Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Virgins From Hell|
Actors: Yenny Farida, Harry Capri, Nina Anwar, Dicky Zulkarnaen
Director: Ackyl Anwari
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Horror
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Not the best place to start --
Greg Goodsell | Bakersfield, CA United States | 02/08/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Ever since a friend loaned me a bootleg of a film that he absolutely, totally hated called MYSTICS IN BALI (1981), this writer has rutted along sundry gray market paths in search of anything Indonesian. Converts to this particular brand of movie magic will vouch that the films from this far-flung land are like nothing else dreamed of in our philosophies. The fantasy and exploitation films of Indonesia are crude, but never ironic, attacking their lurid and questionable subject matter with a determination to entertain their audience at all costs. My search has since turned up quite a few gems, and there are quite a few movies in my collection that are in their native language, sans subtitles. I would go on to write two long, in-depth articles on Indonesian films for two other publications. I will even step on a few toes and say that comparable films from other nearby lands can only dream of matching the audacity of the projects emanating from this sprawling section of Southeast Asia.
And so it was with trepidation that I learned of Mondo Macabro's intention of bringing Ackyl Anwari's VIRGINS FROM HELL to the DVD format. My initial response was "what on earth for?" (Why not a domestic release of MYSTICS IN BALI?). Indo films are not traditionally good, and well, VIRGINS FROM HELL isn't any good. No, seriously. In spite of hordes of scantily clad jungle babes riding around motorbikes and shooting off machine guns, these VIRGINS indeed make for a lousy date. Director Ackyl Anwari shoots everything from static long and medium shots, with no camera movement of any kind, leading to a very stilted and boring movie. The subject matter simply does not lend itself to an Andrei Tarkovsky-styled presentation.
VIRGINS does have unusual art direction, such as cave interiors sprinkled with glitter and shag carpeting used as wallpaper. But even the most patient viewer of cinema sludge will be checking their wristwatches for this feature to end. In both of my previous articles, I pegged VIRGINS FROM HELL as "the film to miss" on the Balinese trash film tour. The Johnny-Come-Lately who jumps on this bandwagon due to Mondo Macabro's superior DVDs of LADY TERMINATOR and DANGEROUS SEDUCTRESS may just want to jump off after encountering these very frigid VIRGINS.
However -- as in most DVD purchases, it's the extras that make this an essential purchase. This two-disc edition features a plethora of exotic treats on display. On the first disc, along with a widescreen, restored version of the film, there is an essay on the Women-In-Prison genre, an essay by Pete Tombs on the background of the film and the Mondo Macabro promo reel. On the second disc is the documentary "Destination Jakarta" about the Indonesian film industry, and a fistful of trailers for many other Indonesian genre pictures, ranging from serious war docudramas to the popular THE WARRIOR series (with action star Berry Prima) to even more horror films that has thus far escaped my purview. The trailers vary drastically in quality, but you won't care. Pete Tombs wisely ends the trailer park with the one for MYSTICS IN BALI, perhaps supremely confident that this film, above all others will lead countless other viewers such as myself down a rabbit hole to a most curious and wondrous cinematic wonderland."