The Wizard Of Gore (2007)

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Overall Rating 54%
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Ranked #6,769
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Connections: The Wizard Of Gore

Montag the Magnificent 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 sleight of hand has them fooled. However, female bodies show up dead from the same wounds performed on stage. Investigators are baffled, and the chase to find the killer begins. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: February 22, 2009
There are some movies that should never be remade, regardless of how much money could be made. Some films just can not be topped in any way, and even attempting to do so would be seen as an insult to the original filmmakers. Although it has rightfully earned its spot in horror history, The Wizard of Gore is not one of those movies. Now, don't get me wrong: I loved that movie, and I respect everything that Herschell Gordon Lewis did for the horror genre with that and his other releases. However, Wizard does have its flaws and it definitely shows its age, so giving it the remake treatment wasn't a completely horrid decision. With that said, I wasn't expecting much from the final product; I expected to see some good kills, some graphic violence, and with the Suicide Girls involved, I fully expected to see some titties. What I wasn't expecting was a strong storyline or a memorable film, but I'll be damned if I didn't get both of those in addition to the things that I went in expecting.

Before diving in to the storyline, I need to point out that this is going to be one of those semi-misleading plot outlines that I'm forced to write from time to time. You see, I have two options here: I can tell you what's really going on and spoil the entire thing for you, or I can generalize it a bit and leave key pieces out so that it sounds like just another torture porn release. I'm going to go with the latter as even though both options are unattractive, I just can't bring myself to spoil this release for those of you who may be interested in it. So, with that said, keep in mind that there's a lot more to this story than what I'm letting on.

With that out of the way, this film centers around newspaper journalist Edmund Bigelow (Kip Pardue) and his girlfriend Maggie (Bijou Phillips), two lovable young scamps who attend a Halloween party and receive an invitation to a nearby magic show. They decide to check it out, and the first thing that they see upon taking their seats is the opening act: a dirty, disgusting bum (Jeffrey Combs) whose goal is to repulse the crowd by eating maggots and chomping down on live rats. Just when the crowd thinks that they have seen enough and are preparing to leave, the main event shows up, with that being Montag the Magnificent (Crispin Glover) - a charming, well-spoken magician who asks his audience to question the very concept of reality and life.

He also does some nifty magic tricks, each of which centers around death, mutilation, and torture. For example, his first trick begins with him calling a young lady up to the stage from the crowd, and at this point, Montag tells her to strip down to her birthday suit. After doing so, he proceeds to lay her down on a table, cut her stomach open, and pull her entrails out. Just as the audience is on the verge of panic, the lights go out... and when they come back on, the woman is up on her feet without so much as a scratch on her. The best magician on the planet? Perhaps, but when this same lady turns up dead the next day, eyebrows are raised. Edmund decides to catch the show again the next night, and though the tricks have been changed, the end result is the same: a woman is mutilated, the power goes out, she's fine, and she's dead before the sun rises. It's obvious that something fishy is going on here, and with the "help" of a shady character named Dr. Chong (Brad Dourif) and an interested coroner (Joshua John Miller), Edmund decides to get to the bottom of things... but does he really want to?

All of this takes place during the first twenty minutes of the film, and even though there are a handful of magic tricks that I failed to mention, the remainder of the running time deals with Edmund and his attempts at finding the truth. This is where things get interesting, as the film decides to take a turn towards the arthouse and the surreal - difficult to believe given the nature of the film, but that's exactly how it turned out. Imagine if David Lynch decided to do his own version of Hostel, and you'll sort of see where the filmmakers drew their inspiration from. We are given one hell of a bizarre storyline, a huge twist is presented, the story gets even weirder, another twist comes up, and so on and so forth until we hit the shocking conclusion. This may be a remake, but there are a lot of surprises in store even for those of you who have seen the original and think you know where the story is going. I'm going to leave it at that, but I will say that I enjoyed this story far more than I expected to.

With a title like The Wizard of Gore, it would be silly for me to assume that you dear readers care nothing about, well, the gore. This is another aspect of the film that I have to give a huge thumbs up to, as each and every last one of the magic tricks (as well as a few other gory scenes) were fantastically done. The one that I described up above was a highlight, but it actually wasn't even the best of the bunch; there's another one that I particularly enjoyed, and it puts a certain scene in the Saw series to shame. There's not as much murder and mayhem as one might expect given the title (remember, there's a legit story unfolding here), but it's more than enough to satisfy the gorehounds.

As far as the acting goes, you've got three horror icons working together, and each of these icons show why they are referred to as such. Crispin Glover in particular is perfect as Montag, though I have to admit that I also had a soft spot for Brad Dourif. Kip Pardue and Bijou Phillips round out the leading roles, and while Pardue more than holds his own against the heavyweights, I can't say the same for Phillips. She was perfectly acceptable in her role, don't get me wrong, but that's about the best that I can say about her. The Suicide Girls are mentioned time and time again in the promotional materials for this film as a huge selling point, but thankfully, their roles are kept to a minimum: they show up, show off their best features (said features come in pairs and are sized in cups), and then quickly disappear. This was definitely the best way to handle their appearances, as I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that acting wasn't their strong points.

Overall, I have to give this one a huge recommendation. Remakes tend to be mediocre at best, but one comes along every now and then that shows that not every "reimagining" of a classic ends in failure. The Wizard of Gore is one of those films. 9.5/10.
The Red Clover #1: The Red Clover - added February 24, 2009 at 1:18am
Fantastic. I've been waiting to see someone review this so I could determine whether or not I should just buy it. Excellent job as always.
M√∂rderwolf777 #2: Mörderwolf777 - added March 5, 2009 at 1:56am
terrible. ridiculous, plot which basically took the original and said yah the violence is good but lets replace all that silly magic stuff with drugs. also i couldnt imagine Herschell Gordon Lewis appreciating one of his most well known films to be turned into nothing more than alot of poorly done cgi effects
John Holmes #3: John Holmes - added March 5, 2009 at 5:18pm
Don't worry about the guy above me...
This movie is great!
Way better than the original.
Take a looksie for yourself.
Tristan #4: Tristan - added March 5, 2009 at 8:28pm
THE John Holmes? I'm starstruck.
Nirrad #5: Nirrad - added March 5, 2009 at 8:41pm
Yeah I bet you want to wrap your mouth around that dick. And to acquire AIDS.
Tristan #6: Tristan - added March 5, 2009 at 8:43pm
Good one.
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