[The Wizard Of Gore]
Plot:Montag the Magnificent (Glover) is a master illusionist who performs at underground venues, selecting female volunteers from his rave-like audiences. To their hysteria, it appears he's dismembered their bodies, but his sleigh of hand has fooled them. However, female bodies show up dead from the same wounds performed on stage. Investigators are baffled, and the chase to find the killer begins.
Review:Jeremy Kasten's "The Wizard Of Gore" is a remake of the 1970 Herschell Gordon Lewis horror pic where a shady magician's extremely-realistic illusions arouse suspicion from a tv hostess and her boyfriend. In this updated version, the same premise applies, only it's a reporter (Pardue), and his girlfriend (Phillips) who take up an investigation into the twisted illusionist "Montag The Magnificent (Glover). The role reversal in this 2008 straight-to-dvd redo is one of it's main problems. Pardue to me has never been that great of an actor, and I think sticking with the character parts from the original film would've worked alot better.
Maybe Phillip's character should've been the lead, everyone knows films like this work better with a female lead. Pardue plays the role of Edmund Bigelow decent enough, but he's a bit too dramatic for the situation at hand, and you never really get the impresison that he has enough backbone or toughness to shut down Montag once he begins to little by little, discover that there's something not quite right with his so called illusions. Phillips actually does better in her role as Maggie, and continues to develop into quite a nice niche actress.
Although in this movie she isn't really given much to do beyond be the uber-sensitive artistic type significant other to Pardue's character. She doesn't get any big time scenes really other than a woman in peril scenario which arises near the films climax. But the movie mostly focuses on the building tension and slight rivalry between Edmund and Montag. Glover plays Montag pretty well, although he comes off in the role as more twisted as oposed to dangerous and demented. In H.G. Lewis's version, Montag is alot more dangerous and sinister as he's played by Ray Sager.
But in this version, he seems to be more of a showman, who will entertain the crowd at any cost. He does however get a bit darker and more evil as the film progresses, which is supposed to be a nod to him sensing that Edmund is getting closer and closer to discovering his secrets. The basis of the film is that Edmund and Maggie have to figure out whether Edmund's illusions are real or not, and are the volunteers really dead or not. This comes about as Edmund begins having horrifying and violent hallucinations after attending one of Montag's shows with his girlfriend Maggie.
As he attends more and more shows, the hallucinations get stronger, more vibrant, and more deadly. This leads Edmund to believe that Montag may be a murderer and as he investigates further, he soon comes to realize that he plays a very big role in what's happening and the possible outcome of it all as well. Either way, if he can't solve the mystery behind what's happening soon enough, he might go completely out of his mind beyond the point of no return. It's really not an extremely gory film, but more of a psychological horror film which is more about implying violence rather than showing it and letting it all hang out at times.
It's really one of those horror movies where the plot is successful at making you think, and keeping you guessing. But the characters performances (with the exception of Glover), and personalities failt to keep you that interested in them. This is a problem because in order to get the audience to follow along with any mystery, you have to create interesting characters who they'll want to see through till the end. This bunch, ain't that. And really most of the time, we're stuck waiting for Glover to return in another classic Montag scene and perform another freaky illusion.
The characters are that boring, it's true....although Brad Dourif's cameo as a mysterious side character who has connections and ties to Montag does manage to spruce the films intrigue factor up somewhat. But his scenes in the movie are few and far between. The ending of the film is a pretty clever one in some ways, but in other ways it's pretty ridiculous too. Especially because it seems to come out of nowhere and sort of disrupts the story altogether.
Still in a pinch, it works just to give the viewer something to ponder for a few moments after the film is over. "The Wizard Of Gore" is another remake that's not as good as it's predecessor, with a few vital flaws that pretty much sink it. It does however provide a decent to average sinister mystery element which could be good for a boring Saturday afternoon rental.
Positives:Glover gives a good performance, Brad DOurif spices things up in a cameo, the mystery within the movie is good enough for straight-to-dvd horror fare.
Negatives:Again, if Bijou Phillips were the lead instead of Pardue, I felt it might've been a better film overall. The charaters were not fleshed out well, and the ending is a bit on the weird side.
Overall:Two out of 4 stars.
Talk about it in the Forums!)
Back to the main page)