Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Godaan Siluman Perempuan (1978)

... aka: Siluman Perempuan (Demon Woman)
... aka: Temptation of the Demon Woman

Directed by:
Ackyl Anwari

Here's some more ultra-obscure Indonesian weirdness. This one's based on a ghostly figure in Southeast Asian folklore called Penanggalan / Penanggal; a word that literally means “detach,” which are also referred to as Hantu Penanggal (or “detached ghost”). These bloodsucking creatures are typically created via black magic spells and curses and appear to be normal human females during the day. By night, however, their heads detach from their bodies, complete with stomach and entrails dangling beneath them, and fly around causing havoc. This being is common throughout Asian folklore and is known by many different names and with slightly altered mythology depending on the region in question. Elsewhere in Indonesia it is called a Leyak or Palasik. In Thailand it is called a Krasue. In Cambodia it's an Ap. In Mayalsia it's a Balan-balan. It's the Philippines it's a Manananggal. The two best known films (which aren't well known at all unless you're a big cult movie fan) featuring these creatures are the Indonesian production Leák aka MYSTICS IN BALI (1981) and the Hong Kong / Taiwan co-production The Witch with Flying Head (1982). There have been some more recent offerings as well, like the Thai productions Krasue aka Demonic Beauty (2002) and Krasue Valentine (2006).

The wonderfully animated Sofia W.D. (who went on to play the Leák Queen in the aforementioned Mystics in Bali and also appeared in the Suzzanna vehicle Queen of Black Magic) stars as an old, ugly Penanggalan named Siluman (a word that translates to “demon”). Siluman is an extremely powerful, entirely evil, cackling, fetus-feasting witch with crazy hair and over-sized plastic fangs. Not only can she detach her head and send it after people (notably pregnant women whose fetuses she sucks directly out of you-know-where), but she can also shoot out her eyeballs to spy on others from afar, make animals do her bidding, disappear and reappear at will and transform into a younger, beautiful woman. The immature and non-religious Ban (Fadly), who lives on a modest, secluded farm with his pregnant wife Karta (Rina “Hassim” / Hasyim) and their young daughter Marni, sets out on foot for the local village to get some food. Siluman, who's been spying on his family and wants their upcoming baby to “be my dessert!” transforms into the lovely young Sumirah (Doris Callebaute). Sumirah calls forth her legion of cobras to attack her so that she can meet Ban when he rescues her.

After laying a sob story on the naive young farmer about how she's been kicked out of her former home, Ban agrees to let her stay in a shack on their property. With a wave of the finger, Sumirah transforms the shack it into a luxurious, fully-furnished home and later turns it into a heated pool and even a disco club! It doesn't take much effort on her part to entrance and then seduce the family man, which leaves his perplexed wife wondering why he's not returning home at night. Sumirah starts out nice, giving Ban medicine for his wife, having sex with him, helping him win money and saving him from thugs who attempt to beat him up, but that soon changes when she starts planting ideas in his head and possesses him. She convinces him that his wife and brother-in-law Mario (El Koesno) are conspiring against him and plotting to poison him. In an enraged trance, he smacks his wife around and tries to stab Mario with a knife, so they cut a chicken's throat and dribble fresh blood into his mouth to break the spell. Things only get worse from there.

Gradually, Ban is transformed into a drunken, wife-and-child beating brute with sometimes green, glowing eyes who pukes up maggots and bloody worms, pushes villagers around and bites off bottle caps with his teeth! When his wife catches him with Sumirah, the two ladies get into a hair-pulling cat fight and Ban ends up taking his new mistress' side. He demands a divorce but his brother-in-law won't hear of it, especially since he and Karta are living on his family's land. After conveniently running into a white-robed shaman who exorcises the demon from within, Ban returns home with a clear head and catches the witch doing a little maintenance on her “pretty” head that was scratched during the fight with the wife. Now wanting to get back on the path of the Lord, Ban seeks out the shaman, who gives him a necklace that he's supposed to hang on his door for seven days and nights to keep the witch away. Unfortunately, Siluman is able to send a raven to remove the necklace, sneaks in, sucks out Karta's fetus and then kidnaps Ban and takes him back to the shack. Having finally gotten her “dessert” why she continues to terrorize the family is pretty much anyone's guess.

The shaman then sends Karta to see a crippled old beggar (“H. Sjamsuddin Sjafei” / Syamsuddin Syafei) who's actually some kind of witch doctor. Before he'll help her, he insists that she first take a bite of his wounded, maggot-infested leg (!!) Why? Well, it comes in handy later on when Siluman scratches her husband's chest and she pukes up green slime that instantly heals the wound. The wife and the beggar / witch doctor manage to chase the witch off, but she has other plans in store for the family. First, she turns Mario's wife (“Waty Siregar” / Emawati Siregur) into a cat and impersonates her. After unsuccessfully attempting to seduce Mario, she transforms back into the ugly witch, shoots him with her fingernails and then turns him into a goat. The beggar and Siluman then square off for the final battle which includes lots of cheap laser effects, fire, nets, a giant butcher knife, hair used as a rope and the witch's fingernails growing about five feet long and catching on fire. With the evil defeated, the shaman shows up to deliver the moral of our story: “If you embrace religion, this kind of thing will not happen again.” Ha!

This horribly edited, ridiculous yet never boring horror-fantasy schlock also features music stolen from numerous other films (including The Omen and The Visitor), tambourine-playing drag queens instigating a fight at a gambling parlor, two men forced to punch each other out because of a spell, sped-up fight sequences, someone really getting bitten by a snake and noodles being turned into worms. Unfortunately, there's also cruelty and death dished out to several animals. In one scene, a poor tailless cat gets snatched up, smacked in the face repeatedly, waved around and then thrown right onto the floor. During another overlong scene, the witch doctor unleashes his mini-army of mongooses onto some cobras, who proceed to chew them to bits. Those scenes are anything but fun to watch and put a damper over what is otherwise a pretty amusing and silly film.

Also in the cast are S. Parya (who also did the special effects), Baun Gazali, Karsiman Gada, artist Bokir and comedic actor Darto Helm (from Tuyul), who is prominently featured on the posters despite only appearing briefly as a drunken gambler. Naturally, this never saw the light of day here in the U.S., nor in most of the rest of the world. It's so obscure it's currently not even listed on IMDb and I could find no DVD, VCD or VHS covers for it. The version I saw was recorded from a broadcast on the Indonesian UHF station Surya Citra Televisi (SCTV) some time in the 90s.

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