Magic, madness and mayhem join in this diabolical remake of the 1970 horror cult classic. Crispin Glover (Willard) stars as a master illusionist whose female audience participants (The Suicide Girls) are hideously murdered onstage, only to miraculously reappear untouched. But when a smart reporter (Kip Pardue, Remember the Titans) finds they re later turning up dead with the same wounds as those inflicted during the performance, his investigation leads to unimaginable terror. Featuring Bijou Phillips (Hostel: Part II) and Brad Dourif (Rob Zombie s Halloween), Wizard of Gore takes you on a terrifying journey deep into the heart of evil.
Remade as a tribute to the original Wizard of Gore, directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis of Blood Feast and The Gore Gore Girls fame, this "post punk" version of Wizard of Gore is actually better as a concept than as a filmic success. Director Jeremy Kastens hopes and visions for the movie, revealed during ample making-of and interview footage, eclipse what unfolds on screen, which is a convoluted bloodbath somehow held together by Crispin Glovers bizarre portrayal of Montag the Magnificent, the alleged perpetrator of violence. Plot-wise, Edmund Bigelow (Kip Pardue) drags his girlfriend, Maggie (Bijou Phillips) along to underground magic shows where Montag hypnotizes the audience into believing they are witnessing the dismemberment of his victims. Opening the first performance with maggot eating, the beheading of a rat, and Montags swallowing of a neon lightbulb which explodes in his stomach, one senses ample gore to come. Kasten does manage to make the goriest scenes the sexiest, mainly because he cast the tattooed strip-tease troupe, the Suicide Girls, to take Montags heat. Montags first victim, Cayenne (Cricket Suicide) is sliced like a holiday ham while others like Cecelia (Amina Munster) utilize prosthetic legs and more to beef up the already carnivalesque element throughout the film. But Wizard of Gore gets confusing as Edmund develops an obsession for discovering Montags magic, only to face his ultimate horror. As the entire film takes place in dark alleys, dingy nightclubs, and in secluded rooms owned by perverts and criminals, the tone is so secretive that it is hard for the viewer to figure out who is actually dying, and who is doing the killing. Though the idea of aesthetically updating Lewiss version to reflect the Los Angeles post-punk scene sounds potentially interesting, this version unfortunately has nothing on the original, which at least retains shock value when reminding oneself that it came out in 1970. Indeed, the best aspects of this Wizard of Gore DVD are the extras elucidating how the blood was made, how it was shed, and how the victims felt about getting slaughtered on set. The short documentary, "From Volunteer To Victim," for example, splices interviews with Kasten between clips of the Suicide Girls being cast in roles then braving the weaponry, which is great entertainment in itself. --Trinie Dalton