Don Gallico is a master at designing magical illusions which are sold by his employer, Mr. Ormond, to famous magicians such as Rinaldi. He is also a master of disguise and realistic mask design. When Don embarks upon his own career as Gallico the Great, showcasing his own masterful illusions, his dreams are shattered by Ormond and he turns to murder to vent his frustrations. Written by
Jeff Hole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The first movie to be broadcast on television in 3-D. See more »
When the mad magician is performing on stage and about to appear the girl from the table, you can see the magicians cape reflect in the mirrors that are hiding the girl around the legs of the table. See more »
Basically the exact same movie as "House of Wax" - Vincent Price's first genuine horror hit released the previous year - but seriously who cares, because "The Mad Magician" offers just as many sheer thrills, delightful period set-pieces, joyous 3-D effects, sublime acting performances and macabre horror gimmicks as its predecessor! "Never change a winning team" is exactly what writer Crane Wilbur must have thought when he penned down Price's character Don Gallico, another tormented soul besieged by fate and out for vengeance against those who wronged him. Don Gallico is about to perform his very first own illusionist show as Gallico the Great and plans to exhibit the greatest magic trick in history; entitled "The Girl and the Buzz Saw". Gallico's promising solo career is abruptly ruined before it even begins when his previous employer Ross Ormond appears on stage and shoves a contract under his nose, stating that all of Gallico's inventions are the rightful property of the company. The sleazy and relentless Ormond, who by the way also ransacked Gallico's once beloved wife, takes off with the buzz saw trick and programs it in the show of Gallico's rival The Great Rinaldi. Inevitably Gallico snaps and sadistically butchers Ormond, but also being a master of creating disguises recreates his victim's image and even starts leading a double life. "The Mad Magician" is an amusing and thoroughly unpretentious 50's horror movie in Grand Guignol style, with a whole lot of improbably plot twists (the landlady turns out a brilliant crime novelist?) and a handful of fantastically grotesque gross-out moments (although they obviously remain suggestive for most part). The 3-D delights near the beginning of the film, like a yo-yo player and a goofy trick with water fountains, merely just serve as time-filler and contemporary 50's hype, but it's still fun to watch even now and without the means to properly behold them. "The Mad Magician" is also interesting from a periodical setting point of view, as the events take place around the time fingerprints were starting to get used as evidence material and the character of Alice Prentiss is an obvious reference towards famous crime authors of that era. Needless to state that Vincent Price remains the absolute most essential element of triumph in this film, as well as from nearly every other horror movie this legendary man ever starred in. Like no other actor could ever accomplish, Price depicts the tormented protagonist who gradually descends further and further into mental madness in such an indescribably mesmerizing way. You pity Don Gallico, yet at the same time you fear him enormously. You support his vile acts of retaliation and yet simultaneously you realize his murderous rampage must end in death. Vincent Price simply was a genius actor and, in my humble opinion, the embodiment of the horror genre.
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