2021 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 8: Bewitched (1981)

8. CRAFT NIGHT: Cast your eyes upon the screen, whence a witch’s spell is surely seen. 

Detective Wong King Sun is investigating the horrific and violent death of a little girl at the hands of her father, who claims that he was under the influence of a wizard. This takes the detective all the way to Thailand to learn more and, as happens in films such as this, to be cursed by a powerful magician named Magusu, who was supposedly played by an infamous Malay sorcerer. That’s what the credits say and who are we to deny the words of Shaw Brothers or any exploitation studio when you get right down to it?

Wong King Sun decides to fight black magic, he needs a white magic monk. What follows is an entire movie of one-upmanship battles over whose magic is strongest, including a gut-churning moment when the evil magician grabs that pause that refreshes. Except that we’re not talking about Coca-Cola. This dude likes to sip from a big urn filled with unborn children and blood.

If that last sentence made you wince, turn back now. Bewitched is a ride through absolute chaos. It’s gorgeous, it’s frenetic and it’s also unafraid to try and make you throw up throughout its running time. And if this one seems like it’s going to be too much, its sequel, The Boxer’s Omen, goes even further. Director Chih-Hung also made the equally blood and madness-filled Corpse Mania.

We all know that old Chinese chestnut of advice, right? Don’t take the virginity of village women, ghost them and then just move on or you’ll be covered in body hair, unable to get it up and eventually hammering a spike into your daughter’s head so that she stops being possessed and attempting to kill you.

“The moral of the story is to admonish people against casual sex and to be on guard against witchcraft.” That’s what the end says. As for me, I’m all about movies with neon colors, glittery bats that come to animated life and actual black magic rituals being used to entertain audiences.

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