The Wizard of Gore (2007)
A mysterious magician has some very unpleasant secrets in this gory tale of terror. Edmund Bigelow (Kip Pardue) is the publisher of Cacophony Gazette , a journal that covers the cutting edge of art and performance in California. Jaded Bigelow thinks he's seen it all until he and his girlfriend Maggie (Bijou Phillips) take in a show by Montag the Magician (Crispin Glover), who with the help of his sidekick the Geek (Jeffrey Combs) delivers a stomach-turning show in which he brings volunteers on stage and dismembers them, only to have his victims stagger off stage at the end of the show, shaken but still very much alive. Bigelow soon becomes obsessed with Montag's show and wants to know more about him and his illusions, but he suspects that there might be more to the magician's show than he imagined when maimed bodies start appearing all over L.A., and with the help of his pals Jinky (Joshua Miller) and Dr. Chong (Brad Dourif) they discover the bizarre secret behind Montag's hold over his audience. Based on a cult-favorite gore film from Hershel Gordon Lewis, The Wizard of Gore also features several members of the contemporary burlesque troupe the Suicide Girls as Montag's volunteers. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Wizard of Gore
It's not really a scary movie, no matter how you slice it, but this remake offers plenty of the stuff promised in the title, in addition to a divertingly circuitous "whodunnit" aspect that works a bit better than one would expect.
In this masterclass in the art of the remake, it is as though Herschell Gordon Lewis's frankly sub-par original has here metamorphosed into the gloriously head-messing sleazefest it might have been.
Audience Reviews for The Wizard of Gore
The Wizard of Gore is set in present day Los Angeles where Edmund Bigelow (Kip Pardue) publishes a small underground paper, always looking for the next big thing he decides to go to see a stage magician named Montag the Magnficent (Crispin Glover) after seeing an advertisement. Taking his girlfriend Maggie (Bijou Phillips) with him they are shocked & thrilled by Montag's performance & show in which he appears to rip the guts out of a stripper named Cayenne (Cricket Suicide) only for her to reappear moments later seemingly unharmed. Soon after Edmund hears a news report in which Cayneene's body has been found horribly mutilated & he makes the connection to Montag's show & start to investigate which results in mind bending hallucinations, drugs, mind control & a sinister plot as his life starts to fall apart as Edmund struggles to know the difference between reality & fantasy...
Directed by Jeremy Kasten this is maybe a result of the recent spate of big budget Hollywood remakes of classic horror films such as Halloween (1978) & Friday the 13th (1980) & as such is a very loose remake of the low budget Herschell Gordon Lewis exploitation gore film The Wizard of Gore (1970) & I have to say I really wasn't that impressed with this confusing mess of a film. The original 170 The Wizard of Gore was a moderately effective exploitation film with some strong if fake looking gore & had a fairly simple & daft yet entertaining plot while the 2007 remake has a few flashes of gore which look more realistic but have less impact & are less frequent while the plot has been totally revamped & changed with Montag the Magnificent almost a secondary consideration as the script feels more like Naked Lunch (1991) with it's hallucinogenic & drug fuelled plot that gets very confused & has no big pay-off at the end either & the character of Edmund striking similarities to Peter Weller's character in Naked Lunch both visual & conceptual are not unnoticed. The script tries to set the events up as a mystery & some hallucinogenic drug plays a major role as the boundaries between fantasy & reality become blurred in some elaborate plan which just has the effect of the film going weird as you never really know what's going on & the script does a poor job of explaining itself as little resolved. The more I think about it the more the original The Wizard of Gore seems like a masterpiece compared to this.
The 2007 The Wizard of Gore does actually look quite nice although it is set in the seedy sleazy underground world of the Los Angeles night life where everyone seems to have copious amounts of tattoo's, piercings & dress in fetish gear, unlike the 1970 The Wizard of Gore which was set very much in the real world the average person can relate too this one isn't. There's some style here with scenes mostly shot using neon lights although there are some seemingly random moments like the cross hatch grid that keeps flashing into view & distortion of background images for no apparent reason. I was disappointed with the gore here, most of Montag's tricks take place behind a literal smoke screen & little is seen, there's some blood splatter, a decapitation with a bear trap, some guts are pulled out, someone is burnt, someone is impaled on glass shards & rats heads are bitten off. One area where this one differs from the original is that there is lots of female nudity on show if that's your thing.
Probably shot on a low budget this looks quite nice with decent production values & effects. The cast features some familiar faces including a barely recognisable Jeffrey Combs, Brad Douriff, the pretty Bijou Phillips with Crispin Glover as Montag in a really camp performance that makes the character just look silly rather than threatening or menacing.
The Wizard of Gore is a low budget remake of a low budget film that didn't need or want a remake, in trying to make it substantially different it strays too far from the original's concepts & anyone who liked the original for what it was probably won't like this anywhere near as much.
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 fail to keep you that interested in them( with the exception of Flux Suicide, she has alot of screen presence in her small part in the movie). 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....but I also have to give mention to 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 flaws that while are kinda glaring don't sink the movie. It does however provide a decent to average sinister mystery element which could be good for a Saturday night rental.
To sum up here, 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 and did I mention semi naked to naked Suicide girls. Nothing bad to say there. but I do have to stress that in my opinion if Bijou Phillips were the lead instead of Pardue, I felt it might've been a better film overall. The characters were not fleshed out well,and the ending might be a bit on the weird side for some viewers. For me though its a good trash horror movie and worth checking out.
Didnt really follow the story and the way it plans out, very surreal and odd. I didnt really enjoy it to be honest, found it dull and dissapointing.More
I've haven't seen the original (yet) but I somehow doubt it's anywhere as convoluted as this turns out to be. Still, lots of blood and boobs, supporting help from genre faves Jeffery Combs and Brad Dourif and Crispen Glover is wisely underused.More
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