Thw Wizard of Gore review by The Grim Ringler


There is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing someone you know in a movie, though it is a feeling that can be quickly stolen when you suddenly realize that said movie is a piece of crap. So was my plight recently as I watched the remake of the classic HG LEWIS cult film THE WIZARD OF GORE. The original Wiz was a pretty fun gore movie about a strange magician that performed acts of magic and illusion that gave the impression that someone had been murdered horribly. When the performance ended the person was but, dun-dun-dun, they died later in a similar way to how they had been 'murdered' on stage. The movie was not great but it was fun and had scads of gore and just a fun feel. Ah, so naturally someone decided that it'd be swell to remake the film with a lot more kitsch, a wagon-load of scenesters, and none of the wit or fun of the original. Oh, goody.

WIZARD begins with the ending, or rather with a man seemingly covered in blood, telling we, the viewers, that he is going to tell us the story of how his life was unalterably changed. Flash back to some time earlier, where our lead is a dapper underground newspaperman and a regular in the fringe hipster scene in LA. Wooed by the curiostity of a new magician, he takes his girlfriend to the show. What he finds though is something far more interesting than the run of the mill fare that has come to bore him. The magician picks a girl out of the audience who was getting up to leave, then tells her she will die that night before bidding her to come down to him. Now with a lovely assistant/victim, the truth about what this 'wizard' can do is revealed as he tells the audience what sort of sins he believes she has committed in life and then proceeds to brutally murder the young woman as the audience watches. The real trick though is that she is alive and well and everything that had transpired was only an illusion. The illusion though DOES turn deadly that night when the young woman who had appeared in the show is found dead in similar way to how she was 'killed' on stage. The newspaper man is intrigued by what he has seen and decides that has must start following this magician to see what he will do next, so he proceeds to watch every act that is put on and each night follows the same script - lead in by a 'geek' who sets things up, an introduction to the magician, a pretty young woman standing up to leave, woman is called to the magician, girl appears to be murdered, girl survives. After every performance though the women turn up dead mysteriously and, even more mysterious is that the newspaper man has known every one of the women. The man, as he follows the magician, has been falling under his spell, it would seem, as he has begun having horrible nightmares of violence and murder and is losing time in his day. As the nightmare worsens, reality begins to slip away from the man and he starts to wonder if it isn't he that is killing these women, or if it is the magician, but it is a mystery he has no choice but to solve.

Ah, if only that all worked out to being an interesting movie. Alas, no. What we end up with is a mess of a film where CRISPIN GLOVER plays the magician as if he is a revival preacher and the rest of the cast sorta sleep walk through the film. The gore is over the top, sure, but it's emotionless and, after the first death, plays too often like the inevitible punchline for a bad joke. There are too many winks and nods here, too much smarm, and too darn much scene. I appreciate that the filmmakers were trying to capture a subculture, and to set their film in that world but what this comes off as is a ploy to get some Suicide Girls naked, and a chance to get all of these people from this scene together to sorta hang out and party. I know that wasn't the intent or I am sure the case but that is what it felt like. It felt like someone forcing a joke. All this aside though, the story just doesn't work. The film loses its way when it turns the camera from the magician and onto the newspaper writer. His character just isn't interesting and as his reality starts to slip, so does the plot. Things take one haphazard turn after another until, when it is all said and done, I was left wondering what the point was. It was almost as if the entire film was yet another illusion, only, this one was the most painful one of all.

Fans of shock cinema and of Glover may find much to like here, I am sure, I just can't recommend it in any capacity. The movie is weak, the direction passable, and the acting awful. If you are looking for more gore from your wizard you will want to find an unrated cut, as they chopped some of the juicier bits for an 'R' rated cut. Basically, avoid this one and seek out the original. It may be hokey, but at least it is sincere.


3 out of 10 Jackasses
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