Our editor-in-chief Nate Yapp is proud to have contributed to the new book Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks, edited by Aaron Christensen. Another contributors include Anthony Timpone, B.J. Colangelo, Dave Alexander, Classic-Horror.com's own Robert C. Ring and John W. Bowen. Pick up a copy today from Amazon.com!
Wizard of Gore (1970)
As is very obvious to the poor souls that have the displeasure of knowing me, I have a documented obsession with the man we call Herschell Gordon Lewis. I am arguably the only homosapien on this planet ecstatic over the promise that Blood Feast 2 will be coming soon to a theater near you. Plotless? Absolutely. Pretentious? You could bet the farm on it. Absolutely asinine? You could bet your ant farm on it. These are some of the reasons I bow down to this man. Wizard of Gore was the film that sealed this unhealthy addiction for me.
H.G.Lewis’ signature style (excessive gore, bad special effects, and acting abilities that would horrify most Bond Girls), is at peak form in Wizard of Gore. The movie follows a haphazard storyline where an evil magician hypnotizes women, and then sticks them with drills, hatchets, and everything but the kitchen sink. Of course, they awaken without a scratch on them. However, these women end up dead days later, killed by the same mechanisms that were used on them when they were hypnotized. Part of the reason Wizard of Gore is my favorite Lewis film, is due to the fact that the plot is actually somewhat creative (unlike Blood Feast which is basically just a crazy guy hacking up people and pulling out their tongues). The man who played the Wizard (Ray Sager) should probably be banned by the film industry so celluloid does not have to be corrupted with more of his robotic performances. However, in this film, I couldn’t have pictured a better actor for the role. H.G. Lewis has a tendency to bring out the best in the most “talent challenged” people.
This plot is absolutely ridiculous. Throughout the movie’s course, the whole town knows this happens and people STILL go to his show and women STILL volunteer to get hypnotized. Are these people from Dan Quayle-Ville or something? Still, this lapse of realism adds to the campy quality of the film. However, the camp could not even begin to reach the levels the film achieves without the special effects. Or, should I say, un-special effects? All I can say is that the Heinz company must have been ecstatic with the cases of ketchup Lewis had to order to make this movie. The deaths were actually pretty creative (proof of a very sick and twisted mind at work. As much as I love this movie, I would pay a lot of money NOT to have to meet the writer in a dark alley EVER). However, the special effects behind the deaths were very bad. But, this makes the movie so frickin’ entertaining. H.G. Lewis is one director that can carry a movie on bad special effects. His movies are basically gore for gore’s sake, and that’s what makes them so fun to watch.
If quality horror is what you’re looking for, then either pass over this film, or get legally drunk before viewing it (it helps if you watch it with a bunch of your friends who would also flunk a breathalizer test). However, if you are in the Campy Camp, this is required viewing for you. People often criticize this film for being too disgusting and calling it the “Lose Your Lunch” film. That is incredibly inaccurate. I’m banking that you’ll lose dinner, breakfast, and your midnight snack, as well.