Black Magic (HK 1975)

Rating: **
Review Date: 11/21/15
Cast: Ti Lung, Ku Feng, Ni Tien, Lo Lieh, Lily Li, cameo by Norman Chu

Ti Lung and Lily Li are a happy young couple that's about to be married. Unfortunately, Ti's boss is the seductively sinister Ni Tien, and she'll stop at nothing to make him her love slave. Bringing more misfortune to the scene is Lo Lieh, who is desperately trying to woo Ni Tien so that he can inherit her vast fortune, but she wants nothing to do with him. As a last resort, Lo visits a mysterious black magician (Ku Feng in a dreadfully awful wig) and has him cast a love spell on Ni Tien. His plan backfires when Ni Tien also hires Ku Feng to cast a love spell on Ti Lung and kill Lily Li. Fortunately, another magician shows up to do battle with Ku Feng and save the doomed lovers.

I was really expecting a lot more from this classic Shaw Brothers horror film, but it's long, boring, and visually uninteresting. It's worth looking into from a cultural and historical perspective, but the Taoist wizard genre wouldn't take off and reach its peak until the early 1980's. Ku Feng is wonderfully devious (despite the silly wig) and Ni Tien is deliciously wicked. She's extremely sexy and bitchy, and it's fun to watch her hair style change in nearly every scene. It finally achieves some level of consistency towards the end, which ends up being her best look. It's strange to see so many kung fu actors in a decidedly non-kung fu film, and they all seem rather stiff and awkward. The visual effects are tacky, and the attempts at shock and gore fall flat. That said, there are far better Asian horror movies to invest your time in.