The Wizard of Gore

Year Of Release: 1970
Running Time: 95 Minutes
DVD Released By: Something Weird Video
Directed By: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Writing Credits: Allen Kahn
Filming Location: Chicago, Illinois

Starring: Ray Sager, Judy Cler, Wayne Ratay, Phil Laurenson, Jim Rau, Don Alexander, John Elliot, Karin Alexana, Jack Gilbreth, Corinne Kirkin, Monica Blackwell, Sally Brody, Karen Burke, Eric Kelner Raynard, Sheldon Reis

Tagline 1: The Maniac Magician Whose Monstrous Tricks Actually Work!

Tagline 2: Is It Magic? Or Wholesale Slaughter?

Tagline 3: Scenes so far beyond any you've ever seen that no description is possible!


Alternate Titles: I was unable to locate any alternate titles for this film.

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
This film was actually made in 1968 but wasn't released until 1970. For all but just a few of the actors in this film, this was both a career beginning and career ending movie as they never appeared in any other films. However, Ray Sager performed a variety of different jobs in various films throughout his career. He not only acted, but produced and directed as well. Some of the other films you may have seen him in were Just For The Hell Of It, Blast Off Girls, and The Gruesome Twosome.

Cast Of Characters
Montag The Magnificent: Ok, see how cheesy this guy looks? Well let me tell you something. This guy has more cheese than a five gallon bucket of fondue. This is Montag the Magnificent. He's a two bit magician with crappy props who does the most amazing trick ever. When he gives women the googly eye, they actually shut up! Hell, I'd pay to see that show any day of the week. Anyway, what he does is, he gets them on stage, hacks them up real good, and just when everyone is convinced it's all real, they suddenly get up and walk off the stage in perfect shape like nothing even happened. Unfortunately, once they get home, the magic wears off and they're suddenly all hacked up and dead again. Pretty neat huh?
Sherry Carson: This is Sherry. She's kinda hot, but she's bossy and annoying as well. She's Jack's girlfriend and she has her own entertainment review show at the local television station. She's strong willed and bossy to the core and is always making Jack do things and go places that he don't want to. At least there's one thing you can say for her. She's not a moron like most of the women you see in these films.

Jack: Whoa man! Look at the ears and that haircut! This guy looks like he just walked off the set of an early 60's Disney movie. This is Jack. He's a sports writer at the local paper and Sherry's boyfriend as well. He wouldn't even have been involved in any of this if Sherry hadn't dragged him to Montag's show. Maybe next time he'll grow a set and tell her to get in the kitchen and bake him a pie like a good woman should be doing instead of dragging him off to stupid magic shows where people end up getting killed all over the place.

Screen Shots

Ok, this is fake head #1. This was the beginning of the movie where Montag cut off his own head on stage using a cheap looking guillotine. Now tell me honestly, doesn't this look like the kind of a paper mache head you'd made in eighth grade art class? It's funny, because looking at it all I can think is, "Hang it up and hit it with a bat! It's full of candy and stuff like that!" Hey look! I'm a poet!

Jeepers creepers Montag, where'd you get them eyes? Oh right, you learned that nifty little trick from watching Blood Feast. I was just wondering... When he looks at himself in the mirror like that, how long does he end up standing there? Seems like he'd hypnotize himself, then just as he came out of it he'd still be looking at the mirror and end up hypnotized all over again. Jeez, no wonder his illusions are all real. He can't have any mirrors in his act.

Bruce Campbell? Yeah, he's my bitch.

Man, I've heard of having a bad period, but this is ridiculous!
What the hell was this? Sherry was in the studio shooting her show, and all of a sudden they showed the cameraman for no reason whatsoever. Since I saw this and said, "What the hell is that?" I thought I'd throw it in here so you could say, "What the hell is that?" too. No one can ever say I don't take care of my readers.

Woohoo!!! Man boobs!!!

He's a magician, and he's got big teeth. This is what Trey Parker would call a "Derp" joke. It's like a joke that's so obvious and easy that when you hear it you just have to say, "Derp!" For those of you who've been following my reviews, you know what's coming next so I don't even have to say it. I mean, I will say it, but I know I don't have to. Ok here goes. I'm gonna say it. It's coming... It's coming... Here it is!!!

"Montag the Magnificent - The Emperor Hirohito of Japanese teeth magic."

Ok this is fake head #2. This is the chick that got a spike through her head. At the end of the trick, he went to pull the spike back out, and all I could think was, "No! Don't pull the spike out! You'll let all the air out of her head and she'll blow away! It was funny watching him screw with the dummy head though. First he pulled her brains out of the spike hole, then he tries to pop the eyeballs out but they end up going inside instead of popping out so he just goes with it and pushes them in, but then later, the scene cuts to a close up and he actually does pop the eye out. Ah, life's little triumphs...
I had to play with the color a little bit on this one to make it show up the way it actually was since the screenshot didn't come out so well. This is the newspaper Jack was reading at work the day after the second girl was murdered. Now this is "hot off the presses" but look at it. Notice how the front page doesn't match the rest of the paper and just looks like a piece of paper laid on top of a real newspaper. Also notice where the two articles are on each side of the picture, they're both coming up off the page. Those were just pasted on there and were popping up at the edges when he unfolded the paper. You know there was a glue stick involved in this somewhere 'cause them glue sticks don't stick nothin'.
Bet she won't have the guts to volunteer for that trick again.
Man, I don't know who these girls are, but I'd go out with either of them in a heartbeat! If you think real hard, you can probably figure out why. This was Montag's amazing sword swallowing trick. Usually he only performs this trick in the dressing room after the show, but tonight was ladies night and he wanted to show off.

Best Quotes

"Yes! I am Montag. Master of illusion. Defier of the laws of reason. What is real? Are you certain you know what reality is? How do you know, that at this second, you aren't sleeping in your bed, dreaming that you're in this theater?"

- Montag addressing the crowd at his show trying to sound like he's the greatest magician since Bucky Wallace. You remember Bucky don't you? He was that little fat kid with the three inch thick glasses that did that magic act in the school talent show when you were in the third grade. Man what a show that was! - (Reviewer's Note: How do I know I'm not sleeping in my bed? Well the busted spring shooting up my butt from out of this crappy theater seat was pretty much my first clue.)

Video Clip
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The Wizard of Gore
Montag get's all intense as he tries to hypnotize the entire home viewing audience of Sherry's television show. Ok, so he hypnotized everyone watching, big deal. The Teletubbies do that all the time. Let's see him sprout an antennae out the top of his head and grow a television screen in his stomach. Now that'd be some real magic!

Summary and Conclusion

Whoa! What the hell was that? This movie just ended, and I have to say that it's one of the most bizarre endings I've ever seen in a film. I won't spoil it for you, but you will be surprised / confused when you see it, and it'll probably make you laugh too.

There were only three characters worth mentioning in this film. Everyone else ended up being just incidental characters that you probably wouldn't have missed much if they weren't there. Well, everyone except the victims. They were sorta necessary to the plot of the whole thing. But anyway, the three characters that did matter to this movie were Montag, Sherry, and Jack. I really need to talk about Montag first. Herschell Gordon Lewis came up with a lot of cool characters in his films, probably the coolest of which was Fuad Ramses in Blood Feast. Montag, played by Ray Sager, was a totally over the top character who spoke like he was Fuad Ramses doing Shakespeare. His overly dramatic drawl was used throughout the film both on stage and off. I think if it had been anyone but Ray Sager or Mal Arnold (Fuad) playing this role, the character would have probably ended up kinda boring and would have more than likely just ended up putting you to sleep. Fortunately, Ray has a double helping of "Cheese Factor X", and managed to pull off the part brilliantly. He even does the patented Fuad Ramses Hypnotic Googly Eye thing. Man, let me tell you, it was just awesome to see that. I loved it when Fuad did it, and it was almost as funny seeing Montag do it, mostly because I wasn't expecting it.

Sherry Carson, played by Judy Cler, reminded me a lot of the character Judy from my last review for the movie Night Fright. She was strong willed, and kinda bitchy. Something about the voice reminded me of her too. I can't say as I like the character much, but she played it pretty well, and that's gotta count for something now doesn't it? Seems like she spent most of her time either being fascinated by Montag's tricks or bossing Jack around.

Speaking of Jack, he was played quite adequately by Wayne Ratay. He's a sports writer for the local paper, but never seems to do much writing. In fact, the only time we do see him typing up anything in this movie, one of his co-workers comes along and yanks it out of his typewriter while he's working on it. I was sitting there wondering to myself how this guy ever keeps a job. What I liked about his character is that he was smart and analytical. He knew the murders were related to the show, and he kept on the trail until the very end. For some reason, Wayne is just one of those guys that you take an instant liking to when you see them on the screen. I'm not sure what it was about him, but there was definitely something great there, and I think he could have had a very prolific film career in these types of movies. Unfortunately for fans of this genre, he was one of the many unlucky ones in this movie who never did anything other than this one film.

The story of the movie goes basically like this. Montag the Magnificent was a magician who would do grisly illusions on stage, which involved things like cutting a woman in half with a chainsaw, poking holes in another woman with a punch press, driving a spike through yet another woman's head, and pushing swords down the throats of yet two more women who were standing on stage tied up like marionettes. He uses his hypnotic powers to get the "volunteers" up on stage and to keep them quiet while he does his thing. When they get up to leave the stage, it's like nothing ever happened to them physically, but they're still hypnotized. After they leave the theater, the hypnosis eventually wears off, and when it does, all the wounds they sustained during the show instantly return and kill them, leaving lots of blood and gore all over the place. After the second murder, Jack figures out what's going on, and between him and Sherry and the police, they manage to stop the evil magician in the end. Well sort of...

There was a lot to like about this film. The really sweet performances by Ray Sager and Wayne Rattay, the ever cool gore effects courtesy of the master Herschell Gordon Lewis himself, the goofiness of the whole situation and the numerous continuity errors all made this a really enjoyable experience. However, there's a big problem with this film that forced me to take an entire bee off the rating. That problem is the incredibly slow pacing that plagued this movie throughout its entirety. Scenes that should have taken one minute ended up taking three or four. Everything felt like it was stretched out just to make the movie longer. All of the gore scenes took forever to get through and the in between scenes where people were traveling and what not were all excessively long. I found myself running through parts of the movie at 2x speed just to get to the next real part. There was a series of events where Montag would take his victims bodies out of the morgue and carry them off to this crypt in some cemetery somewhere. He'd put them in the crypt and then leave. Every time they showed one of these scenes, they were using a red filter on the lens, so the whole scene was red. They never explained why he was doing this, and these extra, pointless scenes just made the film that much longer. All in all, I think this would have made a good 75 minute film. There was easily 20 minutes that could have been cut out without missing anything.

Now there's one other problem with this movie that I have to mention. They never really explained why Montag was doing any of this or how he was doing it. I assume the whole thing with taking the bodies to the crypt had something to do with it, but they never got into that at all, so who knows? The ending didn't do much to clear things up either. In fact, the ending sort of negated 99% of the rest of the film. I really don't want to spoil it for you by telling you what happens. You really need to go through the movie and then watch the ending yourself. It's worth the trip just for the pleasure of being able to say, "Huh???".

I wish there had been more actual characters in this film. There were a lot of people that could have been written in as full and complete characters but weren't. Still, all in all they did fine with what they had. The gore in this film is more "in your face" than it was in Blood Feast, and actually some of it was quite funny. The gore falling out of the punch press tube for example, or the chunk of meat that flew into the first girl's mouth as he was cutting her in half. It was all really cool and disgusting, but mostly it was just fun. It's like cartoon gore in a way, because it's just so over the top that it ends up being funny. Herschel Gordon Lewis is the master of goofball gore, and goofball characters, and this movie is yet another example of his directorial brilliance. I had a lot of fun watching this film, and for all you cartoonish gore lovers out there, I know you will too. I have read reviews that say that even though this was one of Herschell's goriest films, it was also one of his most boring. I can see where people would feel that way what with the long in between scenes and the overly drawn out stage performances, but if you like movies like this and enjoy all the goofy fun they have to offer, then the slow pacing and pointless scenes here and there won't bother you a bit, because the rest of the movie totally makes up for it.


I would have liked to have given this film five bees, because in a lot of ways I think it deserves it. Unfortunately, the pacing issue forces me to remove one bee from what would have been an otherwise perfect rating. So although I'm loathe to do it because I think it deserves better, I must give this movie...

B-Movie Central's Rating: 4 Bees

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