The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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groundbreaking in the world of . . . well, gore
If you've seen a lot of horror movies form before 1970 you can see how Lewis ushers horror into a new gorier era with this film. Not only that, the story is great, especially the weird ending, it's awesome. I love this movie, and if you're a horror fan you should see it.
Is it magic? Or wholesale slaughter?
See the woman cut in half with a chainsaw, see the woman drilled through the stomach with a giant punch press, see the metal spike driven through one gal's head and see the two ladies forced to swallow swords.
Blood, guts, and offbeat surrealism in another crackpot classick from "The Wizard of Gore" himself, director Herschell Gordon Lewis.
This movie has been on my Netflix queue for quite a while so I can safely say that I've wanted to see it since before Juno was out. This is the fourth Herschell Gordon Lewis film I've seen so far and only the second I've liked, the other was Two Thousand Maniacs. This, much like Two Thousand Maniacs, is a good movie. Not because it actually has substance and is well thought out, but because it is a lot of fun to watch and has become a cult classic.
Let's be honest for a minute here, when Herschell Gordon Lewis was directing films, he had no idea what he was doing. As a friend of mine said "he is the Ed Wood of gore films." I have to agree completely. The editing is always choppy and horrible, the music is poorly placed, the acting seems to be straight out of a junior high play, and nothing seems believable. This brings me to the gore. If HGL only got one thing right in his career, it was gore. The gore in this film is awesome and cheesy. He may have made bad films, but they sure are entertaining.
Sorry for going off on so many tangents, I'll get back to this movie. The story follows a TV reporter and her boyfriend who attend a magician's show of blood and dismemberment. They become suspicious of several deaths being linked to the show. It's a simple story but it is a lot of fun. I really like the magician theme. The bad acting factor definitely applies in this movie. I often wonder where HGL found these people. But as always, the gore is magnificent(no pun intended) and almost saves the movie. I had a lot fun with it.
See this movie if you're a fan of Herschell Gordon Lewis and you won't find much of anything new but it is a very good time. Go! Now!
And here I thought the remake wasn't very good.
I thought I would check out the original film before I see the remake. Its been a long time since I seen the movie but my thoughts on it are just the same. To start off "The Wizard of Gore" is one of the legendary H.G. Lewis's goriest films. Its also one of his most interesting, as the plotting is rather ambitious, touching upon concepts such as hypnotism, meta-fiction, and illusions. Despite none of these themes being explored with anything resembling subtlety, its certainly an adventurous move for Lewis. To his credit, the ending is unforgettably bizarre. It also makes this one of his most surreal efforts, and in my mind his finest achievement. Sure, "Blood Feast" and "2000 Maniacs" are more groundbreaking and have larger followings, but this is the Lewis film I find myself watching the most.
If you were actually fooled by what I said above into thinking this is a technically adequate film, well, I'm sorry. This still features all the Lewis trademarks, and fans of the godfather of gore wouldn't have it any other way. As the lead, Ray Sager is hilariously over-the-top, coming across as Vincent Price without the talent or the dignity. Wayne Ratay as the reporter working on the case is pretty wooden (not to mention he takes off his shirt one too many times, this isn't exactly a buff guy). Judy Cler actually offers a half-decent performance (by Lewis standards anyways). As I said above, this is one of Lewis' goriest films, and where the guy actually had some skill was staging memorably morbid death scenes utilizing bizarre props. They're cheap, but they're sometimes effective and unnerving (if also hilarious and monotonous). Lewis' direction hasn't improved too much (he never really got the hang of pacing), but for fans of drive-in trash, "The Wizard of Gore" offers alot of entertainment.
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