• Excellent central idea is diluted by the drama elements which are introduced into the story. These were presumably an attempt to broaden the films appeal - something of a trend in American horror films of the late 1970's - but they ultimately prove detrimental.

    Anthony Hopkins is a neurotic ventriloquist who finds himself increasingly coming under the influence of his dummy. He gives a convincing performance of a man losing his grip and realising he is powerless to stop it. His descent into madness provides the strongest horror elements of the film - scenes where Fats the dummy is in human-mode tend to be less plausible, although he does remain a sinister force throughout.

    With Hopkins as the star and Richard Attenborough directing, 'Magic' has gained in reputation following their subsequent elevation to 'A' status. Certainly these two heavyweights bring enough touches of quality to raise the film above the mediocre, without ever giving it touches of real brilliance, despite one or two genuinely scary moments.

    Film follows the theme seen in 'The Great Gabbo' (1929) and 'Devil Doll' (1964) - though most famously a ventriloquist's dummy featured in the classic British horror anthology 'Dead of Night' (1945).