American Genre Film Archive presents The Wizard of Gore, a magic-themed offering from splatter master Herschell Gordon Lewis.
Montag the Magnificent is a reluctant magician whose grisly stage mutilations become real just hours after the audience leaves the theater. As the mesmerist’s illusions become bloody reality, spellbound audience member Sherry (Judy Cler) gets him on her daytime TV show, Housewives’ Coffee Break. When Montag agrees, he stares into the camera and hypnotizes the viewing audience, planning to immolate them…
One of Lewis’ most thematically audacious works, The Wizard of Gore makes extensive use of the director’s love of illusion to weave a uniquely disturbing tale.
“There is much about the plot that makes little or no sense: bloodstains mysteriously appear then disappear on various hands, and just why does Montag steal the bodies of all his victims from the morgue? These are never explained, yet that gives the film the kind of surreal, nightmarish quality permeating some of the best episodes of ‘The Twilight Zone’. — John Harrison, Reel Wild Cinema
“If you want to pay respects to the early days of gore, check it out. If you like the look and feel and sounds of low budget, early 1970s horror, this is a good example for you. And if you’re looking for a fun, gross movie, this (or, really, any of Lewis’ films) is a perfect choice.” — Sean Leonard, Horrornews.net
“So what the hell does this all mean? . . . This layer of surrealism sits on top of a well staged, but not well acted, bit of splatter cinema. It’s one of Lewis’ most memorable films, filled with graphic images, gaudy costuming, and clever bits of composition.“ — Dave Grant, You Have Died of Dysentery