‘Mystics in Bali’ from 1981 is truly one one wild and crazy Indonesian horror flick and just what I was craving during lockdown! My first viewing of this gem would have admittedly been better had I not known a damn thing about the plot, so if you’re reading this and are interested, I’d suggest checking it out blindly to get maximum enjoyment! So you’ve been warned…
Anyway I’m kinda new to the whole Indonesian cult cinema scene, but I can say so far everything I’ve checked out has been pretty top notch. Mystics in Bali is 100% weird and wild. It follows an American named Cathy who travels to Bali to do extensive research for her book on the mystic ways of the mysterious black magic cult of the Leyak. She meets the handsome Mahendra a local man with knowledge of the dark local magic who also happens to have connections to a woodland witch. He takes her out to the forest to her lair and the bizarre woman vows to expose the secrets of the dark arts and their rituals to Cathy. Excited to get this exclusive info for her book she continues to meet the witch, who in turn tricks her into becoming her evil minion, transforming her into a Penanggalan, a horrific flying head with internal organs hanging from her neck!! GAAAHHHH!
Things go from bad to worse, as Mahendra has fallen in love with Cathy by this point and has no other choice than to ask his uncle Machessea practitioner of magic himself, to help him stop the witch and save Cathy from the curse of the sinister Leyak. This leads to a pretty epic battle towards the end making the whole thing a such a bizarre slice of foreign 80’s horror, it’s most definitely essential viewing for genre fans! There’s a pretty intriguing story here to fuel the horror as well along with the sets and general locale of the film make this a special treat by just that alone. There’s also some low budget but fully ambitious special effects at play here that really amp up the general madness of this movie. Also prevalent are a few relatively shocking moments here that are unlike anything I’ve personally ever seen before in a horror flick.
Some “must see” sequences that will stick with fans of the genre and leave you scratching your head in disbelief! The creature Cathy becomes is clearly the main attraction here and surely is one of the freakiest movie monsters I’ve seen in some time. The final showdown is a pretty great time as well, sure it’s a clunky battle, but it’s a ton of fun to behold. It’s no wonder that this movie was done by the same director, H. Tjut Djalil who also brought us the mega bonkers ‘Lady terminator’ which is def worth tracking down! I’ve also heard that his movie ‘Dangerous Seductress’ is quite a wild gem as well. So..Mystics in Bali is a true oddball, one of a kind horror flick and leads me further down the path of an era of movies other countries were producing during the 80’s that rival some of the best the USA had to offer-Check it out!
Here’s an interesting new comic book from Black Mask called ‘The Forevers’ due out in shops September 14th. It’s got quite an intriguing story set up in the debut. It follows a group of people hungry for fame, fortune & adoration who all perform a strange ritual together. They make a pact for life together. They Flash forward ten years and it seems their wishes have for the most part seem to have come true. They’re all living a life of success, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bed of roses. It’s actually quite the contrary as most of them living the dream are immersed in an ugly culture of wealth, drugs and meaningless relationships. It’s clear fame has changed them, but just how much?
We’ve got a cast of pretty unlikable characters in the first issue and as one of them suddenly dies it sets their world into a bizarre mystery as a masked killer appears into their lives for reasons yet unknown. It’s an interesting premise and this debut shows this book has some potential to shape up into a unique read. However it felt a bit like a glimpse into the oddly pathetic and highly superficial lives of people like the Kardashians & the like of ego maniacal rockstars. So there’s not a real connect here for me thus far as most of these characters so far are totally un-relatable to me and I imagine will be for most others. This in a way could be the book’s strong point in the end and hopefully we’ll get some fleshing out of these characters that will indeed rope us in to actually giving a shit about what happens to their greedy asses. Perhaps with more flashbacks we’ll see exactly how they came to this point and that perhaps they weren’t always a gang of total d-bags.
Now as far as the art goes I’m going to admit I’m not exactly a huge fan of this style. It feels a bit like it’s trying be a bit Bill Sienkiewicz or Jon Muth but ends up feeling like someone pulled up some shots of famous stars and copied them altering them via rotoscope. I could be wrong though, i’m not sure how people make modern comic books like this, but I assume there’s a computer involved for most of the process. It however might work here for the type of story trying to be told. Even though not being a big fan of the art I’d at the least check out issue #2 to see where this all goes. So far it’s a decent debut with some potential to bring us something unique to the table. So if you’re a bit bored with all those superhero titles this might spice things up a bit in your weekly journey to the comic book shop…