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The great hypnotist Professor Montserrat has developed a technique for controlling the minds, and sharing the sensations, of his subjects. He and his wife Estelle test the technique on Mike Roscoe, and enjoy 'being' the younger man. But Estelle soon grows to love the power of controlling Roscoe, and the vicarious pleasures that provides. How far will she go, and can the Professor restrain her in time? Written by
Kieron O'Hara <email@example.com>
Filming began on January 16 1967. Boris Karloff would next journey to Madrid to work on "Cauldron of Blood". See more »
In the car chase near the end of the movie, Mike, in the Jaguar, is pursued by a police car. In the front seat of the police car are two uniformed cops on the outside and the girlfriend in the center. In the back seat, the detective in the trench coat is on the left, the mechanic is on the right, and another uniformed cop in the center. After Mike hits the brakes and the cop car overshoots an intersection, Mike speeds off. However, when the police car backs up and resumes the chase, only the detective is visible in the back seat. The mechanic and one uniformed cop are not visible as the car backs up and speeds after Mike. See more »
Better than the dated and deliberately hip delivery suggests it will be
The once great hypnotist Prof Marcus Montserrat has fallen on hard times since being ridiculed by the press. He now lives in a tiny flat with his loyal wife, selling his services in the window of newsagents. His master project of mind control sits without a subject until wife Estelle hits on the idea of offering the mind-control device as some sort of wild new trip to a generally disaffected youth looking for the next thrill. With this they manage to recruit one Mike Roscoe and find that they can influence his actions and also experience the sensations that he is feeling, whether it is washing his hands or the flutter of desire for a young woman. The power of the device demonstrated, Marcus has plans for the direction it will go but Estelle finds the ability to experience youthful sensations again in your young body to be a great gift that she is unwilling to part with so easily.
Everything about this film screams that it will be poor. From the very start we learn that it is dated by throwing in so many "hip" aspects in an attempt to appeal to a younger audience while also being a film late in the life of Boris Karloff where it appears he has selected it because it means most of his scenes are done indoors. The gaudy colour/cinematography doesn't help either and within about ten minutes I could feel my brain writing this review already dismissing it as a trashy piece of 60's trash, trading on "hip" clichés of youth and music while also alluding to better by having Karloff at the head of the cast. To some extent this first impression is correct because it is very much all of these things but yet it manages to have enough about the central plot to prevent it being a cheap and easy horror film but is something better.
It does this by making the scenes with the Monsterrats the most important and engaging scenes in the film and all the 1960's trimmings and young people remain just that trimmings. The real battle is occurring within this tiny front room and somehow the two cast members manage to make this work despite spending most of their time pretending to feel stuff or concentrating really hard with their eyes closed. Sure Karloff is the star here and does do good work but the film is stolen by a great turn from Catherine Lacey as his wife Estelle. Her fall into madness is well delivered and she becomes the dark heart to the story, even overpowering Karloff himself. Outside of these two the film is generic young people. Ogilvy does reasonably well to convince at being controlled, Ercy and Henry run around and Sheridan looks drop-dead gorgeous. As director Reeves is guilty of some obvious shots and places but when he is in the flat with just Lacey and Karloff, he does manage to produce a genuinely tense atmosphere that is maintained in that room all the way to the memorable final shot.
The Sorcerers is not a perfect film by any means but it is much better than I thought it would be and much better than all the trimmings suggest it deserves to be. It has dated and is deliberately "hip" but it works thanks to Karloff, Lacey and some genuine tension in the confines of a grotty little flat.
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