Wizard of Gore, The (DVD) - Dread Central
Connect with us


Wizard of Gore, The (DVD)




The Wizard of Gore DVD reviewReviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Crispin Glover, Bijou Phillips, Kip Pardue, Jeffrey Combs, Brad Dourif, The Suicide Girls

Directed by Jeremy Kasten

Distributed by Dimension Extreme

While growing up loving the horror genre, there were times when I’d seek out films based upon their titles alone. Herschell Gordon Lewis flicks were at the top of that list — Blood Feast, Color Me Blood Red, 2000 Maniacs, and of course The Wizard of Gore were damned near irresistible if only because of their off-kilter namesakes. Though not the best movies out there, H.G.’s balls-out filmmaking style lends an ample amount of ghoulish charm to them, so much so that here we are decades later, and more and more of these vintage splatterfests are getting the remake treatment. Such is the case with Jeremy Kasten’s take on The Wizard of Gore.

Montag the Magician (a perfectly cast Glover) is selling out shows amidst L.A.’s seedy underworld night after night. He has found his success because he’s not your ordinary card trick shilling illusionist. You see, he preys upon his audience’s love for the darker side of life, opting to pull entrails out of stomachs instead of rabbits out of hats. As his popularity grows, his crazed demeanor and outrageous tricks catch the attention of an underground reporter (Pardue) who becomes captivated by Montag’s special brand of blood soaked mayhem. Especially when all of his volunteers keep turning up dead, killed exactly as they were during the show. Can our hero solve this mystery before those he cares about end up on the wrong side of the Saw a Person in Half trick?

The Wizard of Gore DVD reviewFor a remake to be successful, it has to bring something new to the table, not just rehash past events. You simply cannot outdo a film that has already become a classic. Even bizarro flicks like this. You have to build upon them. Take the audience in a new direction while still paying a loving homage to the source material. It’s a pretty scary tightrope to have to walk, but thankfully that is exactly what director Jeremy Kasten has done with this film. In place of the campiness of the original, what we have here is an acid trip of uber-violent proportions. One that is riddled with ambiguity, dark satire, over-the-top performances (Dourif and Combs are in rare form), and grue by the gallon hurled at you at a near relentless pace. If Jim Morrison had lived to be a director, this would have been his type of movie — sex, death, blood, and drugs, baby. It’s pretty fuckin’ nuts, and I applaud it for its overall insanity.

Of special mention here is Crispin Glover. This is a Glover fan’s dream. You just can’t take your eyes off him (or his huge overstuffed codpiece) when he’s on screen. In this role he oozes perversion and gives audiences every single creepy thing that we could possibly want from him. Despite everything that goes on, there’s no denying this is his film.

Yet, for all the praise I can lavish, there are some areas that needed a bit more cooking in the old brazen bull oven. The story at times becomes a bit too muddled, borderlining its way into near incoherency; some of the bit players’ acting gets a bit sketchy; and I’m sorry to say there are a couple of moments when CGI enhancements muck up the otherwise solid physical effects. Still, nothing gets derailed for long, and none of these shortcomings should stop you from enjoying an otherwise wonderfully sleazy experience.

The Wizard of Gore DVD reviewEven the DVD is packing. Things kick off with a truly lively and entertaining commentary with director/editor/producer Jeremy Kasten, writer Zach Chassler, producer Dan Griffiths, cinematographer/producer Christopher Duddy, and assistant editor/associate producer Maxx Gillman. The only negative here is that given the amount of people present, sometimes you’ll lose track of who’s saying what. From there we get three making-of featurettes: The Making-of The Wizard of Gore, Behind the Curtain: A Look at the F/X of The Wizard of Gore, andFrom Volunteer to Victim: The Suicide Girls in The Wizard of Gore. Each one runs around thirteen to twenty-five minutes each, and though they sound self-explanatory, I can assure you there’s nothing cookie-cutter about them. Honestly, they are each a blast, brimming with energy, and not once did I feel the urge to fast forward. These behind-the-scenes looks are really, really good stuff.

Next up we have eight deleted scenes including a verbatim new take on the ending of the original Wizard of Gore that clock in at about the half an hour mark, four storyboard sequences, and ten still galleries. Never mind Blood Red; color me Satisfied.

While this remake is certainly not for everyone (fans of the original expecting an updated but just as silly take on the material will find themselves on the disappointed side of the fence), but if you’re in the proper frame of mind and looking to dig on a really dark and at times disturbing trip, then step right up. Montag is waiting, the crowd is lusting, and this is one trick I’d like to see turned over and over again.

Special Features

  • Audio commentary with director/editor/producer Jeremy Kasten, writer Zach Chassler, producer Dan Griffiths, cinematographer/producer Christopher Duddy, and assistant editor/associate producer Maxx Gillman
  • The Making-of The Wizard of Gore featurette
  • Behind the Curtain: A Look at the F/X of The Wizard of Gore featurette
  • From Volunteer to Victim: The Suicide Girls in The Wizard of Gore featurette
  • Deleted scenes
  • Storyboards
  • Still galleries



    4 out of 5

    Special Features

    4 1/2 out of 5

    Discuss The Wizard of Gore in the Dread Central forums!

  • Continue Reading


    Desolation Review: Campers + Lunatic = Simplicity, But Not Always a Better Product



    DesolationStarring Jaimi Page, Alyshia Ochse, Toby Nichols

    Directed by Sam Patton

    I’m usually all in when it comes to a psycho in the woods flick, but there was just something about Sam Patton’s Desolation that seemed a bit distant for me…distance…desolation – I’m sure there’s a connection in there somewhere. Either that or I’m suffering from a minor case of sleep-deprivation. Either way, make sure you’ve got your backpack stuffed, cause we’re hitting the timber-lands for this one.

    The film focuses on mother and son tandem Abby and Sam, and the tragic notion that Abby’s love and father to her son, has passed away. The absence has been a crippling one, and Abby’s idea of closure is to take her adolescent offspring to the woods where her husband used to love to run and scatter his ashes as a memorial tribute. Abby invites her best friend Jenn along as emotional support, and together all three are planning on making this trip a fitting and dedicatory experience…until the mystery man shows up. Looking like a member of the Ted Kaczynski clan (The Unabomber himself), this creepy fellow seems content to simply watch the threesome, and when he ultimately decides to close the distance, it’ll be a jaunt in the forest that this close-knit group will never forget.

    So there you have it – doesn’t beg a long, descriptive, bled-out dissertation – Patton tosses all of his cards on the table in plain view for the audience to scan at their leisure. While the tension is palpable at times, it’s the equivalent of watching someone stumble towards the edge of a cliff, and NEVER tumble over…for a long time – you literally watch them do the drunken two-step near the lip for what seems like an eternity. What I’m getting at is that the movie has the bells and whistles to give white-knucklers something to get amped about, yet it never all seems to come into complete focus, or allow itself to spread out in such a way that you can feel satisfied after the credits roll. If I may harp on the performance-aspect for a few, it basically broke down this way for me: both Abby and Jenn’s characters were well-displayed, making you feel as if you really were watching long-time besties at play. Sam’s character was a bit tough to swallow, as he was the sadder-than-sad kid due to his father’s absence, but JEEZ this kid was a friggin malcontented little jerk – all I can say is “role well-played, young man.”

    As we get to our leading transient, kook, outsider – whatever you want to call him: he simply shaved down into a hum-drum personality – no sizzle here, folks. Truly a disappointment for someone who was hoping for an enigmatic nutbag to terrorize our not-so-merry band of backpackers – oh well, Santa isn’t always listening, I guess. Simplicity has its place and time when displaying the picture-perfect lunatic, and before everyone gets a wild hair across their ass because of what I’m saying, all this is was the wish to have THIS PARTICULAR psycho be a bit more colorful – I can still appreciate face-biters like Hannibal Lecter and those of the restrained lunacy set. Overall, Desolation is one of those films that had all the pieces meticulously set in place, like a house of cards…until that drunk friend stumbled into the table, sending everything crumbling down. A one-timer if you can’t find anything else readily available to watch.

    • Film


    Looking for a little direction way out in the woods? Look elsewhere, because this guide doesn’t have a whole lot to offer.

    User Rating 2.88 (17 votes)
    Continue Reading


    Children of the Fall Review – This Israeli Slasher Gets Political



    Starring Noa Maiman, Aki Avni, Yafit Shalev, Iftach Ophir, Michael Ironside

    Directed by Eitan Gafny

    Reviewed out of Utopia 2017

    Slashers are a subgenre of horror that are often looked down upon. After all, what can a movie about a killer slaughtering multiple people have to say about, well…anything. Those of us in the community know full well that this is nonsense and that any kind of horror movie can be a jabbing (no pun intended) commentary on society, culture, politics, art, etc… And that’s precisely what Eitan Gafny aims to do with Children of the Fall, one of the few Israeli slashers ever created.

    Set on the eve of the Yom Kippur war, the film follows Rachel (Maiman), a young American woman who comes to Israel to join a kibbutz after suffering some serious personal tragedies. Her goal to make aliyah (the return of Jews to Israel) is however hampered by some rather unpleasant encounters with local IDF soldiers and members of the kibbutz. Pushing through, she makes friends with others in the commune and her Zionistic views are only strengthened, although they do not go untested. Once Yom Kippur, one of the holiest holidays in Jewish culture, begins, a killer begins picking off the kibbutz workers one by one in violent and gruesome ways.

    Let’s start with what Children of the Fall gets right, okay? As slashers go, it’s actually quite beautiful. There are wonderfully expansive shots that make use of the size and diversity of the kibbutz. The film opens with a beautiful shot of a cow stable, barn, water towers, and miscellaneous outbuildings, all set against a dark and stormy night. The lighting of this scene, and throughout the film, is also very good. I found myself darting my eyes across the screen multiple times throughout the film thinking I’d seen something lurking in the shadows.

    The kills, while unoriginal, are very satisfying. Each death is meaty, bloody, and doesn’t feel rushed. In fact, the camera has no problems lingering during each kill, allowing us to appreciate the practical FX and copious amounts of blood used. And if you believe that a slasher needs to have nudity, you won’t be disappointed.

    The acting is middle of the road. Maiman is serviceable as Rachel but the real star of the film is Aki Avni as “Yaron”. His range of emotion is fantastic, from warm and welcoming to Rachel when she arrives to emoting grief and pain during his Yom Kippur announcement where we learn that he was a child in a concentration camp. The rest of the cast are perfectly acceptable as fodder for the killer.

    So where does Children of the Fall stray? Let’s start with the most obvious part: the runtime. Clocking in at nearly two hours, that’s about 30 minutes too much. The film could easily have gone through some hefty editing without affecting the final product. Instead, we have a movie that feels elongated when unnecessary.

    Additionally, the societal and political commentary is very in-your-face but the film can’t seem to make up its mind as to what it’s trying to get across. Natalia, a Belarussian kibbutz worker, raises the concept of Israeli racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, her hostility unabashedly pouring out in the midst of IDF soldiers, locals, other kibbutz members, and more. Is there validity to what she’s saying? Undoubtedly. But there is also validity to Rachel’s retorts, which include calling this woman out on her own vitriolic views. This back-and-forth mentality frustratingly prevails throughout the film, as though Gafny was unwilling to just commit.

    The dialogue is also quite painful at times, although I attribute this to difficulties with translating from Hebrew to English. Even the best English speakers in Israel don’t get everything perfect and the little quirks here and there, while charming, are quite detracting. Also, why is this movie trying to tell me that Robert Smith of The Cure is a character here? While amusing, it makes absolutely no sense nor does it fit in Smith’s own timeline.

    Had this film gone through a couple rounds of editing, I feel like we’d have gotten something really great. Eitan Gafny is definitely someone that we need to be watching very closely.

    • Children of the Fall


    While Children of the Fall has a lot going for it, it has just as much working against it. Overly long, you’ll get a really great slasher that is bogged down by uneven social and political commentary.

    User Rating 3.24 (21 votes)
    Continue Reading


    Madam Yankelova’s Fine Literature Club Review – A Charming, Quirky Dark Drama



    Starring Keren Mor, Yiftach Klein, Hana Laslo, Ania Bukstein

    Directed by Guilhad Emilio Schenker

    Reviewed out of Utopia 2017

    One of the great joys I have in being a horror fan is seeing horror films from around the world. I view these films as a chance to learn about the fears, folklore, mythology, and lore of varied cultures. Films like Inugami, Frontier(s), [REC], and the like transport me across oceans and into places I might never get the chance to visit otherwise. Hence my interest in the Israeli dark drama Madam Yankeolva’s Fine Literature Club, the feature debut of director Guilhad Emilio Schenker.

    The film follows Sophie (Mor), a member of a strange, female-only reading club – who believes that love is a lie – that we soon realize brings men into its midst only to have them killed. The woman who brings the most fitting man is awarded a trophy for her fine taste. When a member reaches 100 trophies, they get to enter a coveted and highly esteemed upper echelon of the reading club’s society, one that includes lavish surroundings and an almost regal lifestyle. Sophie starts the film earning her 99th trophy but her plans towards the all-important 100th trophy are thrown askew when she ends up developing feelings for her latest victim. She must now decide if the mission that has been so dear to her for so many years is something she wishes to see through or if she’s ready to take a huge risk and fall in love.

    Now, if this seems like a strange story for a horror website, I don’t disagree. Madam Yankelova’s Fine Literature Club is certainly not your traditional horror film. In fact, I’d liken it far more to the more playful works of Tim Burton and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s The City of Lost Children than something more grotesque and violent. It’s very playful and quite charming, although there are times when the presentation feels amateurish and certain moments when things become wildly unbelievable. That being said, the film aims to be a dark fairy tale come to life, so a healthy amount of “I’m okay letting that go” will not go unappreciated.

    The film is shot in such a way that it’s very soft around the edges, almost like we’re constantly in a dream. This is aided by composer Tal Yardeni’s score, which obviously takes inspiration from Danny Elfman, playfully weaving its way through each scene.

    While there’s a lot to love about Madam Yankelova’s Fine Literature Club, it’s certainly not a flawless film. As mentioned previously, there are times when it feels quite amateurish, as though no one thought to look at how a scene is being filmed and say, “People, this isn’t how things would go down. We can have fun but this just doesn’t sit right.” Additionally, the story moves very quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard of love at first sight. But that’s not how this story plays out, so the wildly strong feelings that develop between Sophie and Yosef (Klein) seem strangely out of place.

    All things being what they are, Madam Yankelova’s Fine Literature Club is a charming film that can definitely appeal to horror fans if they’re willing to stretch their boundaries to include films that have absolutely no scares or gore but imply quite a horrific situation.

    • Madam Yankelova's Fine Literature Club


    Charming, quirky, but not without its faults, Madam Yankelova’s Fine Literature Club is a dark drama for fans of Tim Burton and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Don’t go in expecting any scares or gore. Rather, anticipate a fairy tale that might be just a bit too gruesome in tone for young children.

    User Rating 3.45 (20 votes)
    Continue Reading

    Recent Comments


    Go Ad Free!

    Support Dread Central on Patreon!

    Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

    * indicates required