I love illusionists. I grew up on Doug Henning (who was known for his huge illusions, but was best at small, close-up work) and other TV magicians. My dad loved magic, and while neither of us was good at it, we both enjoyed watching it as much as possible.
In Asia’s version of “Insert Region Here” Got Talent, this year was dominated by an Indonesian woman who performs under the name of The Sacred Riana. Sacred Riana brings something to stage magic you just don’t see much these days: pure, balls-out horror.
See, according to her management, The Sacred Riana is over 100-years-old. She clearly claims/pretends to engage in actual magic, somewhat of a taboo with western magicians who are very clear that what they do are illusions and not actual sorcery. Given Indonesia’s status as an Islamic state, this is a very brave thing to engage in. Her illusions blend a number of horror genres and types of witchcraft, with Riana sometimes being painted as one dabbling in black arts, and others as a heroic character saving the audience from evil.
During Asia’s Got Talent, she played with a very haunted dollhouse, conducted a seance that goes awry, and conjured up an army of zombies and demons. (!?!) In another illusion you can find on YouTube, she’s brought forward and burned as a witch…but miraculously survives and appears elsewhere hale and hearty instead of being deep fried. Throughout the show, she took great delight in scaring the living hell out of fellow Indonesian judge, singer Anggun.
The Sacred Riana carries herself in the manner of Asian ghosts: long, black hair in front of her face, only revealing one ashen side, always with an intense glare. She twitches, randomly, and says very little, refusing to answer questions. She never breaks character for anything, maintaining her terrifying demeanor at all times.
This woman and her talented group of performers is a gift to the horror community. The illusions are fairly basic and not amazing, but the performance and showmanship is out of this world. We need her in the United States immediately! Hey Knott’s Scary Farm! Elvira is now out of her theater show at your park, right? Man, The Sacred Riana would be able to do a hell of a show every night during the Halloween Haunt, I’m just saying. She’d fill the joint with fans of spooky magic every single show.
You can check out her winning finale performance from Asia’s Got Talent below!