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7/10
NOT your usual type of uninspired remake!
Coventry2 April 2008
What a totally crazy (yet highly admirable) ambition to remake a Herschell Gordon Lewis film and actually add story depth, detailed character drawings, mystery and an atmosphere of morbidity! But it works. At least, … partially it works. Horror fanatics familiar with Lewis' oeuvre know that his films are entertaining and sensationally gross, but they always severely lacked in the plotting department. Of all Lewis' splatter films, "The Wizard of Gore", released in 1970, was definitely the one with the greatest potential and it's actually most unfortunate that the basic concept ideas weren't properly elaborated. Director Jeremy Kasten and writer Zach Chassler obviously must have felt the same way, as their remake cuts down on the gore (but luckily not to much) and attempts to give meaning and background to the whole idea of a maniacal magician. "The Wizard of Gore" is actually quite a unique oddity in the area of horror cinema nowadays! People always complain about the overload of needless remakes and modern directors' lack of own creativity (and they're right, too) but here's finally one remake that doesn't aspire to just bluntly copy the original, but to complete and perhaps even "improve" it. The result may not be entirely successful, but it's definitely a courageous approach and an overall enjoyable and recommended experience.

This new version largely maintains the same plot as Lewis' original film. Montag the Magnificent is a thoroughly uncanny magician/illusionist who, along with his hermit assistant, tours around with a quite unique and nightmarish act. He butchers seemingly random girls from the audience live on stage, yet when the audience panics and tries to flee, the light go on and the victims are standing there back in one piece again. A young reporter quickly discovers that the girls turn up dead the next day after all and their corpses are damaged exactly like they appeared to be on stage. Severely against the will of his girlfriend, he becomes obsessed with Montag's show and becomes entangled into a web of surreal nightmares, primitive drugs, physical agony and mental deterioration. "The Wizard of Gore" is still a pretty incoherent mess in which a lot of twists make absolutely no sense and a lot of vital questions remain unanswered, but at least you get the impression that Kasten and Chassler put thought and effort into providing an explanation for the events, and that is already an accomplishment to itself. Especially given the entirely illogical mishmash of half-decent ideas Herschell Gordon Lewis left behind. Moreover, this 2007 version benefices from a supremely macabre atmosphere and all the decors and set pieces look very grim. The gore and splatter effects clearly can't hold a candle to those of the original (at least, when it comes of outrageousness), but still there's some excellent carnage on display. Gore, nudity, atmosphere and immensely creepy carnival music … These are all great elements that allow you to overlook the occasionally senseless subject matter. Another thing which makes "The Wizard of Gore" a must-see for horror fanatics is the presence of no less than three phenomenal genre veterans, namely Crispin Glover, Brad Dourif and Jeffrey Combs.
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7/10
Evil that got under my skin.
sime667531 October 2008
And evil might not be the right word for it. This movie had an almost morbid fascination on me, I just finished watching it for the third time in a row in order to crack the not-so-accessible plot. Man, I lost my sleep over this. It wasn't happening from a long, long time. And be aware, this movie is FAR from perfect. Direction is somewhat sloppy at times, and so is the acting. But not only this is a remake that manages to achieve the unthinkable (surpass the original movie and actually add a whole lot of depth to it), for me it's been a truly hallucinating trip, one that stuck with me like few others in the past. In my humble opinion, this movie takes one of the most interesting premises in horror movies and manages to develop it with taste and twists that seem to be endless; some of the plot elements may seem unsubstantiated, some may feel rushed, and many moviegoers will just lose their will to follow the movie's overly convoluted storyline, since this is one of those films that REQUIRES a second viewing to be fully appreciated (maybe even a third one). Did you ever play games like Silent Hill and Rule of Rose? I did, and loved every bit of their obscure way of telling a story. If you did like games like those, too, as well as other movies with a taste for toying with your brains and darkest emotions, go see this movie NOW. (and maybe come to the boards to discuss the plot, will ya?)

Overall, I find this to be an extremely fascinating experience. I don't know if it's because of some of the director's touches, the photography, Crispin Glover's exasperated way of acting or just the decadence that seems to permeate the whole thing, but this movie is still crawling deep under my skin.
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4/10
Gory illusion and much confusion.
BA_Harrison28 September 2008
The Wizard of Gore (2007), a remake of H. G. Lewis's 1970 splatter classic, is an extremely messy film, although not necessarily in the way one might expect. Whilst this version still offers viewers a fairly impressive level of on-screen carnage, the real butchery occurs in the narrative: in an attempt to add some kind of meaning to Lewis's rather slight original plot, the makers of this film have turned the story into a surreal, and very confusing hodgepodge of half-baked ideas. In fact, just like one of the film's victims, it's all over the place.

Crispin Glover plays macabre magician Montag the Magnificent, whose unusual carnival show involves inviting a member of the audience on to the stage and then killing them in an extremely gory manner. This naturally freaks out the audience, but, just as they turn to leave in disgust and fear, Montag reveals the 'victim' to be very much alive.

Spectator Edmund Bigelow (Kip Pardue), a journalist for a small underground newspaper, is intrigued by the bloody illusion that he witnesses, and returns to see the show night after night in an attempt to discover the secret behind the trick. However, when the girls that appear to die on stage actually begin to turn up dead in reality, Edmund is plunged into a nightmarish world of dismemberment, psychotropic drugs, and deceit from which he cannot escape.

Although director Jeremy Kasten's unusual approach at first seems to be paying off, delivering some truly weird sequences and a genuinely disturbing atmosphere, as the film progresses, he eventually loses control over proceedings and the film becomes something of an unfathomable disaster. Glover does what Glover does best—act bloody strange—which is perfect for his part, and he is ably supported by a great cast which includes cult actor Joshua Miller, and horror favourites Jeffrey Combs and Brad Dourif. However, with such a difficult to follow plot, not even their presence can save The Wizard of Gore from failure (hell, even loads of nasty deaths with graphic splatter and full frontal female nudity don't stop this one from being a disappointment).
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6/10
Left Me Not Sure How to Feel
gavin69424 April 2011
An underground reporter (Kip Purdue) stumbles upon a magician (Crispin Glover) who kills his assistants on stage. What first looks like an illusion starts to get more suspicious as they turn up dead the day after. How is a local strip club tied in to this? And what happens as layer after later is peeled away from the surface?

The biggest flaw of this film, from director Jeremy Kasten, is the fact it's a "remake" of a Hershel Gordon Lewis film. I kept comparing the two in my head, which was very unfair to Kasten's work because the films have very little in common. Aside from a magician whop performs bloody tricks, the entire plot is reworked, as are the characters. The best I can recommend is that if you are going to see this one, do not see the original first. Without that influence on your opinion, you may like this one.

What is not to like? The cast is great, not least of which includes horror veterans Jeffrey Combs and Brad Dourif, as well as the Suicide Girls. Crispin Glover has a long history in horror, as well, and Kip Purdue (who I am not very familiar with) has a personality that uniquely fits this tale. He is the one character who could not be changed without altering the entire film.

While I prefer the original film, it is not really fair to compare them. Montag the Magician is not even the same guy, and there is the whole other stripper and mind-control drug aspect here that was never even hinted at in the 1970 version. So I cannot say, "Skip this one and go see the original." As much as I want you to see the original, I think this film has its merits. It certainly upped the sex and nudity, which may appeal to viewers.
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The maddest show ever shown
chaos-rampant16 October 2011
I haven't seen the original HG Lewis film this is based on, but his reputation as a PT Barnum of basement-bargain schlock could not prepare me for this. It is actually a clever self-referential movie about horror, and I reckon we haven't had one that cuts as incisively in what it means to want to see beyond the pale since Peeping Tom.

It's a simple idea, very smart; a magician who every night stages a different horror movie, but always the one we paid to see. He purports to offer us a glimpse of our insides, quite literally so, but of course we can wave it away as a trick of smoke and mirrors. The gruesome event is framed, thus obscured, reversed, in a smoke mirror.

His victims, always females, he seems to select from a nearby stripping joint. The girls are again stripped naked for a paying audience. So the fantasy about the naked flesh is transferred from one place inside another, except now as meant to dispel the safety of illusions.

All of this is being investigated by a guy who dresses up like a reporter or private dick from the 40's, he's into it for the scoop. He assembles together the plot that we see, doing the detective work for us like in a Philip Marlow film.

It should have been really good by all accounts, the material is at least right. What appears the incomprehensible rumblings of a feverish mind - our reporter is under the grip of a powerful hallucinogen - makes sense if we understand what side of the mirror we're looking from.

So of course the magician is the trick, the stage of illusions supplied by the mind. It vindicates the destructive impulses that we come to know he harbors in reality, allowing the unspeakable to be articulated as a show. However madly. It's all an essay on the machinations that take place inside from our position as horror viewers.

What lets it down for me is first the haphazard technique, a lot of dutch angles for no reason - but which of course the filmmaker would justify as reflecting a skewed state of mind -, I can look past this, and second the desire to pursue clues right to the end in an effort to piece together for us 'what really happened'. Sooner or later this type of fictions must probe into the nature of abstractions, the film has its work already laid out with the stageshow, it's a perfect allusion to what we are watching from our end, the trick with smoke and mirrors, yet goes on to dangle a piece of string in our faces.

So, in 20 words or less: imagine Naked Lunch re-assembled as a lengthy Masters of Horror episode - the murky colors, the hard lights and DV look - by a filmmaker with aspirations to articulate in feverish weirdness a little of what he has seen from Lynch or Greenaway.

It may not look that way, but it's actually one of the more interesting straight-out horror films of the last 10 years.
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7/10
Certainly one of the better modern remakes!
The_Void23 October 2008
Horror remakes are generally lamented by lovers of the genre, and for good reason - as not only are the majority of them lame and uninspired, but there's also the fact that we simply don't need new versions of perfect films such as The Omen and Dawn of the Dead. But that is not such the case with Herschell Gordon Lewis' oeuvre, as while many of his films were entertainingly bloody, they also wouldn't be considered perfect. 1970's The Wizard of Gore was certainly one of the director's most promising features given the plot line - but unfortunately the resulting film was not so impressive. The plot here focuses on Edmund Bigelow; a reporter who becomes entranced by the stage shows of Montag the Magnificent; a magician who as part of his act selects girls from the audience and proceeds to butcher them on stage - only for them to appear intact at the end of the show. However, the magician's tricks take a more sinister turn when several of the girls used in the show turn up dead in mysterious circumstances and our lead character begins to question his own sanity.

This film is really just a remake in title only as while the plot is similar to the earlier version; here it's expanded on so much to the point where the two are unrecognisable. Indeed, I would even say that the film takes more influence from modern day magic films such as The Prestige and The Illusionist. It has to be said that the film is not completely perfect as the plot gets a little too complicated after a while and we soon get the point where explaining everything that is happening is simply not possible. However, it's all carried off with such a great style and so long as the plot is faintly coherent, it's easy to enjoy the film for its style which encompasses a supremely macabre atmosphere and some great grisly death scenes (although sadly, HG's completely over the top blood scenes are lost). The cast is impressive with Crispin Glover giving a whirlwind performance as the central magician; his dialogues are a real highlight. He gets good support from the likes of Jeffrey Combs (in a role that is far too small and insignificant!) and Brad Dourif. Kip Pardue makes for a good lead also. Overall, this may not be great modern film-making; but it's very decent for a remake and is at least worth a look.
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7/10
Not too bad
jimgoebel122 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"The Wizard of Gore" is a remake of a 1970 movie of the same name by Herschell Gordon Lewis. I am a fan of HGL's films (Two Thousand Maniacs, Blood Feast, The Blast Off Girls ) but have never seen the original "Wizard of Gore", so this review is on its own merits, and not a comparison between the two films.

The story is about a reporter named "Ed". Ed works for a small indie paper in modern day L. A., and he also has a habit of huffing chemicals in a paper bag to help him relax One day he and his girlfriend stumble upon a weird street carnival. At this carnival, they are handed a card by a "circus geek" (Jeffery Combs) advertising a show performed by "The Wizard of Gore," otherwise known as 'Montag the Magnificent' (played by an over-the-top-as-usual Crispin Glover) They go into the show, and watch the geek eat live maggots, then bite the head off a rat. Then Montag comes on stage, dressed in a full white tuxedo (and a surprisingly large codpiece underneath). He swallows a fluorescent lightbulb, and breaks it off . Then Montag bleeds through his tux, and wipes it clean. Thenhe calls out a young woman that is trying to leave, and implores her to come on stage. Montag then proceeds to cut the woman open, and pull her entrails out. The lights flicker, and she is seemingly fine, no scratches or scars anywhere.

The next night, Ed and his girlfriend go back. This time they watch as a woman is called on stage, where she has bear traps thrown on her. they take off her arm, leg, and finally her head. Lights go out again, and she is fine and dandy.

Next day, the two women are found dead of the same wounds that were inflicted upon them on stage. "Jinky," Ed's friend with the coroner's department notes that the corpses had traces of a toxin on them that leaves the mind open to suggestion.

Ed heads to a local herbal remedy shop where Chong (no, not that Chong.. This guy is played by Brad "Chukcy" Douriff) mentions that a magician came in looking for mass quantities of the drug, as well as some 'participants' for his show, but before he knew it, the magician used the toxin on him, and placed the suggestion in Chong that he had paid, when he didn't.

At this point, Ed starts suffering delusions as to what has and hasn't happened. He keeps having delusions the he's the one actually killing the victims.

Another woman is barbecued on stage, and then appears unscathed. Ed has a delusion that he follows the chick home and sets her on fire. Ed wakes up in bed. Next day the woman is found dead, with no apparent fire at the crime scene.

The girlfriend and Jinky join Ed to the show, and record it. Jinky says that Montag is spreading the toxin in the "meet and greet" session just before the show. As Jinky tells Ed this, Montag announces "Some people should remain quiet", shoves a towel down Jinky's throat, and pulls his entrails out through his mouth. Jinky tries to show Ed a DVD that was retrieved from the crime scene of the bbq-ed chick. Ed has a connection to all this after all.

The next night, Ed and his girlfriend attend the show, and the girlfriend is called on stage as Montage says "Sometimes the illusion begins far before the show does!". Montag wraps her up in a sheet, and plunges swords into her. That night, the girlfriend tries to help Ed figure out what is happening to him. She wants to know what Ed's been huffing on all this time. She gets the bag from him and discovers... Well, we don't know, but I bet you can figure it out.

Not gonna reveal the rest of the movie here. But let me tell you it is bloody confusing at times.

So, pros and cons

PROS:

Crispin Glover The Suicide Girls -- NUDE! Brad Douriff Lots and lots of gore!

CONS:

Can be very confusing at times Acting is just OK. Crispins Glover's very distracting codpiece Almost every scene is shot at an angle. I thought I was in the Joker's hideout. You know you're in a delusion scene because of the electric sparks, and what appears to be a Matrix-like effect that kinda ruins the effect.

Would I recommend it? Yes.

3 stars of 4
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4/10
I prefer the original.
poolandrews30 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The Wizard of Gore is set in present day Los Angeles where Edmund Bigelow (Kip Pardue) publishes a small underground paper, always looking for the next big thing he decides to go to see a stage magician named Montag the Magnficent (Crispin Glover) after seeing an advertisement. Taking his girlfriend Maggie (Bijou Phillips) with him they are shocked & thrilled by Montag's performance & show in which he appears to rip the guts out of a stripper named Cayenne (Cricket Suicide) only for her to reappear moments later seemingly unharmed. Soon after Edmund hears a news report in which Cayneene's body has been found horribly mutilated & he makes the connection to Montag's show & start to investigate which results in mind bending hallucinations, drugs, mind control & a sinister plot as his life starts to fall apart as Edmund struggles to know the difference between reality & fantasy...

Directed by Jeremy Kasten this is maybe a result of the recent spate of big budget Hollywood remakes of classic horror films such as Halloween (1978) & Friday the 13th (1980) & as such is a very loose remake of the low budget Herschell Gordon Lewis exploitation gore film The Wizard of Gore (1970) & I have to say I really wasn't that impressed with this confusing mess of a film. The original 170 The Wizard of Gore was a moderately effective exploitation film with some strong if fake looking gore & had a fairly simple & daft yet entertaining plot while the 2007 remake has a few flashes of gore which look more realistic but have less impact & are less frequent while the plot has been totally revamped & changed with Montag the Magnificent almost a secondary consideration as the script feels more like Naked Lunch (1991) with it's hallucinogenic & drug fuelled plot that gets very confused & has no big pay-off at the end either & the character of Edmund striking similarities to Peter Weller's character in Naked Lunch both visual & conceptual are not unnoticed. The script tries to set the events up as a mystery & some hallucinogenic drug plays a major role as the boundaries between fantasy & reality become blurred in some elaborate plan which just has the effect of the film going weird as you never really know what's going on & the script does a poor job of explaining itself as little resolved. The more I think about it the more the original The Wizard of Gore seems like a masterpiece compared to this.

The 2007 The Wizard of Gore does actually look quite nice although it is set in the seedy sleazy underground world of the Los Angeles night life where everyone seems to have copious amounts of tattoo's, piercings & dress in fetish gear, unlike the 1970 The Wizard of Gore which was set very much in the real world the average person can relate too this one isn't. There's some style here with scenes mostly shot using neon lights although there are some seemingly random moments like the cross hatch grid that keeps flashing into view & distortion of background images for no apparent reason. I was disappointed with the gore here, most of Montag's tricks take place behind a literal smoke screen & little is seen, there's some blood splatter, a decapitation with a bear trap, some guts are pulled out, someone is burnt, someone is impaled on glass shards & rats heads are bitten off. One area where this one differs from the original is that there is lots of female nudity on show if that's your thing.

Probably shot on a low budget this looks quite nice with decent production values & effects. The cast features some familiar faces including a barely recognisable Jeffrey Combs, Brad Douriff, the pretty Bijou Phillips with Crispin Glover as Montag in a really camp performance that makes the character just look silly rather than threatening or menacing.

The Wizard of Gore is a low budget remake of a low budget film that didn't need or want a remake, in trying to make it substantially different it strays too far from the original's concepts & anyone who liked the original for what it was probably won't like this anywhere near as much.
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8/10
Interesting experience but not much scary
Rodrigo_Amaro11 August 2010
"The Wizard of Gore" is a horror film with something like a film noir style but it has many gallons of fake blood, gore, violent scenes and a strange mystery.

Here Kip Pardue plays Edmund Bigelow, a underground journalist thrilled for freaky and horrific things. One day he goes to the show of a strange and sinister magician called Montag the Magnificent (played by Crispin Glover). On stage performing to people of similar tastes like Edmund he presents the most frightening tricks ever played by a magician by selecting strippers to appear in disgusting, freaky and deadly numbers such as being sliced in parts, or being "cooked" in a strange stove and things like that. The audience is surprised with that, shocked but in the end Montag reveals that everything was a illusion. The show is a success but later Edmund discovers that all those girls were really killed with similar injuries to those performed in the illusionary show and here it starts his investigation on all those deaths and to find out who Montag really is.

Since I've never heard that this was a remake of a film of the 1970's I think that it was a original plot, very surprising and thrilling most of the times. The mix between horror and film noir was interesting. Some of the investigation parts was confusing in some points much because the director wanted to recreate something closer to what films noir were (notice the look of the journalist, his voice over and of course the plot twist) but it was mixed with some strange visual effects (Pardue's delusional scenes). In terms of horror it was okay, incredible makeup effects but despite the blood and all the gore I didn't find it a scary movie (perhaps I'm too insensible or I didn't care much for the characters). Nothing was so shocking but for some viewers some of the things performed by Montag will be very haunting and disgusting.

Crispin Glover was magnificent (no jokes with his character here), Pardue was okay and the movie delivers the good performances of Brad Dourif ("Child's Play"), Jeffrey Combs ("Re-Animator") and Bijou Phillips. Horror die-hard fans might find it boring or find nothing special about it but for those who enjoy different propositions and something more original in terms of story it's a great film to see. 8/10
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4/10
This wizard tried one to many illusions.
Aaron13757 February 2011
Never saw the original 1970 version and not sure if I want to after viewing this one. I am sure it is vastly different in terms of plot, but from what I have read about that one its performances are less than stellar. Here we have some fairly good names as Crispin Glover plays the strange magician Montag and we also have Jeffrey Combs and Brad Douriff. Actors known for their horror roles and they could not even save this one so I really do not want to see a version with less talent. It was not entirely bad, had a couple of good kills and some nice nudity. I was also wondering where the story was going. Unfortunately, it did not end up in a good place for me and so I must say I found for a lot of this movie I was just getting a headache from the way things kept flashing here and there. The story follows a man who sort of owns an underground newspaper or something. I am guessing he is looking for a story as he and his girlfriend are at this strange goth like carnival. Well they end up going to a show titled the Wizard of Gore featuring the magician Montag. The show features this man talking to his audience and disrobing usually a female and then dispatching her in a gruesome way and when the audience starts to flee the lights go out and come on and the girl is apparently fine. She does, however, turn up dead later. So we follow this guy as he goes to each of Montag's shows looking for a story or perhaps more. I will give it credit for trying to do some different things as from what I read about the original it really does not follow that movie's path, but in the end it tries to be to clever and fails a bit.
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7/10
Gore, Sex, & Magic.
insomniac_rod26 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Brutal remake of a H.G. Lewis classic. The original in these days feels dated, primitive, but it still keeps the unique charm of the master H.G. Lewis.

The remake does something really good. It adds a more complex plot, character development, and sub-plots that make it more interesting and not so cheesy.

The movie looks surreal, brutal, and at some points, very real. The black comedy is still here. The sex is still here. Bijou Phillips looks extremely hot! The gore is also very good. So we can say this is a revolutionized remake.

Crispin Glover is great in his role as the demented Montag The Magician. Kip Pardue is just good. I didn't expect more from him. Brad Dourif, Jeffry Combs are just spectacular. Dourif in a character that looks like Rob Zombie and Combs is hysterical. I love both of them.

The gore is beautiful, nasty, exaggerated. I liked it. It has the H.G. Lewis feeling on it.

The settings are dark, and even look terrific. The ending will please everyone. I love when problems are solve WITH EXTREME GORE!

A worthy remake that should please fans of the original and make newcomers adore H.G. Lewis.
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3/10
A solid cast can't save weak story-telling and bad film-making.
Mr_Censored13 April 2009
Kip Pardue, Bijou Phillips, Crispin Glover, Brad Dourif and The Suicide Girls (!) star in the 2007 remake of "The Wizard Of Gore" as directed by Jeremy Kasten. While the box-art seems enticing – an intense Glover beckons you to join him amidst scantily clad females – the movie itself is rather flat and self-indulgent. Glover plays Motag The Magnificent, a bizarre magician who is fond of dismembering and torturing his volunteers to horrified audiences on a nightly basis. It's all fun and games in the crowd's eye, as each would-be victim emerges unharmed. However, when a young reporter by the name of Edmund Bigelow (Pardue) catches onto some crazy coincidences – namely, the participants turning up dead the next day in a fashion similar to their staged fate – the line between his reality and Montag's stage-show is blurred. Is Bigelow somehow responsible for their fates? Is Montag playing a game with him that he doesn't know about? Or is it all just a side-effect of some mind-expanding drugs?

Kasten (whose previous credits are as thin as the movie's plot itself) tries to juice up a weak story with a bit of visual flare, but unfortunately wacky camera angles and color filters can't hide the lack of substance. The film is almost redeemed by its strong cast, though. Brad Dourif plays a creep well, and it serves his role appropriately. Following up "Hostel II," Bijou Phillips turns in one of her more likable roles, but it is Glover who truly steals the show. With his hilariously over-sized codpiece and Conan O'Brien-from-Hell hairstyle, it's hard to imagine he didn't know he was involved in a train-wreck, but he makes the best of things, hamming it up and his scenes are the best the film gets. Genre fans will appreciate some of the creative death scenes, although, the way they are presented (with some truly obvious and offensive CGI) kills any effectiveness whatsoever. The biggest problem, though, is the air of self-importance this film carries, especially considering how weak the story is. The bad attempt at mind-games – especially in the final act – kills any sense of enjoyment and strips the movie of at least earning the label of "enjoyable B-movie." Too pretentious for its own good and too nonsensical for what it attempts, "The Wizard Of Gore" is a messy failure, at best.

At one point – somewhere in the final act – my wife turned to me and asked me if I "get this movie." The answer was "I think so," but the real question should have been "Are you enjoying it?" to which I would have answered a solid "no." "The Wizard Of Gore" doesn't have much to offer. It may confuse you into thinking it is actually a smart movie, but nothing could be further from the truth. The film is too amateurish to be convincing (think late-night HBO/Cinemax fare) and too pretentious to be enjoyed on the most basic level. I personally can't comment on how it compares to the original movie as I've never seen it, but that is irrelevant, since the movie – on its own merits – is one sorry piece of work.
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6/10
Weak psychothriller marketed as horror movie
TdSmth54 February 2009
The movie starts with the main character Ed, who writes a zine, stumbling all covered in blood into an Asian massage parlor to drop of copies of his zine to his friend Chong. He will tell us how he got to this point.

He and his girlfriend played by the lovely Bijou Phillips go to some party. There he's given an ad for a magic show. Out of boredom they decide to go. The magic show features an introductory act by an unrecognizable Jeffrey Combs doing something repulsive. The main act is Montag who'll have a girl from the audience (a Suicide Girl) come on stage. There he kills them brutally and gorily while delivering some social criticism to the audience. Once the audience is utterly horrified and disgusted, lights go on and the girl is intact.

Ed, who is bored by society in general and his subculture of different people, is mesmerized by the show. He keeps going again and again, which gives us a chance to see Suicide Girls torn to pieces. But he also investigates what is going on. He notices that the girls and audience are hypnotized or under the influence. From Chong he finds out about a drug that can cause those effects, the same drug used to turn people into zombies in Haiti. He also notices that Montag makes sure to shake the hand of every audience member as they arrive to the show.

Ed becomes more and more obsessed with the magician and his act. Eventually he finds out through a friend that the stage girls do actually end up dying at some point in ways similar to Montag's act. But Ed is also getting ill, he sweats, his bones crack, he's constantly breathing into a paper bag to calm him, but his friends think there's something else in the bag.

From here the story is somewhat predictable, as Ed descends into madness and reality and fantasy are combined, or rather, try to separate from his mind. The story here though is rather convoluted, even though you know what's coming.

This movie failed to engage me. It has a couple of good things going for it: plenty of story, some good acting, good gore, some nudity, all of which should add up to a pretty decent horror flick. There's an interesting sense of time, or rather lack of it. It has a noir vibe while also being contemporary. Ed is an interesting character, at first. Well dressed, well-spoken, sophisticated. Brad Dourif as Chong is excellent as always.

And yet it doesn't work out. I don't like the look of the movie or the camera work. Everything looks dreamy, not sharp, everything is filmed at a distance and the camera often is not straight but at an angle. One can't identify or empathize with any character. It's very odd that Montag is not featured more prominently. This is a horror movie without a villain. And Montag while acted idiosyncratically, is not convincing. His monologues are delivered as speeches to himself not an audience. Ultimately the story is more convoluted than it needs to be, giving you nothing to look forward to. This is another instance of a horror movie degenerating into a weak psychothriller.
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3/10
Gory but hollow
Siamois19 August 2008
One thing you have to give to Wizard of Gore is that it is aptly titled, because it is indeed very gory and definitely not for the squeamish. Fans of this repetitive, tired genre will certainly be entertained, while the rest of us will be puzzled and forget the film as soon as we have seen it.

"Gore"'s most notable flaws are as follow: 1-The script is terrible. The movie is poorly written and yet, it appears they were overambitious in their attempt to give meaning to the mess.

2-The direction is just awful. Poorly shot, confusing scenes, repeatedly failing to engage us with the characters or even to shock us in the least.

3-Crappy actors not at their best. The mind boggles as to why a cult is centered around Crispin Glover. He is doing his prototypical, mediocre impersonation of himself. Always one-dimensional and incapable of subtlety in the ironic touches he tries to inject in his roles. Bijou Phillips, who once held promise she might develop into a solid indie actress has failed to develop further and continues on her path to b-movies and other forgettable roles. Beyond being pretty, you need a certain gravitas and I now wonder if she will ever get it. As for Kip Pardue, he's more a never was than a has been and I guess is on par with the kind of lead a poor movie deserves.

Ignore the high IMDb rating, unless you're in love with Crispin Glover or the kind of movie fan who has made it a mission to have the entire Brad Dourif collection.
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2/10
An irritating assault on the senses
j-cameron223 February 2009
I recently saw the Herchell original and it holds some mild fascination and is camp as hell but it wasn't really good except in an early John Waters style OTT sort of way. With the advances in SFX technology, it should be easy to make a remake of higher quality and better gore. No? Well compared to this turgid stool of a remake, the original is a masterpiece. What should have been an uber-gross-out popcorn remake turns out to be a navel-gazing, existential self-rimjob on... to be honest I haven't a clue! Only watch this film if you can stomach a 'plot' with no focus, where you never know if the main character is awake or dreaming due to the fact that he keeps waking up in a cold sweat every five minutes covered in blood... and then... 5 seconds later - with no blood! Oh, so that was the dream? No wait, this is the dream! Or was that the dream before? Who cares. What doesn't help is a plot with characters that have their own motives and actions but it's almost impossible to follow since it's always unclear which parts are real and which are imagined - and the direction is so poor you don't feel the film deserves the energy to unravel it all. Like Guy Ritchie's Revolver this is an absolute nightmare, and not in a good way. Crispin Glover is surprisingly bad in the titular role. His hair has been buffeted up into a bouffant so he resembles a church evangelist and it's a gratingly annoying performance. Intead of trying to bring something new to the role (creepiness? / scares?), he seems happy to just mimic the campness of the original. And as for the SFX, the old version may have looked poor, but at least it didn't hide the crappy effects behind a smoky screen so you couldn't see anything that was happening like this film does! Give this one a miss
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7/10
not sure what happened exactly. or whether it happened.
ainaithilwen26 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
while the gore is admittedly not all that impressive as far as realism goes (were those papier-mâché guts when Glover's character disembowelled the first girl ??? as for the burnt-alive blonde... no comment),the effect is however still cringe-worthy.

And I did cringe. a lot.

OK,at the beginning, the cringing had more to do with 'Montag the Magnificent's (sic)rather embarrassing insane laughter (nevertheless, I am happy to report that the rest of Glover's performance did not elicit any more what-the-hell-tell-me-he-did-not... *facepalm* reactions among the group of friends I was watching the film with. In fact, the manic cheerfulness of it contrasted rather nicely with the wanton slaughtering of strippers going on on stage.

back to the cringing: freaks chomping down on maggots and rats are always a crowd-pleaser (And for those who are hiding behind a pillow, too bad it won't keep the sound effects away. Well, more pizza for the other viewers I guess...) The cringe-worthiness of the slaughtering is more in the wanton aspect of it than in its actual visuals (the girl that gets bits chopped off with the bear traps does not even bleed. However, Glover's suavely unconcerned delivery of the accompanying monologue makes the scene chilling enough).

on a random tangent: could retro-boy (the "hero") have been played with an even more emo angle? and his girlfriend's nagging about his knowing the stripper's name, while ethically understandable, was just annoying. Not quite sorry to see that one die...

but on to my main point: I guess my friends and I are a particularly clueless bunch, but I would be grateful if someone could explain who did what to whom and when (I got the why, but that's about it). Because I'm still trying to figure it out since we saw the movie last week.

Still, the fact is that, despite the movie's numerous flaws, it manages (though, from what I've read, this does not apply to all viewers) to make you want to figure it out beyond the usual "what does it say in IMDb's FAQ ? nothing. oh, well." And that is why I give it a 7. Well, that and the fact that, while the plot line is terribly confusing - or maybe decided to leave on an extended vacation,I'm not sure - I was, for once, not bored into unconsciousness.) And the comedy value of the movie as a whole is not to be underestimated either...
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5/10
The Wizard of Gore
Scarecrow-885 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Complex mindscrew following an underground newspaper journalist(..who authors the Cacophony Gazette)whose life is turned upside down when he visits(..supposedly)a flamboyant magician, Montag the Magnificent's gore-themed magic show which repels the audience with a(..supposedly)staged murder, through a chosen planted female assistant in the audience. Kip Pardue is Ed Bigelow, the writer who always dressed in suits and fedora hat as if he belonged in a Bogart movie, finding that his reality could very well be an illusion created by the drug tetrotoxin, planted on his hands thanks to Montag's handshake. He discovers that Montag's assistants are all chosen through the service of supplier Dr. Chong(Brad Dourif)winding up dead the night after their tour of duty for his live act. Ed utilizes the services of his pal, "Jinky"(Joshua Miller;Near Dark, The River's Edge), a coroner, in helping to establish Montag's use of a drug to possibly trick his audience in believing that they're seeing a live murder, quite an illusionist trick, while also hoping to indict him with their actual killings. But, what Ed soon discovers is that perhaps his whole life has become an illusion, the tetrotoxin creating a existence of constant disorientation and the impulse to attack those who provoke a negative response. We watch throughout the movie as Ed begins to breath into a paper bag as if hyperventilating, with bones cracking/popping due to the excessive abuse of tetrotoxin which is coursing through his body. Bijou Phillips is Ed's "girlfriend", Maggie who might or might not have been a whore working for Dr. Chong. Jeffrey Combs is Montag's "opening act", a filthy alley-cat who eats maggots and bites off rat heads as a means for sickening the audience in preparation for the really nasty stuff to come afterward.

I was excited when I rented this just because Crispin Glover was in it, as the magician who seems to be actually killing those he performs fake murders on stage. As expected(..with my hopes fulfilled), Glover brings his glorious weirdness to the film, creating such a strange stage performer in the magician, Montag. This isn't his film, unfortunately, as Pardue gets the lead as the very confused and befuddled reporter who may be used as a pawn in Montag's games of illusion. Dourif, well, is Dourif, creating a manic "salesman" who treats clientèle to whores and drugs. Wild-eyed and temperamental, Dourif provides us with yet another memorable character. Combs hides underneath scraggly hair, beard, and tattered clothes, quite an accurate depiction of a homeless nut-case willing to go the extra mile to put on a performance which would make an audience gag. Miller is a far cry from that annoying brat with an attitude we remember from THE RIVER'S EDGE(..also starring Glover). Sporting a beard and curly locks, tossing witty liners often hurled at Ed, he is much more mild-tempered than the kid who used to clash with those around him. The film mostly features CGI gore(..and even this is shown from a distance probably to be on the safe side as to not expose the special effects)when Glover performs his grisly stage acts on female victims(..the film proudly proclaims that the Suicide Girls perform the demanding tasks of standing on stage naked as Montag mistreats/humiliates them). The story is demanding and will require patient viewers willing to go the extra mile until everything falls into place with a satisfying(..to me, anyway)finale when we get answers to a lot of head-scratching scenarios which present themselves as Pardue's "hero" wishes to expose Montag for the criminal he is. But, Dourif's "connections" with Glover's Montag regarding his "girls" also plays a major part in the grand scheme of things. Pieces to a puzzle come to fruition as the bizarre plot continues to the end. Clever, but difficult, this remake of HGL's notorious gore film will probably alienate some while others might find it rewarding due to it's challenging story.
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Fascinating pastiche
NateWatchesCoolMovies29 December 2017
The Wizard Of Gore is an inspired little oddball of a flick, based on an obscure oldie that I've never seen, but the absurdity of Crispin Glover as a psychotically evil pseudo Vegas showman is worth the price of admission alone. I've not a clue what the original film's plot is, but here we find Kip Pardue as some private detective, trying to make heads or tails out of Montag The Magnificent (Glover), who uses a combination of dark magic and dodgy airborne pharmaceuticals to trick his audiences into thinking he's dismembered assistants body's onstage, for real. Tricks of the trade, right? Sure, only problem is there's girls turning up dead for real, and the trail leads right back to this spindly, well dressed agent of evil in magician's clothing. I thought it was pretty cool, especially the slick production design and actual effort put into a plot with more tricks up it's sleeve than Criss Angel. Not too mention some jarring gore, which of course the title more than suggests. Brad Dourif, who you may have guessed by now is a favourite of mine, appears as an Asian man named Dr. Chong, with creepy ties to whatever magic is being used in the murders. That's right. Brad Dourif. As an oriental man. I laughed hard, especially since nothing about his appearance or costume is remotely of the orient. Throw in appearances from various cutie pie pinup girls from the Suicide Girls troupe, and you've got something memorable indeed. Check er' out.
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1/10
Utter, total, irredeemable garbage.
JoeB1312 September 2008
This film is a remake of the 1970 splatter classic, "Wizard of Gore", sometimes titled "The Mad Magician". It wasn't a very good film, but it takes on a new luster compared to this garbage.

The plot is that a magician is doing a show where he apparently dismembers volunteers from the audience, who later turn up dead from the same injuries they suffered on stage. IN the 1970 version, it was inept police officers trying to catch the magician in the act, with no attempt to logically explain HOW such a thing could occur. This film involves a Matt Drugde wannabee, who investigates the deaths while having a sneaking suspicion he's causing them.

This movie attempts some convoluted explanation about psychotropic drugs and a plot to dominate the valued stripper market. (The fact that all the victims are strippers makes them even less valued, thus increasing the misogyny factor.)

The truly sad part about this effort is that GOOD actors- Jeffrey Combs (not recognizable under the makeup) and Brad Douriff, are involved.
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Awful stuff!
Wizard-827 March 2013
The idea of remaking the classic 1970 Herschell Gordon Lewis movie "The Wizard of Gore" did have potential. But in its actual execution, this remake fails in just about every way you can think of. True, Crispin Glover does add a little life into his scenes, and the movie does boast some okay gore sequences. Other than those things, I can't think of anything positive to say about the movie. It's terribly shot, looking like it was photographed with a camcorder and with extremely bad lighting. (And just about every shot of the movie has the camera at an odd tilt.) The lead character is annoying and unsympathetic. And the story moves at a crawl, and often doesn't make that much sense. The movie is so bad at times that one could almost swear that the filmmakers were trying to do as bad a job as possible. Like when it comes to most remakes, stick with the original.
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1/10
waste of good actors
ameliabenson17 January 2011
This movie started out somewhat promising, but after the Main character had his first nightmare and grabbing a paper bag from his bedside table..things went completely downhill.

Sadly Kip Pardue ruined the film, which is a real shame too, because Glover, Phillips, combs, suicide girls and Dourif acted perfectly. This isn't even really about the Wizard of gore, but a psychological thriller of a weak pussy diving into his nightmares. If you want to see a poor excuse for a man constantly breathing out of a paper bag and forever repeatedly cracking his bones for no reason at all-then see this film. The writing for the in-depth speeches about hell sounded like a college poem with no backbone. If you manage to watch this entire film without turning it off it will just make you wonder why you didn't watch something else. They shouldn't have called it "The Wizard of gore", instead have called it something else for an actual remake with a decent plot and a 1/2 decent lead actor to come around.
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8/10
Strange, Surreal, Bloody, and Sometimes Clumsy Like The Original
catheter1st26 September 2016
I missed this when it came out in theaters, I happened to pick it up in a local store used for $2.00. Probably one of the better investments I have made recently.

Firstly Crispin Glover, perfect casting choice. I have followed his films since the 80's, and he never disappoints when portraying weird, misguided, misunderstood, or otherwise socially awkward and/or puzzling characters. Bravo. I was not convinced by the lead male character's pseudo William Burroughs persona. But hey, who can really impersonate the legend as well as Peter Weller did in Naked Lunch? I don't think anybody could.

Secondly, gore? Yes! The film has a plethora of gore, and the plentiful nude bodies of the Suicide Girls makes it totally worth watching.

Thirdly, completely disjointed continuity which adds to the element of surrealism, which I do admit, is achieved in a highly clumsy fashion at times. An homage to the original on purpose, or overzealous and pompous directing and editing? You decide. This film was better then most of the tripe that was released at the same time(2007), and has been released since. Not perfect by any means, but well worth my $2.00.
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3/10
Boring and irritating, sometimes by turns, sometimes at once
jadavix19 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I've heard this remake of HGL's "Wizard of Gore" described as "a disgrace to the original", which is a bit harsh. The original sucked, too.

This does preserve some aspects of the first one: a dream like atmosphere so overwhelming it becomes irritating, and, yes, gore.

The plot is something about a boring stiff who takes his sexy girlfriend to a weird geek show where a magician gets people up on stage, gets them to strip, and then kills them while rambling garbage. Afterwards it appears that the people weren't really harmed, but then they turn up dead anyway.

The original didn't use this moronic plot well, and neither does the remake. It's not scary. It's not interesting. It's not creepy. It's just a lazy excuse to show some gore. Surely they could have come up with a better way to do it. Something that actually worked. I mean, the people who are gutted by the magician weren't really harmed, and then later they show up dead anyway? I assume the filmmakers are trying to make us think "perhaps the magician is really killing the people he brings on stage", but this is obviously not true, because we see them survive. So what's the deal?

The "Wizard of Gore" remake does have one other thing in common with the original: it also feels about an hour too long. Crispin Glover, Brad Dourif and Jeffrey Combs couldn't save it. Nor could a few Suicide Girls, who do what nude models are good at: get naked and keep still. The direction is so intrusive and irritating it's hardly watchable, and when you do watch, you get nothing out of it.
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2/10
More like the Wizard of Bore...
paul_haakonsen23 December 2015
When I ordered this movie from Amazon it was with some anticipation as it has Jeffrey Combs, Crispin Glover and Brad Dourif on the cast list. And the DVD cover brandished 'a new version of the horror classic' and 'one of the year's most anticipated releases'. Yeah, well, lets just say that I was sorely disappointed.

Well, with a result as abysmal as this movie was, I don't even want to delve into the original 1970 version.

The story in this movie didn't appeal to me in any way, as it was too forced and didn't ever manage to capture my interest. And truth be told, I even dozed off for about ten minutes. The entire movie was just trying to be a bit too much extraordinary for my liking.

What kept this movie semi-afloat was aforementioned actors; Jeffrey Combs, Crispin Glover and Brad Dourif. But they could only do so much in order to salvage this train-wreck of a movie given the limitations of the screenplay and the directorial hand of Jeremy Kasten. Oh, well and the gore in the movie was good as well, and that counts for something, if you enjoy that kind of macabre entertainment.

I am sure that there is an audience for this movie, I just wasn't part of that audience, that much is for sure.
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3/10
an unspectacular Wizard, but there is Gore
loomis78-815-98903423 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Remake of the 1970 Herschel Gordon Lewis Film follows an underground reporter named Edmund Bigelow (Pardue) to a master illusionist known as Montag The Magnificent (Glover). Montag picks a person from the crowd and butchers them on stage in one form or another. Once the audience is gasping in terror and fright he brings the victim out alive to face the shocked crowd. Problem is the stage victim is turning up dead for real with the wounds inflected on stage. This movie moves into psychedelic areas where it all may be happening in the crazy mind of the main character Bigelow. What it really is, is an excuse for tons of bloody gore and bizarre hallucinogenic moments that may or may not make sense. This could be entertaining to the right Horror film fan but it failed to scare me at all. Crispin Glover has some inspired crazy moments as Montag and Brad Dourif finally got a small role that had some meat on it for him. Well made by Jeremy Kasten, but the movie just doesn't seem to have a point and in the end is just a bloody head scratcher that leaves you feeling filthy when it's over.
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