Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
Are you certain you know what reality is??
on December 31, 2003
I have been providing my own horror reviews for many months now, and I feel that the best way to end 2003 is to critique a movie by the Godfather of Gore himself, H.G. Lewis. His greatest project is none other than "The Wizard of Gore," an outrageous cult masterpiece of murderous, magical mayhem! Filmed in 1970, it's one of the first fright films to present sickening onscreen violence as its main attraction. At the same time, the acting is unbelievably campy. Star Ray Sager brings forth a zany zest to his sly alter ego, Montag the Magnificent; I can best describe his acting as that of a horribly hilarious ham!
The basic synopsis is this: Montag earns his reputation as a cutting-edge illusionist (in more ways than one!). During each performance, he picks a young woman from the audience, bewitching her with hypnotic powers. Then, he butchers his pretty assistant right before the crowd's eyes. By the time he takes a bow, the victimized volunteer is magically restored and walks away unharmed. However, no one realizes that Montag's sadistic lust for blood is real, and that on the same night, every victim comes apart at the seams...literally!
Throughout the film, each trick becomes more gruesome than the last. In the first act of extreme gore, the mad magician cuts a redhead in half with a chainsaw (and this is before Leatherface came along!) Next, Montag hammers a metal spike through a lovely blonde's skull, scooping bleeding brains out of her hair! Later on, he has another female volunteer disembowled on a punch press! Last but not least, Montag forces sharp swords down two women's throats; each screaming victim has her tongue and esophagus savagely sliced open! Meanwhile, a gorgeous and outspoken talk show host named Sherry Carson (Judy Cler) is anxious to have Montag appear on her television program, "Housewives Coffee Break." At first, Montag is testy and refuses her offer, protesting like a Shakespearean diva. But he soon changes his mind as he aims to make Sherry his next victim (this is indicated by the numerous mirages of her bleeding right hand). Seizing her opportunity, Sherry regularly attends the theater to experience brand new illusions, dragging her skeptical fiancee Jack (Wayne Ratay) with her. At first, he's not at all enthused at having to sit and watch Montag over and over again. However, is interest in the weird wizard's work increases as he tries to rationally figure out how the tricks were done. When Jack discovers in the newspaper that each of Montag's volunteers are murdered, and that their deaths are eerily similar to how they were killed onstage, he believes that a psychotic serial killer is copying Montag's magic. Eventually, Jack joins the police department to investigate the baffling murders. I will not bore you with any more details. Let's just say that the film's conclusion will emit plenty of smoke and no mirrors!
To truly disgust and flabbergast the viewer, Lewis required the film to feature extreme close-up shots of mutilated organs and pumping arteries. He made sure that when it came to cinematic shock and sadism, "The Wizard of Gore" had nothing to hide. In the opening credits alone, Montag beheads himself on the guillotine, leaving moviegoers gasping for more. What makes Lewis's direction quite interesting, however, is how he carefully splices together TWO versions of Montag's tricks. On the one hand, the film's audience views his act as nothing more than an innocuous illusion. But on the other hand, WE as outside viewers witness the grisly reality behind the red curtain; we are the ones who truly see the blood puddles and hear the shrieks of terror! That concept makes "The Wizard of Gore" work. Buy the DVD while you can. You won't want to miss this humorous slice of hocus-pocus homicide!