Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mystics in Bali (H. Tjut Djlil, 1981)

Bad fashion continuity, floating head cunnilingus, female armpit hair, impromptu Indonesian thigh tattoo inspection, or cackling Leák Queens, which topic should I open my long-awaited review of Mystics in Bali, an epic tale, based on the novel, "Leák Ngakak" by Putra Mada, about black magic, overly curious white people (they ruin everything) and human-pig hybrids? Well, as for "bad fashion continuity," leave that subject to the nitpickers who seem to get off on pointing out errors and goofs in movies. What else does it say there? "Floating head cunnilingus." Yeesh. I have a strong feeling that this is the topic that most people gravitate towards when attempting to discuss this movie, and I can't say I really blame them for doing so. If you're thinking to yourself, what about female armpit hair? All I have to say is, what about it? While I enjoyed the cackling Leák Queen, I don't think cackling, whether it be by a Leák Queen or a non Leák Queen, is really my forte. You know what that means? C'mon, don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about, it's the only one I haven't mentioned yet. That's right, impromptu Indonesian thigh tattoo inspection is my drug of choice. Oh, and make sure to stand clear because I plan on abusing the hell out of this particular drug over the course of this mostly futile exercise.

Let's examine the contents of this so-called drug before we begin, shall we? "Impromptu," the act of doing something that is not planned or rehearsed. And you could definitely classify the act of inspecting the lead characters thighs as not planned or rehearsed. I mean, how many Indonesian men with faint mustaches get up in the morning and say to themselves: I can't wait to inspect the thigh tattoo on my white American girlfriend that was put there the previous night by the elongated, electrified snake-tongue belonging to an elderly Leák Queen? Not many, I assure you.

"Indonesia" is an archipelago made up of around 17,500(!) islands. And the name "Indonesia" comes from the Greek words Indós and nèsos, which mean "island," I think.

A "thigh" is, well, I don't really have to explain what a thigh is, now do I? A "tattoo" is a mark people get embedded in their skin; the person drawing the tattoo is usually covered in tattoos as well. And an "Inspection" is the act of reviewing an object in a meticulous manner.

It should be said, though, the thigh tattoo Catherine (Ilona Agathe Bastain) gets in Mystics in Bali isn't your average thigh tattoo. In other words, it's not a blue butterfly or a rose on fire inked by some dirtbag with a rockabilly haircut. Uh-uh, the tattoo Cathy gets on her thigh will enable her to perform black magic.

However, in order to apply the thigh tattoo that will enable her to perform black magic, she must first remove her skirt. Even though the Old Leák Queen (Sofia W.D.) clearly enunciates the phrase, "remove your skirt," Cathy just stands there with her long yellow skirt still on. In order to expedite the skirt removing process, the Old Leák Queen tells Cathy again to "remove your skirt." However, this time, the Leák Queen says it in a louder voice.

It's not that Cathy didn't hear the Old Leák Queen tell her to remove her skirt, it's just that Cathy isn't sure she wants her skin to be marked by an elderly witch with a taste for blood. Put yourself in Cathy's shoes, would you blindly agree to have one of your luscious thighs marked by an elongated, electrified snake-tongue? Think about it, you don't know what she's going to put on there -- it could be a picture of a naked Lee Iacocca riding an openly homophobic tractor for all you know.

While I totally thought that Cathy was right to exercise caution. At the end of the day, I think we can all agree that it's time to remove your skirt. You heard me, Cathy. Remove your fucking skirt! I'm sick and tired of waiting. Don't make me come out from behind these bushes and make me remove it myself.

All white people are interested "exotic cultures," and Catherine Kean is no different in that regard. On the other hand, all straight men like pussy, and Mahendra (Yos Santo) is no different in that regard, either. Combine Cathy's interest in "exotic cultures" with Mahendra's love of pussy and you're looking at a situation fraught with consequences of a fucked up nature.

Do you think if Cathy wasn't an attractive woman who looks amazing in shorts that Mahendra would be so gung-ho to help her meet a Leák master? I don't think so. Sure, he tries to warn her that messing around with the Leák brand of black magic is quite dangerous, but deep down inside he knows that she will totally have crazy naked sex with his Balinese ass if he helps her.

After some fake hand-wringing, Mahendra finally agrees to arrange a meeting between Catherine and a Leák master. Of course, the meeting is set to take place in the middle of the jungle at night. But don't worry, the brightness of Cathy's yellow shirt (sprinkled with green and pink squares) will help them see in the dark. Noticing someone twirling in the distance, Cathy and Mahendra hear the Old Leák Queen's trademark laugh for the very first time. I don't know how Cathy and Mahendra managed to keep it together after hearing that laugh, 'cause I would have lost my shit big time if I heard that laugh in a real world setting.

Sporting long grey hair and even longer fingernails, the Old Leák Queen agrees to teach Cathy all about Leák black magic. In order to finalize the deal, the Old Leák Queen offers to shake Cathy's hand. Proving that the Old Leák Queen has a sense of humour, she leaves one of her hands behind. (Huh?) Leák masters, as we'll soon find out, can remove their body parts at will, and the Old Leák Queen does this with her hand, which crawls away when Cathy throws it on the ground. As it crawls away, the Leák Queen lets out another laugh.

They meet again the following night, only this time, the Old Leák  Queen is hiding behind some bushes. This is the scene where Cathy gets her thigh tattoo. It apparently gives Cathy a taste of the Old Leák Queen's power. In exchange for this taste of power, Cathy and Mahendra bring her jewels and a few jars of blood.

Instructed to come alone next time, Cathy is given a special skirt and a cloth with spells written on it. In the meantime, Cathy asks Mahendra to decipher her thigh tattoo (to her it's just mumbo-jumbo). Mesmerized by their creamy smoothness, Mahendra seems hypnotized by her American thighs. But Mahendra manages to tell her what the tattoo means. (And that is?) Oh, I'm sorry. Yeah, I have no idea. You try paying attention to the presentation of pertinent plot points when Ilona Agathe Bastian is standing near the middle of a room wearing nothing but a tropical themed red bikini and a devilish smile. It's nearly impossible.

In my favourite non-thigh inspecting scene, Cathy and the Old Leák Queen, who are both dressed the same, dance and laugh together to this synthy-sounding music. (Am I crazy, or did Cathy and the Leák Queen just turn into pigs?) No, you ain't crazy, man. That totally just happened.

During another meeting, the Leák Queen borrows Cathy's head for a short while. (Hold on, borrowing heads, turning into pigs, what's going on here?) Just go with it. You see, what makes Mystics of Bali so great, besides the eerie atmosphere and the close-up shots of women's thighs, is the story is based on a real Balinese folklore. Anyway, the reason the Leák Queen needs to borrow Cathy's head is because she needs more blood, specifically the blood of an almost new born baby. In the film's most disturbing scene, Cathy's head (which has lungs and other various organs attached to it) devours a pregnant woman's baby just as she's about to give birth.

At first, I thought she was performing cunnilingus on the pregnant woman. But when I saw that the pregnant woman's baby bump was slowly shrinking, I quickly realized that she wasn't licking pussy, she's eating the pussy's baby.

A floating head ate my baby! Sure it did. Tell it to a judge, honey.

Alarmed by what Cathy is turning into (a floating head for hire/unwitting disciple of the Old Leák Queen), Mahendra asks his uncle Machesse (W.D. Mochtar) for help.

What ensues is a flaming ball fight (giant fire balls collide in the night sky in an attempt to attain dominance over one another), the Old Leák Queen gets makeover and becomes the Young Leák Queen (Debbie Cinthya Dewi), mice vomit happens, female armpit hair rears its lickable head, a meeting where the village elders discuss the seriousness of the floating head situation takes place, neck wound toothpicks are employed (one's that are specially designed to prevent vampiric floating heads from returning to their bodies), an electrified black magic kung-fu showdown, and, of course, lot's of laughing. It should go without saying, but if you were to take away the Old Leák Queen's signature laugh, this film would lose a sizable chunk of its appeal. Mwahaha!!!!!


  1. You're a thigh man too? I, personally, am way big on bellies and thighs. I remember this movie; ah, the things a man will do to get laid. Unfortunately, I don't know any masters of black magic, so that is a tactic which is unavailable to me.

    1. Mmm, thighs. Slice 'em thick, Ma... Lydia Lunch/Taija Rae-style.

    2. Aw, fuck yeah!!!!! No one has black majick thighs like Lydia.

  2. I have this somewhere. The poster was too good to pass up. Black majick witch ritual and thighs? Sign me up right now!!!!!

    Not all honkeys are interested in "exotic" cultures. Some are just afraid or distrustful of anything different than them. But that could honestly go for anyone regardless of race. Its kind of sad. Now I'm just being cynical and old.

    1. Lydia's thighs look extra delicious when adjacent to white stockings.

      As for Honkys.. Uh, I remember liking "Honky's Ladder" by The Afghan Whigs.

    2. Whatever happened to The Afghan Whigs? They were on 120 Minutes all the time way back when.

      Dear god in heaven... I watched the first five minutes of that Lydia play and had to turn it off. Too much thigh-based destruction for the human mind to bear. Will have to watch it later after some mental prep.

      Anywho, the mythology behind the leyak and their close cousins the penanggalan and krasue is very interesting. Reminds me of the nukikubi, the Japanese female ghosts whose pretty little head pops right off to fly about and cause trouble. Often sucking blood, biting the shit out of people, and so on. Not sure if it munches babies but that could come up. But to actively want your noggin to dis-attach, your guttiwuts coming with, so you can wreak havoc? Now that's commitment. All kinds of abjection and "Powers of Horror" type readings there.

      Really need to watch this now. Definitely enjoy your review.

    3. Of course the problem with reading "Powers of Horror" into it is that Kristeva was a huge racist toward Asian cultures (her "About Chinese Women" is utter colonialist drivel.) Sometimes I wonder if she and all of her post-structuralist pals wouldn't have been better off dropped in a Jess Franco cannibal jungle film.

      Oh, who I am I kidding. That would have ruled.

    4. The Afghan Whigs apparently reunited for some gigs in 2012.

      "Too much thigh-based destruction for the human mind to bear."

      Let me at them!