Watch the Eerie New Trailer for ‘The Queen of Black Magic’

Indonesia’s contributions to horror cinema are unique, but they’re underappreciated in the grand scheme of things. The country is steeped in supernatural history and superstitions that have naturally informed genre filmmakers throughout the years. As such, the nation has produced some deranged, grotesque, and magical fright fare that begs to be seen.

In 1981, Liliek Sudjio unleashed The Queen of Black Magic, a tale of supernatural terror about a woman who gets thrown into the sea after being wrongfully accused of witchcraft. She survives the ordeal, and her quest for vengeance leads to her learning black magic, which she uses to punish the male populace in gruesome ways. Cue some bloody deaths and wacky moments, including one which sees a man tear off his own head.

The Queen of Black Magic has been relegated to the annals of obscurity, but that could all change with Kimo Stamboel and Joko Anwar’s upcoming retelling of the ’80s gem, which will stream exclusively on Shudder on January 28. Check out the trailer below.

The new story concerns a family that visits a rural orphanage to pay their respects to the ill caretaker. That’s the least of their problems, though, as they soon find themselves at the centre of an ordeal of the spooky variety. It doesn’t take long for the body count to start rising. Ario Bayu, Hannah Al Rashid, Adhisty Zara, and Muzakki Ramdhan lead the cast.

The retelling will hopefully encourage more horror fans to seek out the original, but this also seems like its own beast entirely. The film promises to bring “visceral body horror” and “tormented folklore” to the table, so it won’t be different from its predecessor in that regard. However, with Stamboel and Anwar at the helm, you can expect something original. Don’t be surprised if it’s one of the better horror offerings of 2021, either.

This is an exciting team-up. Stamboel and Anwar are responsible for some of the best horror movies to emerge from Indonesia in recent years. The former is one-half of The Mo Brothers, the duo behind the excellent Macabre, Killers, and Headshot. All of these movies are blood-splattered treats, so you can rest assured knowing this film will deliver ample carnage.

He also directed Dreadout, a rare video game adaptation that succeeds as both a horror movie and video game adaptation. The story is also rooted in native lore and spooky atmosphere, proving that there’s a lot more to the director’s arsenal than the blood, guts, and gung-ho action that he’s synonymous with.

Anwar, meanwhile, has received some international recognition in recent times. His most recent feature, Impetigore, was selected as the Indonesian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards. That movie is also influenced by Indonesia’s spooky folk traditions, so the writer is certainly no stranger to playing in this realm and delivering the goods.

Anwar has also shown that he can deliver a satisfying remake. His 2017 effort Satan’s Slave is the prequel/soft reboot of the 1980 movie of the same name. It’s another movie about rural life that deals with occult themes and delves into Indonesia’s cultural superstitions to great effect. Are you spotting a trend here?

As individuals, Stamboel and Anwar have put Indonesian horror on the map. Now it’s time to see what they’re capable of as a dastardly duo. I can’t wait.

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