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Film / The Wizard of Gore

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An existentialist Splatter Horror movie by Herschell Gordon Lewis, previously known for Blood Feast, A Taste of Blood, and The Gruesome Twosome, The Wizard of Gore follows Sherry Carson, a TV Show host, and her fiance, Jack, as they try to unravel the mystery of Montag the Magnificent, a stage magician whose volunteers wind up dead after the show in a fashion identical to their on-stage "death".

The special effects were horrifically bloody for their time but have not aged well. The acting is amateurish. The movie delights in twist after twist. But overall, it is not an experience to be missed.

In 2007, a remake was made with Crispin Glover in the role of Montag the Magnificent.


  • All Just a Dream: The entirety of the movie is implied to be a brief dream of Montag's as he's starting his routine. Until, of course, the credits ask, Or Was It a Dream?
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Greg doesn't really offer anything in the way of explanations and is justifiably getting on the nerves of all the policemen, but after killing Montag, Greg convinces absolutely everyone, including the policemen who are there to find out who the murderer is after Montag's act, that he pushed Montag into the fire because Montag had hypnotized all of them and was somehow trying to harm them — except he's not sure how. Also, he points out that he saw their hands were all bleeding for a reason he can't explain, but the blood is gone now. Further, everyone except him was being hypnotized because he wasn't paying attention to Montag when Montag was staring at the camera, and he was the only person lucky enough to be too distracted to pay attention out of nothing but boredom. Not one person questions his totally absurd and psychotic explanation, and everyone considers it the truth, even though no one thought Montag was the killer to begin with and there isn't any evidence whatsoever to back up his explanation of why he just murdered Montag or that Montag had killed anyone at all.
  • Dissonant Serenity: During the on-stage murders, the scene periodically cuts back to what the audience is seeing, which is a perfectly mundane magic trick punctuated by almost complete silence.
  • The End... Or Is It?: After a series of twists, the movie ends with a textbook "The End... Or Is It?" card.
  • Hell Is That Noise: A prolonged screeching sound is frequently used in scenes where the heroes realize that something is horribly not right with the scene. Contrasts heavily with the cheery jazz music as Montag gleefully rips gobbets of flesh out of his victims.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Montag summons mysterious flames that he attempts to lead Sherry and the others into Pied Piper-style, only to seemingly die when Jack pushes him into the fire.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Implied to be Montag's power complete with long closeups of the actor's face, staring fiercely at the camera. Very long closeups...
  • Kill It with Fire: Montag is shoved into mysterious flames by Jack, apparently ending his reign of terror.
  • Lampshade Hanging: After the death of Montag, two characters are shown discussing how his death made no sense at all.
  • Latex Perfection: Montag takes Jack's place by wearing a perfect latex mask of Jack that even conceals the fact that Montag has a moustache. Or does he?
  • Mass Hypnosis: Implied to be how Montag prevents his audience from realizing he's murdering people onstage. His final plot is to hypnotize the entire audience of the TV show and... do something.
  • Monster Misogyny: Montag only brings women up on stage to brutally murder.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: The morgue attendant when Montag freezes him with a gesture. Later revealed to have died.
  • Red Filter of Doom: Used during the inexplicable mausoleum scenes.
  • Saw a Woman in Half: This is one of Montag's signature tricks. The effect was accomplished via creative use of a sheep carcass.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: When Montag is ripping apart his victims, cheery jazz tunes play.
  • Splatter Horror: One woman gets cut up with a chainsaw. One gets a railroad spike through the head. Another is perforated with a punch press. All scenes include huge gouts of blood and shots of Montag gleefully yanking out handfuls of brains and guts.
  • You Bastard!: During his final stage show in the movie, Montag discusses how much humans are fascinated with violence. He stares directly at the camera as he says, "You want this to happen."
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Subverted; after being sent on a drug-fueled hallucination adventure, Ed is knife-detoxed by Montag the Magnificent and offered the chance to take his place as a drugged-up slave to "The Magician". Ed manages to invert his situation, drugging "The Magician" and taking over the entire operation himself.