Title: The Wizard of Gore
Director: Jeremy Kasten
Rating: 3 / 5
Review: Ok so with my last review I looked at the Ozploitation thriller “Long Weekend” (1978) a film that I personally felt was, slightly more than a challenge to review in my usual critical ways. So I was kind of hoping for something perhaps a little more straightforward with this review, after all how complex could a horror remake, that seems to be relying on the “The Suicide Girls” as one of its selling points really be?
So try here we go again as I attempt now to make give you my thoughts on this weird little film.
Opening with a blood drenched Edmund, as he staggers towards a strip club, clutching the latest issue of his newspaper, as Edmund’s Noir Esq. voice over gives us a quick background on his character, it’s safe to say this film hits the ground running, throwing us head first into this decaying Post Punk version of LA, which Director Kasten has chosen as the setting for his retelling of the Splatter classic. Still for some reason it would seem that Kasten wasn’t sure how he could tell a Noir style psychothriller, within this world he has created for himself, which might go along way to explaining why both Edmund and his girlfriend Maggie, are dressed like they are from the 1940’s with their tastes also stretching to their home life aswell, with Edmund’s apartment being decorated with various old fashioned items, while meanwhile the majority of the inhabitants of this world he has created are dressed more Punk or with the intention of causing offence, such as Hans (Bob Rusch) who appears during the first of Montag’s performances in a Nazi uniform, while during the opening party scenes we also get a quick shot of “Blood Wrestling”, which was ironically only added after several of the Suicide girls who had turned up to be party extra’s bugged Kasten, to have them killed in the film and as a compromise he instead created this scene, which actually works well in developing Edmund’s character, as he just smiles upon seeing this scene of naked women wrestling in blood, clearly having become immune at this point, from being shocked by this underground world, he has become fascinated with, while at the same time preferring it seems to remain an observer, rather than joining in and it’s Montag’s performance’s which actually manage to shock him, despite initially dismissing the act.
The problem I have with this film though, is mainly with how it is many ways attempting to fight well above it’s weight, with the story often getting confusing with the numerous layers, which Director Kasten has chosen to add to his vision, meaning that we are often bogged down in confusing visuals, making it hard to distinguish between the dream world and reality, which is clearly his intention, with it being representive of the mental state of Edmund though perhaps in the hands of another director, more familiar with this dream like style of film making, as sadly it detracts from what is generally a very watchable film, despite Kasten not showing a Tarantino fanboy like love for the original, which makes it all the more intriguing why he would choose to remake the original to begin with. Still despite this I would certainly be interested in seeing more of his films, as the experience of watching “Wizard of Gore” certainly didn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth, unlike so many remakes that are churned out these days, it’s just more of a confused feeling that I now have to contend with.
“Wizard of Gore” might get the backs up of the Herschell Gordon Lewis fanbase and will no doubt be stumbled upon by fans drawn in more by the names featured on the cover, but it is certainly a film that deserves a watch (or two) as it is a film that has managed to atleast escape the taboo of being a remake, to the point were it is a note worthy film on its on merits, even if it’s minus points will no doubt lose it more fans than it gain.