Friday, March 18, 2011

Black Magic With Buddha (1983) review

image: HKmovie database


Chen Kuan Tai (Chin Ben), Candy Yu (Annie), Lo Lieh (Exorcist Master), Linda Chu (Ben's sister)

Directed by Lo Lieh

***NOTE: A Divix copy was the source of this fairly brief review. I am unable to do images at this time.***

Ben and his old master descend a cave in some remote location and uncover a coffin housing a mummy. Upon removing the brain from the corpse, his elder master hands him a flask of holy water and instructs him to send the demon brain back once he has been granted but a single wish. Building a shrine to the great brain and being greedy, Ben uses the powers of the pulsating mass for other wishes including murder. For each extra wish, the brain becomes enraged and must be fed. Not wishing to undertake the plane trip to the jungle to return the brain back to its home, he buries it in his backyard. This causes even more problems.

Absolutely absurd and undeniably enjoyable trash about an evil, heavy breathing brain that grants wishes, but with disastrous consequences. Lo Lieh, the man with the FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH, directs this outlandish Indonesian lensed horror flick that attempts to, and succeeds in reaching new heights of ludicrousness; at least till the holy grail of gory Hong Kong hokum, THE BOXER'S OMEN (1983) splattered theaters a few months later. What keeps this movie with the most ridiculous of scenarios interesting is that, outside of the last ten minutes, it's played totally straight. Once Buddha comes down to Earth surrounded in a FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981) opening credits sequence light show, Lo Lieh's Exorcist Master is "joined" by the 'God With the Four Faces' to bring down the 'Brain Devil', which has consumed Ben with the help of about a dozen brain beasts. Covered in some kind of egg sac, Ben emerges a walking brain monster and confronts the two wizards.

Chen Kuan Tai plays totally against type in this one and the scenes where he's praying to this obscenely heavy breathing, blood caked brain are a riot despite the serious air the filmmakers are aiming for. Lo Lieh, whose only other notable directorial effort was the Shaw Brothers production, CLAN OF THE WHITE LOTUS (1979), is apparently channeling his past glories in some of his Shaw Brothers horror outings such as BLACK MAGIC 2 (1976) and HUMAN LANTERNS (1982), only here, he opts for a good wizard complete with white fright wig. Incidentally, a scene in a disco plays that "Don't Let Go" song that's also heard in both Wang Chung's MOBFIX PATROL (1981) and George Romero's CREEPSHOW (1982).

Sadly and inexplicably, BLACK MAGIC WITH BUDDHA has yet to make an appearance on DVD, but was released on VHS tape and VCD at one point. It is surely the only movie on the planet where a bloated, breathing and glowing brain assimilates over the face of a Mona Lisa painting backed by cues taken from Ridley Scott's ALIEN (1979).
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