Wednesday, January 28, 2009


The Wizard of Gore(1970), directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis, is an infamous and bizarre artifact of American cult cinema. It is a about a stage magician who inflicts horrifying and gruesome damage to the participants in his stage shows. Brains are fondled and drilled, eyes are gouged, bowels are cut open and played with....all under the unflinching and unforgiving camera of H.G. Lewis. The bizarre twist with this movie is that Montag is a master of illusion. He performs all of these terrible acts on stage, yet when his victims stand up and walk away it appears as if nothing happened to them. That is until after they leave the auditorium and they collapse in a pile of gore. This movie has an hallucinatory quality, as welcome as a bad acid trip, yet you can't take your eyes away. The acting is terrible and overdone, the lighting is freakish and overbearing, everybody is greasy looking through lack of proper make-up. Yet there is something about this movie that I cannot resist. The gore effects are stomach wrenching and top notch for their time and even today. H.G. Lewis had his own stage blood formula that was gruesomely realistic. Montag's character is particularly disgusting and wooden. He is always questioning the very nature of reality in his stage monologues. The real kicker in this movie is the bizarre twist ending that will completely blow your mind and make you wonder "What the hell were they thinking?" The ending questions the very essence of reality, what is real, and what is not, and makes you question your sanity. You've sat through almost an hour and a half of unbridled gore and bad acting for this? The answer is 'yes' and the shock of the ending is what gives this movie it's charm. The overall effect is maddening, and it makes you appreciate "The Wizard of Gore" even more for all of it's badness. This is not your typical H.G.Lewis movie. His works for the most part are looser and more fun. There's something about the wayward experimentalism of this movie that I can't get enough of. One of H.G. Lewis' darkest and best.

Here's a trailer...

And here's the first ten minutes of the movie. Enjoy.


David Abstract said...

Here's a question Steve - why is Gore more fun than Not-Gore?
(Disney is Not-Gore)
This is a Douglas Coupland question - it's from jPod.

My hypothesis:
Gore gives us an imitation of the physical dangers inherent in the hunter gather lifestyle - it allows us to reconnect with the primitive thrill of potential physical destruction. It's like a pornography of violence - but in a good way!

Anyway as a connoisseur of Gore your input is appreciated.

Steve Smith said...

Why is gore more fun? Well it's irresponsible, offensive to most, and something you really shouldn't be watching. There is a primitive fascination that the whole genre thrives on. That and the fact that it is not real, so that makes it ok to watch it. For me, really, it's just good, mindless fun.