“Have you ever seen the sight of human butchery IN PERSON?!”
A sadistic magician (Ray Sager) uses mind control to lure women to his stage, where he dismembers them in what appears each time to be a harmless trick but soon thereafter results in their demise. Can a plucky reporter (Sherry Carson) and her boyfriend (Jack Ward) discover what’s going on before yet another gory murder takes place?
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Amateur Sleuths
- Herschell Gordon Lewis Films
- Horror Films
- Mind Control and Hypnosis
- Serial Killers
While this “existential” splatter flick is considered a favorite among fans of fabled goremeister Herschell Gordon Lewis, there’s nothing whatsoever to recommend about it for anyone who’s not already (inexplicably) enamored with his work. The central premise of a plucky duo trying to determine why all the women who volunteer to be “killed” on stage by Montag the Magnificent (Sager) eventually end up legitimately dead:
… is stupid beyond belief (not to mention never explained in terms of the mysterious gap between the gruesome mutilations we see Montag delighting in, and what the audience actually witnesses). Then again, that’s the “point” of this film: who really knows what’s reality versus our imaginations or an illusion? Profound. It’s too bad the same sentiment written by Peary in his review of Blood Feast (1963), HGL’s debut flick, applies just as well here: “If you detest horror films that show how many shocking ways a creative sadist can do away with young women:”
… “then Lewis is the man you’ll want to blame and this is the film you’ll want to burn.”
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
Nope. Listed as Trash and a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book (yes, it does indeed have a cult following, and was even remade).
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