disturbing imagery of a monstrous childbirth, a lot of voodoo doll-based death, festering wounds, time lapse decaying corpse shots, and infections with wriggling worms. Needless to say, director Meng-Hua Ho (The Oily Maniac, Black Magic, The Flying Guillotine) was doing his very best to entertain fans of bizarre horror.

Despite all the supernatural jazz, the scoring, tone, direction and style give this movie more the feel of a 70s cop movie, like a crime investigation thriller… but with lots of nudity, bewitched women, some horror gore, and some sultry lady zombies.

I’m not sure what I expected here. I guess I was hoping to find the inspiration for The Boxer’s Omen (1983), or something in that vein. I’ll bet this movie felt a lot more wild in the 70s. But… not today, it doesn’t. So for me this was just okay. I guess it was kind of a fun ride to see an early influencer for Asian black magic cult cinema. But oh so tame compared to shock cinema spawned from the 80s.

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