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Montag the Magician (Ray Sager) stages one of the most amazing and most
shocking acts there is: Night after night, he mutilates and kills one of
the members of his audience in a very violent way - like sawing a woman in
half with a chainsaw, let a woman swallow a sword and then cut her up from
the inside, driving a spike through a woman's head or punching a hole in a
woman's chest with a punch press. Thing is, after these women are quite
obviously killed, they show up alive and unharmed and able to take their
bow - it's all just mass hypnosis, or so it seems at least ...
Especially daytime TV-host Sherry (Judy Cler) is fascinated by the
magician and visits him night after night with her boyfriend reporter Jack
(Wayne Ratay) and she also tries to get him onto her show to do a trick.
Jack however is less than impressed by Montag, but what's more disturbing
is that all of Montag's volunteers die the very same way they did on stage
only hours after the performance, but obviously without even being
assaulted. Jack starts to investigate, and after some time even the police
becomes interested in his ideas, but it seems impossible to pin the
killings on Montag - or anybody else for that matter.
So the police decides on a desperate measure: To use Sherry as bait
when Montag performs one of his tricks on her show ... Thing is,
this time around, Montag thinks bigger and he wants to burn the whole
studio audience - in which he almost succeeds, if it wasn't for Jack, the
only one who has looked through his hypnotizing techniques, and he can
push Montag himself into the fire just before Montag can volunteer
the audience to go into it. With Montag burning to a cinder, his power
over the audience is gone, and everything's back to normal.
Later that evening, Sherry and Jack discuss the case and Sherry
recounts the many loose ends of the case (and the film), like how did
Montag do it (mass hypnosis is not good enough an explanation), why did he
do it, why did he steal his victims' corpses, why did he burn in his own
fire that was actually just an illusion, ... All of a sudden, Jack removes
his mask from his face and he turns out to be Montag - and immediately he
starts dismembering Sherry with his bare hands (!) - but at one point
Sherry just starts to laugh and claims she has magic powers far greater
than his - and all of a sudden, we are back at the performance that opened
the film, only this time, Sherry is far less fascinated by Montag ...
It's very easy to dismiss this film, probably Herschell Gordon Lewis'
goriest, as a sick and violent piece of trash. But while not completely
wrong, this is also unfair to the film that is so over-the-top it simply
can't be taken all seriously anymore. Ray Sager's overacting and the
relish with which he plays with his victims' guts are pure self-irony, as
is the totally nonsense ending and the film's many loose ends that are
actually addressed in the movie. Simply put, the film offers too much of
everything and should therefore be taken with the humour it deserves.
That said, if blood and guts aplenty are not your thing, of if you
insist on taking your gore flicks seriously, stay away from this one. If
you are into the bizarre however and can laugh about (cheaply made) gore
effects then this one is definitely recommended.