|Plot Outline: Sherry Carson who runs some kind of public access|
opinion show, takes in a viewing of Montag the Magnificent’s show one night with her boyfriend Jack. Montag, unlike many magicians, doesn’t rely on silly things like wooden boxes to saw his female volunteers, he does it out in the open for everyone to see! The woman whom he does this to walks away perfectly fine, but afterwards when she’s in a restaurant, the wounds suddenly appear on her and she dies. Sherry, unbeknownst to her that the woman died the same night, walks away impressed while Jack is convinced it’s all lame. Sherry even goes on to mention Montag on her tv show. She then tries to get an interview with Montag, but he isn’t interested, but does want her to view his next show. Somewhere around this time Jack is starting to piece things together when he sees the girl who was sawed in half dead in the newspaper. The same thing happens when Sherry and Jack take in the second show, Jack notifies the police, but only after Montag finally concedes to come on Sherry’s show but only to perform. Now, Sherry has no idea what to expect of Montag’s performance, or even Montag himself.
The Review: H.G. Lewis, a man loved by many and hated by many more. I’m not a Lewis fanboy or anything like that, but I have to admit from watching a few of his films, I definitely get a kick out of them. I’ve seen The Gore Gore Girls, Blood Feast and now this. So far, this has been the most disappointing. For those of you who haven’t experienced the works of Herschell Gordon Lewis and haven’t read up on him, this is basically what he is to me: Ed Wood with gore. That’s basically the man’s output in a nutshell. I believe (although don’t take me for my word) I read a review or an article about Lewis once where he was said to take his films very serious and doesn’t like being compared to Wood, but if the shoe fits… Sure, Lewis’ films are a bit more professional as far as production goes, but when it comes to getting a response from his actors, Wood and Lewis are on even ground. Both feature some of the most over the top acting you could ever see in a ‘serious’ film. Troma tries often to duplicate the formula, but usually adds a tongue in cheek quality that is vastly different from these two pioneers of bad cinema.
It’s hard pinpointing what really screws Wizard of Gore up, but if I were to name the thing that really got in the way of me being able to actually get into the film, it was the incredibly terrible plot. Lewis isn’t known for having Mammet-like scripts, but this was just ridiculous. For one thing, the whole story is fleshed out over 100 minutes and NEVER goes anywhere! In my review for Dead Next Door I mentioned how much I loved just sitting and watching a 80 minute horror film that pulls no punches, well Wizard of Gore is basically the opposite. It tags on twenty extra minutes and the time just crawls by because we just keep going in circles. The writer of the film must have just ran out of ideas after the first ten minutes because we spend the rest of the film going in the same loop. We somehow end up at the magicians show about four or so times, each time with him brutally killing some young woman who doesn’t seem to be able to speak. It gets tiresome after the third time or so. I had no problems sitting through Gore Gore Girls or Blood Feast, but Wizard was actually hard for me to bare. It was still fun though and I guess that’s what matters. Plenty of hilarious lines, and basically anytime the magician opens his mouth it’s completely classic. His lines about reality in the beginning had me howling. It’s just funny to see a guy in a cape yell philosophical garbage, but maybe that’s just me.
The only thing most horror fans are going to care about is the gore, and from what I can gather, this is indeed Lewis’ goriest film. The chainsaw murder and the spike to the head deaths are both equally fake looking but also quite grotesque. The spike to the head bit started out laughable but near the end where he is ripping out the girls eyes I felt slightly grossed out. Not to the verge of vomiting or turning my head, but I’ve got a thing for eye gore that bothers me. These two alone are the sole reason to see the film. They both look pretty cheesy, but this is Lewis, what do you expect? I hate when I see reviewers who talk about how cheesy the FX are in films like this, I always feel like asking ‘why are you watching something like this then?’, so if you’re bothered by obvious dummy heads being decapitated, then this obviously isn’t something you should look up. The rest of the death scenes were fairly average for me, except for the final bit of gore which I won’t spoil here. So, there’s a lot of gore yes, but it’s all tied together by a plot strand no thicker than the hair off the top of my head. They obviously just wanted something to showcase lots of gore, and although that isn’t a bad thing in my book it still could have used some work. Especially in the editing department… especially in the editing department!
Not only is the film slow as molasses, the editor also must have been taking acid with the writer (what is up with that ending?) because he was definitely out of it if he didn’t see all the obvious mistakes and just complete absurdities within. For one, it was about halfway through the film before I realized that during the murders we’re supposed to be seeing things as they’re really happening (as in the magician playing with the girl’s intestines) and from the audiences eyes where there isn’t any real violence going on. At least that’s what I think was happening. To tell the truth I’m not completely sure. I thought it would have been odd that the audience stayed in place as a girl is sawed in half and then has her intestines played with in front of them. Then there are the quick jumps in the editing process that are just plain bizarre. I’ll keep this as spoiler free as possible, but in one scene we see a dead woman lying on the ground with a man’s pants legs in front of the camera but then there’s a strange jump cut to the SAME exact shot but without the pants leg in front of the camera. It was either a complete mistake or the strangest little edit I’ve ever seen. One last little note on the writing. After the second death, don’t you think the cops would have been able to establish the fact that both girls went to the same magician right before dying? That just seems like average detective work, I don’t see why they would need this LOSER to help them out. Ahh, but these are just the obvious complaints about the film. Sure, it’s bad. In fact, it’s terrible, but it’s funny and it’s entertaining. You’ll either love it, hate it or just not care enough to even form an opinion but any which way, you’ve been forewarned.