Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Mad Magician: Vincent Price with a Trick

After having reviewed the Scream Factory Vincent Price box set recently, it's difficult to view any other Vincent Price release as anything but inferior. Lots of extras. Great commentary and interviews as well as introduction by Price himself from beyond the grave... or at least from an Iowa PBS station. That's one way to release a Price movie,and forgive me if I've been spoiled. We're here to talk about The Mad Magician from 1954. This isn't exactly the movie that Price is known for. In fact, I didn't realize it was him until the movie started. It was at that moment that I felt blessed at having stumbled upon this excellent movie. It's classic Price all be it a bit predictable and brought to you by Sony Choice Collection.

A magician is about to break out with his new swinging circular saw trick when his employer claims to own the trick (as per their employment contract). Well, the magician is smarter than the business man as the old adage goes. The Mad Magician (played by Price) starts down a path of murder, killing his employer and a few others along the way. Will he get away with it? That's the real trick.

There are some creepy moments in this picture involving various disguises as well as the Price's "main event" tricks. They actually looking menacing. Giant saws and mobile crematoriums... these are the things of nightmares. Price is exquisite as the bad guy (as he always is). He transforms between several different roles throughout the film using some clever makeup which is quite effective. Once the murder mystery plot thickens, the story might as well be telegraphed to you. It's predictable, but at least it's got some truly dark moments with moderate suspense and action.

The original was in 3D, and I'm afraid we don't get the benefit of it on this release. This rides the coattails of House of Wax, and so it absolutely makes sense that they'd try to capitalize on the success of that novelty. They even use the old yo yo gag used in House of Wax as a 3D gimmick. It's a shame that this release is bare bones. I suppose one could always photoshop in red and cyna, anaglyphic 3D if one was so inclined.

The cover art is a classic movie poster with the Sony Choice Collection band around the border.

I hope you watch this one especially Price fans. It's available now.


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