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The Wizard of Gore


By Tom BakerPublished 19 days ago 4 min read
Some Bela Lugosi-inspired hand jive in THE WIZARD OF GORE (1970)

Note: This Grindhouse Classic review is CHATGPT APPROVED.

An odious dungheap of a motion picture, The Wizard of Gore, directed by blood-and-guts movie impresario pioneer guru potentate Big Cheese Herschell "Gore's the Word" Gordon Lewis, back when Nancy Sinatra still looked good in gogo boots, is still antisocial enough for Yours Truly to find it likable. What the hell.

It is, however, possessed of a plot eerily familiar to anyone who has ever seen a movie made a scant six years later, a movie so utterly wretched and devoid of any socially redeeming value it could almost have been produced by the American Psychiatric Association. That rancid blot on the consciousness of otherwise noble, chaste, and sacrosanct humankind, called (gasp!) Bloodsucking Freaks (1976), was/is a sub-grindhouse "cult classic" (isn't everything?) that ALSO takes place in a "theater of the macabre," with a creepy Emcee who comes out on stage in front of a meager audience in a phony theater to deliver inscrutable lines. The three main uh, "performers" from Freaks all died badly--one murder, one "hunting accident," and one fatal heart attack of a former Ewok. And the director, Joel M. Reed, who IN NO WAY jacked the concept of Lewis' movie to make his own flick (the emphasis of which, though, was disgusting and perverse sadistic sexual titillation, whereas Lewis was just trying to be disgusting and perverse), died of Covid a few years back. He was roundabout ninety or so, though.

(One of Mr. Reed's other cinematic masterpieces, besides Night of the Zombies, was a funky little thing called G.I. Executioner. Both Freaks and G.I. were released and distributed by Troma. Which, by the by, is probably all you need to know. Reed, by the way, otherwise just made pornos.)

Getting back to Wizard, Montag the Magnificent, a caricature stage magician who shouts a lot, and says things like, "Ladies and gentlemen, have you ever seen the spectacle of human butchery IN PERSON?!" does an act wherein a young lady from the audience comes up and is sawed in half, or chopped up for barbecue or what-have-you, and things get real gory (all of which looks phony), and it's like a hallucinatory smash-cut with a little hypno music on the soundtrack (everything else is jazz), and then she is okay, and goes home. And then she goes to a restaurant, dig? Or gets in her car, and the mutilation that was an "illusion" appears on her body and she is found dead.

A guy who writes sports stories and a woman television host (don't recall their names and don't care), played by people you can go look up on IMDB, get involved when the woman wants Montag on her show and he says no, but then sees (like Lon Chaney Junior in The Wolf Man) the "sign of the blood" dripping from her fingers, decides, "Yessiree bob, Ima goin' on that young gal's television chat show cum breakfast club coffee klatch morning soiree!"

But there are some cool shots of Montag's eyes and upper forehead. Lewis was good about that sort of thing. At the end of the flick, his rather exceptional eyes and upper head are broadcast to 1969 families sitting like pop art installation images in front of televisions that seem, for a weird, hyper-realistic orange sunshine moment, as if they are, indeed, illusionary or hallucinations. Do you grok, kimosabe?

Montag guillotines himself at the opener, and that is alright, as it is done to a roaring jazz animal soundtrack opener that horn growls predator intention; his neck stump looks like a plate of bad Italian cuisine. All the colors of this film are wrong, wrong, wrong.

But you may like it anyway. Hocus pocus, I'm off to disembowel a volunteer from the audience.

Note. Just to show I'm a good sport about these things, here's the cast of the thing that I didn't bother mentioning before (what, I can be bothered by research?):

Ray Sager as Montag the Magnificent , Judy Cler as Sherry Carson , Wayne Ratay as Jack , Phil Laurenson as Greg , Jim Rau as Steve , Don Alexander as Detective Kramer , John Elliot as Detective Harlan. Produced and directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis. Written by Allen Kahn.

Note: This Grindhouse Classic review is CHATGPT APPROVED. #1

The Wizard of Gore (1970) | RETRO HORROR MOVIE | Ray Sager - Judy Cler - Wayne Ratay

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About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.: http://tombakerbooks.weebly.com

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock19 days ago

    Another classic review of a classically bad movie. Well done, Tom! I enjoyed this thoroughly.

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