Researching for a book about the various dark magic practices from all over the globe, Cathy, a writer, finds herself in Bali. Intent on studying the black magic of Leák, Cathy seeks the console of an evil witch who promises to train her in the dark arts. Unfortunately for Cathy, the witch's plans are far more devious, turning Cathy into this vampiric-type slave who dines on the local villagers, aiding the witch's plan to gain immortality. With the witch growing stronger, it's up to the local holy men to fend off the forces of evil. H. Tjut Djalil's Mystics in Bali is a bizarre horror film combining western film structure with eastern mysticism. This is certainly another film that fits into the "so bad it's good" category, with this particularly film reminding me quite a bit of Nobuhiko Ôbayashi's films. The effects are gloriously cheesy by traditional standards but Mystics in Bali is loaded with creativity, bringing lots of unique and horrific ideas to the table. My favorite of these has to be Cathy's vampiric slave - a floating head with her various guts and entrails dangling from below. The film's atmosphere is simple yet effective as well, using lots of dense fog and darkness that is reminiscent to some of John Carpenter's work. Narrative speaking, the story is done in a very matter of fact type way, with details emerging throughout in an attempt to aid the viewer in explaining the convoluted web of mysticism. I do wish the film didn't waste time with its super cheesy love story between Cathy and her guide, Mahendra, a narrative thread that no doubt was pulled directly from western filmmaking. In the end I wish a subtitled version was more readily available (the dubbing is awful), but Mystics in Bali is certainly recommended for fans of the B-movie Horror and "So Bad Its Good" sub-genres.
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