SLASHER MONTH: The Wizard of Gore (1970)

I have seen too many slashers because I also watched this last year.

This movie is a miracle, because so much went wrong. The actor playing the monstrous Montag the Magnificent walked off the set following a confrontation with Fred Sandy and crew member Ray Sager had to take over the role. And as for the effects, they were basically two dead sheep soaked in PineSol. I can’t even imagine how much everything stunk, like the smell of an adult bookstore before they started making couples friendly places. Handling all those sheep organs was director Herschell Gordon Lewis’ son Robert.

Yes, it’s amazing that a movie with such primitive effects and non-trained actors works so well, but that’s just the weirdness that are the films of Lewis, movies that seem to exist inside vacuums of non-action punctuated by blasts of nausea-imbuing viscera.

Every night, Montag takes the stage and has long-winded speeches about the nature of reality before murdering a woman in front of an audience, then showing that it was all a trick. Then, the same woman dies the same way later that night. Reporters Sherry Carson (Judy Cler) and Greg (Phil Laurenson), along with her boyfriend Jack (Wayne Ratay), know that Montag is behind all of this. They just need to prove it.

The end of this movie breaks from what we expect and goes full psychotic. As they sit on the couch, Jack peels off his own face and reveals Montag before shoving his hands into the stomach of Sherry, who laughs in his face and disputes the illusions and the very nature of Montag’s reality, sending the entire movie back to the very beginning of this movie, creating a loop of reality as Sherry turns to her man and says, “You know what I think? I think he’s a phony.”

This movie was still playing drive-ins twelve years after it was made on several five movie bills. It was known as House of Torture but there had to be maniacs yelling at the screen, astounded to see a movie they had seen many times before. Man, what a magic time.

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