Friday, March 13, 2020

Musnahkan Ilmu Santet (1989)

... aka: Black Magic Annihilation
... aka: Destroy Black Magic

Directed by:
H. Maman Firmansjah (Maman Firmansyah)

Four evil black magicians led by Rudy (Rudy Wahab) perform rituals around a misty, skull-filled cave. They levitate off of the ground, the earth cracks open, a big rock comes out and the image of a newlywed bride forms on it. We're next at the slow-motion outdoor wedding reception of the woman seen in the rock. The pleasant event suddenly becomes a free-for-all massacre as the warlocks have picked it as the perfect place to practice their magic spells. The cake and other things explode, snakes invade the refreshment table, plates levitate and impale people and the entire thing turns into one big bloodbath. After nearly everyone is killed, including her husband (who gets torched) and her father (who's killed by an uprooted tree), virginal bride Hindun (Joice Erna) manages to escape into the woods. She then spends a terror-filled night being pursued by the killers until she's finally cornered and passes out. The wizards take her back to their cave and plan on sacrificing her but, just as the knife is coming down, Hindun miraculously disappears. Luckily for her, a black magic queen (Devi Ivonne) happened to see what was going on and decided to intervene. She scoops up Hindun and flies back to her hidden cave lair.

Although at first resistant, Hindun soon falls under the queen's influence. Her soul is separated from her body and then set on fire, she learns how to do a 360 turn with her head and other nifty magic tricks from her new master. Meanwhile, an associate of the black magicians keeps busy hypnotizing and kidnapping young women to hand over to Rudy after they're fittingly delivered to him in coffins. One of the girls is dragged off to a blue and red lit room, is placed out on a table where bubbles fall on her and then is horrified by something she sees. Another is killed when Rudy places his hand on the top of her head, it starts smoking and she's then reduced to a pile of bloody bones.

Arriving in town in the midst of all this is Helmi (Hengky Tornando), a previous boyfriend of Hindun's. Once he learns of all of the deaths and of Hindun's disappearance, he decides to look into matters with help from an older mentor (Bung Salim) and a couple of his goofy (and it later proves, cowardly) friends (Dorman Borisman and Mandra Bokir). When word gets back to Rudy about his presence, he sends one of his men to attempt to kill him with a fireball but it's warded off by prayer. When that doesn't work, one of the wizards and some regular ole human thugs try to kill him in a graveyard at night. Hindun shows up there and kills a bunch of them with boards, a rope and by shooting bullets out of her mouth, spinning someone high up into the air and then dropping them on the ground.

After she kills a second of the wizards by causing him to crash his car by sneaking snakes into it and then blowing it up, Hindun gets into a magic duel with the two remaining black magicians that lasts a surprisingly long time... around 20 minutes! This is where the film really shines. One of the magicians grows time lapse bark on his face, his chest erupts in vines and limbs shoot out of his ears, that then all attack Hindun. As the vines hold her in place, Rudy sends a giant saw blade after her, but Hindun's sorceress friend steps in and sends the blade back to kill the tree wizard. Finally, Hindun must face off against the powerful Rudy all on her own. Their fight involves phantom daggers, fire ropes, wind, a demon hand bursting through the ground, someone getting thrown around rooms and dragged across the walls by an unseen force, a hand jabbed into a chest, a face torched by fire and not one, not two, not three, not four, but five person-crashing-through-a-window shots. There's so much going on that the house it takes place in can't take it any more and decides to explode.

When it comes to its narrative, this thing's a mess. The pacing never seems right and many of the characters (the former boyfriend, his friends, etc.) are completely disposable in the grand scheme of things and don't add anything to the film. The relationship between Hindun and the underutilized Ratu Santet / "Queen of Witchcraft" should have been further developed instead. That said, there's so much crazy magic stuff going on here at most times that this is seldom dull and it's is actually more entertaining than a lot of other higher-budgeted films of this type. It's almost like the filmmakers saw various scenes in other black magic films, said "Hey, that was cool" and then just decided to assemble those all into one film... plot and budget be damned! They clearly didn't have enough money to do effects as they're mostly cheap and poorly executed but that merely just enhances the fun here.

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