The Wizard Of Gore (1970)

DVD Cover (Something Weird Video)
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Connections: The Wizard Of Gore

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Ray Sager
Ray Sager
Judy Cler
Judy Cler
Wayne Ratay
Wayne Ratay
Phil Laurenson
Phil Laurenson
Jim Rau
Jim Rau
Review by Chad
Added: March 12, 2006
Montag The Magnificent (Ray Sager) is a stage magician whose magic tricks appear to be quite realistic to both the people in the audience and the volunteer that he performs them on. These tricks are so realistic, in fact, that the women he performs them on have a tendency to die shortly afterwards. As Montag explains before his first show, you can't always trust what you see before you, and this piece of advice couldn't be any truer. You see, Montag is both a magician and a hypnotist, and he takes some time before the grand finale of each show performing routine, run-of-the-mill magic tricks in order to make time for his hypnosis to take affect on everyone. When the time for said finale rolls around, it's not very difficult to find a "willing" volunteer, and when he performs one of his many tricks on her, the audience is tricked into believing that they are watching a well-coordinated stunt and nothing more; what they're not seeing is the way that Montag literally kills these women before their very eyes.

Television talk show host Sherry Carson (Judy Cler) is one of the audience members on the opening night of the show, and she is so impressed by Montag's magic that she becomes determined to have him appear as a guest on her show. Montag will have nothing to do with it, claiming that he doesn't grant interviews, but Sherry persists. She decides to keep coming back to his shows, and she drags along her less-than-enthusiastic boyfriend Jack (Wayne Ratay) to each one. Jack, as it turns out, writes for the local newspaper, so when he hears about the "random post-show murder" of the first woman, he becomes intrigued... after all, he was in the audience with a serial killer that night, or so he believes. When the body count starts to build after each one of Montag's performances, Sherry and Jack (along with the local police force) decide to do some investigating into Montag's "magic."

Herschell Gordon Lewis is widely-regarded as "The Godfather of Gore" thanks to his discovery that people like to be grossed out by gratuitous on-screen violence. There were movies that showed violence and bloodshed prior to 1963's Blood Feast, but none went to the extremes that Blood Feast did. After the success of that movie, Herschell quickly realized what he had on his hands and went on to make quite a few movies exploiting that fact. Others have done the over-the-top gore movies since then, of course, but very few come close to comparing to the realism, not to mention the sheer amount of bloodshed and the ingenious methods of human disposal that Herschell implemented in his offerings.

Now, make no mistake about it; this is not the kind of movie that you'd want to pick up if you're looking for a scary or thought-provoking experience. There's not much to be found in the scares department, but if you're in the mood for a damned good slasher'esque flick that doesn't skimp on the gore, you can't go wrong with this one (or most of Herschell's other offerings). The storyline found here does play a more prominent role than in his other films, and it sets things up adequately enough for a film like this. This certainly isn't an award-winning script, but it's better than one would expect and moves things along nicely.

I'm sure that all of you readers have seen a magician saw a lady in half, be it on television, in other movies, or perhaps even at a local magic show. But, have you ever seen a magician saw a lady in half with a chainsaw... and without the benefit of a coffin-like box to conceal the trick? Prior to this movie, I hadn't either. If the thought of seeing various gore scenes like this intrigues you, and if you like your gore to be both realistic and plentiful, The Wizard Of Gore will not disappoint.

This seems to be a sad reflection of Hollywood these days, but I find myself saying this in nearly every review lately; there's a remake of this movie in the works, and I'm sure that it will piss all over the original. With the current trend of getting a PG-13 horror movie into theaters in order to cash in on the mall-going teenagers and with today's "hard R" films being but a shadow of the gory goodness that the classics were, I don't have high hopes for this remake. Perhaps I'll be proven wrong someday, but I highly doubt that, especially in this case. Gorehounds should make this one a purchase, not a rental, while the aforementioned mall-going teenagers should move right along to the latest Scream sequel. 8/10.
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