Horrorfest 2022 Presents: The Wizard of Gore (1970, Herschell Gordon Lewis)


Now this is more like it from Herschell Gordon Lewis, even if The Wizard of Gore doesn’t really have much of an ending now that I think about it. Still Lewis creates one of his more unique and fascinating horror movies, offering up a commentary on the nature of reality while still offering up plenty of horrific and violent murders. The blood of course flows a lot in this movie, and the gore effects straddle the line between disturbing and goofy, which can also describe pretty much every one of his movies that I’ve seen so far. Ray Sager is fantastic as Montag the Magnificent, who is either your garden variety trickster magician, actually gifted, or in fact a man killing people with his magic acts. All of them seem to apply here, as Sherry (Judy Cler) and her boyfriend Jack (Wayne Ratay) discover while they investigate Montag as the bodies pile up. This movie probably has the best acting out of all of his splatter movies, as both Cler and Ratay have good chemistry together and are very likable characters.

Still this movie would not work without Sager, who practically eats the scenery and has an odd menace about him while also managing to appear harmless. That’s a tough line to walk and Sager does it rather well in my opinion. Although not as good as some of his earlier works, The Wizard of Gore is still worth viewing and is even fun in some aspects. I suppose at this point I’m the exact audience for Lewis’ work, and people such as myself are why his cinema lives on years later, for good or for bad. I prefer to think it’s for good.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Nadie oyó gritar aka No One Heard the Scream (1973, Eloy de la Iglesia)


No One Heard the Scream is as much a Spanish take on Hitchcock movies as it is a giallo, and it’s a pretty well made giallo that I really liked. Based on what I’ve seen from Eloy de la Iglesia I like him as a director, and the man had his own flavor and style that worked. The plot would make the Master of Suspense grin, as it entails a woman being forced to help her neighbor dispose of a body. Is he a killer or is something else at work? That and she ends up becoming his all too willing accomplice.

Carmen Sevilla is the woman and Vicente Parra who was also in Cannibal Man is the man. They enter into a twisted game of criminal activity, lying, romance and of course, sex. I also like how de la Iglesia makes the viewer guess who the victim was-naturally I’m not telling, watch the movie people! No spoilers!

The ending made me grin and while this is at times a slow burn the film burns brightly and envelops you, making you wonder if the characters will get caught or not. I prefer this one over Cannibal Man and I look forward to viewing more of Elroy de la Iglesias’ films in the near future. Viewed thanks to Shudder which has a nice collection of foreign horror movies.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: The Toolbox Murders (1978, Dennis Donnelly)


The Toolbox Murders first half contains murders that make even a gorehound like myself feel uneasy. Too bad the last half of the movie turns into a bottle episode that slows the movie down until the rather creepy finale. I’m reminded of a steak that appears tasty at first until you start cutting away and realize there’s too much fat inside. I prefer my slasher movies a bit leaner and meaner than even what this one has to offer.

Still Dennis Donnelly’s likely most famous creation works as a movie, and it did have some wonderfully nasty surprises up it’s sleeve. Cameron Mitchell gives a freaky and evil performance, fully taking over the movie by the middle of the flick. Pamelyn Ferdin also does a fine job of being the so called final girl, although she doesn’t get much to do for a lot of the movie.

The Toolbox Murders fits in well among the other 1970s sleeze type horror movies that were a big part of that decade. Some of those movies are fantastic and a few are even classics. I wouldn’t label this one anything other than a decent grindhouse B movie that was unfortunately inspired by real events. People tell me reality is more terrifying than onscreen, and they have a point.

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: The Corpse Grinders (1971, Ted V. Mikels)


The Corpse Grinders (1971) had killer cats, people making cat food out of corpses, and the print I watched looked really old and in poor condition. I viewed Ted V. Mikels’ (what a name!) cult film on Tubi TV, and thus I am glad I watched it for free because this is not a good movie. This is not even good trash or fun, just a completely insane pieced together mess of a film that I have already forgotten about. Some movies you need to review after you watch them since you may have fresh thoughts that you will not retain, however there are others that you need to write about since you have moved on to something better. The Corpse Grinders was not particularly memorable, and I only watched it thanks to seeing a preview for it years ago.

Also Mikels was trying to make a dark comedy, although a good deal of humor in The Corpse Grinders is unintentional. The killer cats were neat though, and I didn’t hate this movie. The fact that anyone in the 1970s could make a cheesy cult film and get it released is amusing if a bit inspiring, even if a lot of them were awful. Sometimes you discover a gem, sometimes you find trash that stinks. That’s just the way cinema goes.

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