What kind of a deranged, immoral world do we live in where Fantasia is able to host not one but two Herschell Gordon Lewis remakes within the last three years? Films that were once the domain of only the scummiest grindhouse cinephiles have now become fodder for the remake mill. A scant two years ago Tim Sullivan brought us 2001 Maniacs, and now Jeremy Kasten (All Souls Day) pulls The Wizard of Gore out of the remake hat.
The film stays true to the premise of the source material, in which a mysterious magician by the name of Montag the Magnificent (played over the top by a maniacal Crispin Glover) stages elaborate Grand Guignol magic shows on a nightly basis. During his act, Montag selects a lady from the audience, and then proceeds to disembowel, decapitate, immolate or otherwise graphically murder her. Or does he? Just as the audience is about to flee from the theatre, the act is revealed, and the victim is displayed unharmed. However, the next day, the previous night’s participants are found dead -- killed in a fashion mirroring their stage death. Amateur sleuth Edmond Bigalow (Kip Pardue) -- writer, editor and publisher of the Cacophony Gazette -- attempts to track down the cause of the mysterious deaths. His investigations lead him to herbalist pimp Doctor Chong (played by Brad Dourif with a handlebar, rather than Fu-Manchu, moustache!), a grimy maggot-eating circus geek (played invisibly by genre vet Jeffrey Combs), and various Suicide Girls, who comprise the bulk of Montag’s victims.
The Wizard of Gore has a stylized, hyper-cool aesthetic, much of it derived from the inclusion of the aforementioned Suicide Girls and sundry other hardboiled hipsters. Those looking for skin and gore will find it aplenty, though the arguable moral underpinnings of the movie may make you think twice about your desire to see either. Or will it? As Montag utters to the audience at the end of his shows, “Did you feel something? Anything?” Come see The Wizard of Gore and find out for yourself!
Director: Jeremy Kasten
Screenplay: Zach Chassler
Cast: Crispin Glover
Producers: Christopher Duddy, Glenn W. Garland, Daniel Gold, Dan Griffiths, Eric Rinestone, Jeffrey Silverman
Distributor: Open Sky
2006 | 18 min