28 September 2008 | BA_Harrison
Gory illusion and much confusion.
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 bestact bloody strangewhich 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).