The Wizard of Gore (1968) ***1/2 THE WIZARD OF GORE is one of the final offerings of goremeister Herschell Gordon Lewis, and what a fine (awful) film it is. Montag the Magnificent (Ray Sager) hypnotizes audience members to assist him in his magic act. He calls upon the lovely ladies to perform the more risky stunts, such as the “saw-the-woman-in-half” gimmick. Only these are no gimmicks- they’re the real deal! What’s hard to believe, though, is that after Montag is through slicing-n-dicing them on stage, they step down as if none of it had happened. Later, however, they literally fall to pieces! This was my first taste of the “Father of Gore” at work, and what a treat it was! Lewis was a pioneer in the art of bad cinema- he made the first gore film ever produced, BLOOD FEAST, in 1963 after directing a series of softcore pornos in the early 60’s. THE WIZARD OF GORE doesn’t disappoint, and will leave even the hungriest of gorehounds with a full stomach! While the special effects leave much to be desired (particularly that decapitation stint in the beginning of the movie), the blood-n-guts are plentiful, so if you’re one who prefers quantity over quality, this is the perfect film for you! Speaking of quality, the acting is also lacking in this department. The actors- including Montag himself- make so many fumbles with their dialogue that it’s impossible to take the characters seriously. However, when it comes to films such as this, it’s more important for the actors to be memorable rather than competent, so in that department it succeeds. The film wouldn’t be the same without Ray Sager as Montag, who takes ghoulish delight in spitting out unintentionally (?) funny lines that will stick with you long after you’ve seen it. At one point in the movie, Montag actually mispronounces “concentrate” as “croncentrate”! Overall, THE WIZARD OF GORE turns out to be a deliriously amateurish cheesefest, but an enjoyable one. I’m looking forward to seeking out more of Lewis’s work, and if you are a bad movie fan, I suggest you do so as well if you have never seen one of his films.