However, the national horror cinema has been strongly unified and mainly focused on the “classic”. Asian theme of ghosts. This attraction to Asian cliches, combined with a fairly high quality of shooting, good camerawork and good dialogues, as a result, led to the fact that many modern Indonesian horror films (“Setan Budeg”, “Air terjun pengantin”) are not much different from South Korean samples.
They are less individual, they have less of the charm and crazy energy characteristic of Indonesian films of the 70s and 80s, when the film industry was not restricted or restrained by anything.
Until now, the best Indonesian horror film is considered to be “Mystics in Bali” (Leak) in 1981
During the late 70s and the first half of the 80s, the country was experiencing a serious flourishing of crime, all the forces of the regime were thrown into the fight against crime and separatists. The economy and culture were relatively liberal. The tax policy was favorable. At the same time, the police, military and paramilitares carried out mass sweeps, which were known in the history of the country as Pembunuhan Misterusus (“mysterious murders”):
The layar kaya 21 industry, on the one hand, operated in a favorable financial and political environment. On the other hand, the atmosphere of chaos, unpredictability and lawlessness typical of those years could not but affect the directors. “Mystique in Bali” reflected popular socio-cultural trends and at the same time preserved an incredibly powerful atmosphere.
The plot of the film is quite classic: a foreign researcher Katie, who studies ethnography and magical practices of the peoples of the world, comes to Indonesia to learn about the magic of Leak. Her friend helps find a way to the witch – Liak, who involves Katie in a cycle of nightmarish events and uses her to commit atrocities. According to the genre, the film is a cross between a scary fairy tale and a horror movie. The sorceress should appeal to connoisseurs of Slavic folklore — she is very similar to our Baba Yaga, not subjected to sugary processing. Many episodes are revolutionary for a xxi jogja, especially one made in Indonesia. For example, the scene in which Katie vomits live mice and worms is impressive even today.
The film has many references to classic Western horror films that will delight fans of it
For example, it is the episode when the sorceress takes possession of Katie’s head. This is a kind of magical act during which the head, along with the lungs and other viscera, is torn from the body and flies through the air, growing vampire teeth. At some point, this demonic vampire head is pinned down by a crowd of people armed with torches and sticks.
Of course, this is a reference to “Dracula”, which turned into a bat and which tried to catch the citizens who were terrorized by it (this episode was played quite often — for example, in the wonderful “Wax Museum” of 1988, where Dracula was still caught).
Literate and not limited by the conventions typical of old and developed film schools mixing of national myths with Western film stamps, a creepy atmosphere, good makeup for the early 80’s and a sense of some suffocating madness made “Mystique in Bali” an absolute masterpiece that has not been surpassed so far.