CURSE 111: BLOOD SACRIFICE (PANGA)
(director/writer: Sean Barton; screenwriters: story by Richard Haddon Haines/John Hunt; cinematographer: Phillip Grosvenor; editor: Micki Stroucken; music: Julian Laxton/Patric van Blerk; cast: Christopher Lee (Dr. Pearson), Jenilee Harrison (Elizabeth Armstrong), Dumi Shongwe (witch doctor), Henry Cele (Mletch), André Jacobs (Geoff Armstrong), Zoe Randall (Anthea Steed), Olivia Dyer (Chloe Steed), Gavin Hood (Robert), Jennifer Steyn (Cindy), Pepsy Mabozela (Elizabeth’s servant); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Christopher Coy/; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; 1990-UK/South Africa)
“The so-so B film was incredulous, but I’m a sucker for even only barely acceptable Christopher Lee films and ones that have witch doctors fully dressed for their evil role.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A dated African-set supernatural curse film that has stereotype characters for both the black natives and white colonizers.The 1991 version of this series has no connection to the other films before it. Director-writer Sean Barton (“Hearts of Fire”) bases it on the story by Richard Haddon Haines and co-writes it with John Hunt. The so-so B film was incredulous, but I’m a sucker for even only barely acceptable Christopher Lee films and ones that have witch doctors fully dressed for their evil role.
In 1950, the recently married American Elizabeth Armstrong (Jenilee Harrison) is pregnant and living with her wealthy British husband Geoff (André Jacobs) on his inherited family sugar cane farm in rural East Africa. While one day riding in a car driven by the farm’s loyal African foreman Mletch (Henry Cele), they plan to drop off her sister Cindy (Jennifer Steyn) and her boyfriend Robert (Gavin Hood) on a picnic ground and to visit a nearby neighbor. When they come across a Nyonga tribal ceremony of a goat sacrifice conducted by a spooky witch doctor (Dumi Shongwe), against Mletch’s advice Cindy jumps out of the car to save the goat. The intruders all receives a curse from the witch doctor for rescuing the goat, and Elizabeth for taking the goat home with her is cursed that her child will not be born alive.
Dr. Pearson (Christopher Lee), the white family doctor, is called by her husband to treat her morning sickness in her home and he gives her a magic potion to relieve her illness.
Soon an unseen demon terrorizes everyone with a machete who interfered with the traditional ritual.The curse is explained by the eccentric Dr. Pearson, who knows more about the witch doctor and his tribe’s customs than any white man should know. As the story goes, according to tribal tradition a goat must be sacrificed if a tribe member loses a son and if someone saves the goat they will take the goat’s place in being slaughtered.
We soon observe all those do-gooders who couldn’t mind their own business at the goat sacrificial ceremony being slaughtered by the machete-wielding sea demon. It leads to a climax where a traumatized Elizabeth has a show down with the rubber-suited ancient monster.
Too bad the always reliable Christopher Lee has little to do but explain the curse and tell his tragic secret life story, or this might have been a better horror film. At least it was entertaining.
REVIEWED ON 10/21/2019 GRADE: