Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wizard of Gore (1970)

The Wizard of Gore


Directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis
Written by Allen Kahn

Ray Sager .... Montag the Magnificent
Judy Cler .... Sherry Carson
Wayne Ratay .... Jack
Phil Laurenson .... Greg
"I am Montag, master of illusion, defier of the laws of reason, a magician if you will. But then, what is a magician? A person who tears asunder your rules of logic and crumbles your world of reality so that you may go home and say 'oh, what a clever trickster he is, what a sly deceiver' and go to sleep in the security of your own real world. What is real? Are you certain you know what reality is?"


This is the speech Montag the Magnificent gives us when he slides onstage looking like a member of the Dimestore Magician Coalition in his cheap tuxedo, cape and high rising top hat. Upon completion of his diatribe, he promptly severs his own head with a guillotine and then saws a female volunteer in half with a chainsaw. The audience, despite all the blood and flying entrails, seems unimpressed. Until her miraculous resurrection, when she takes her bow unharmed.

On the second night of his performance, he hammers a metal spike through the skull of yet another female. On the third night, he drills through a girl's abdomen with an industrial punch-press machine. On the fourth, he forces two women to swallow swords, slicing them up from the inside out. And each night, they emerge from the bloodbath unharmed.

For a few hours, at least. It seems that shortly after the show, Montag's volunteers die a mysterious death exactly as it was depicted onstage. The police think it is the work of a crazed fan, acting out Montag's stage tricks for real. Sherry Carson, the host of Housewife's Coffee Break on morning television doesn't seem to care much one way or the other. She just wants Montag to make an appearance on her show. He refuses an interview, but promises her "an illusion. A very special illusion!"


What he brings is a B-grade version of the Vulcan mind-meld and a couple of burning two-by-fours that threaten to destroy everyone in the viewing audience. We, at least, survive only to be treated to a head-scratching finale that attempts (and fails) to test our perception of reality.

This is an H.G. Lewis film, plain and simple. The plot is thin, the scenes are padded, the acting is wretched, the gore is bright red and over the top. For some, this may be what makes a film bad. For others (fans of B-grade horror and exploitation, for example) this is exactly what makes the film fun! If you enjoy this type of stuff, don't pass Wizard of Gore up. If you don't, then just walk slowly away.

It definitely gets kudos for nearly making me lose my lunch when Montag plucked the eye out of his volunteer's socket, and for finding a red-head who could apparently actually deep throat a sword (even if it was plastic).



DVD extras include the original theatrical trailer, commentary by Lewis himself, and the Herschell Gordon Lewis Gallery of Exploitation Art.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR: The headline, Psycho Murder In Restaurant; Magic lobotomy; The amazing disappearing-reappearing blood trick; Lunch at Chicken Unlimited; Go-go dresses galore;

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Ray Sager (Montag) was the producer of Prom Night parts 2, 3, & 4; Phil Laurenson (Greg) played a police officer in H.G. Lewis's Gore-Gore Girls; Judy Cler (Sherry) and Wayne Ratay (Jack) were never in a film before Wizard of Gore, nor were they ever in a film again;

View the trailer below!


1970
Rated R
96 minutes
Color
United States
English

Wizard of Gore is currently ranked #13,974 in DVDs at Amazon.com. Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, or buy it today!

This truly is "An Astounding Walk Down the Bloody Corridors of the Occult"!
--J/Metro

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