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"People ask me, 'What does this scene mean?' My answer is, 'Why are you looking for significance in my films?' It's just part of the overall impression of unrealism." Director Herschell Gordon Lewis, speaking on the commentary track of The Wizard of Gore special-edition DVD, refers to the film's incomprehensibly red-tinted graveyard scenes, but he could have been referring to any number of moments in this Grand Guignol gross-out. A seedy, histrionic magician caked in cheap pancake makeup cuts a female volunteer in half with a chainsaw, hammers a spike through another woman's head, and eviscerates a parade of unlucky stooges in full view of his audience. They witness an amazing bloodless illusion, but we see what's really going on: a nasty spectacle of blood and guts and gaping wounds and the homicidal wizard rooting around in the gore like a kid in a mud puddle. It has something to do with mass hypnosis, but that doesn't explain how his victims zombie-walk out the door, falling apart minutes later. But that's hardly the attraction of the film, one of the notorious blood feasts that earned Lewis the nickname "Godfather of Gore." The performances are wooden, the dialogue hackneyed, and the effects unconvincing at best, but the film delivers gross-out gore by the buckets and ends with a crazy mind game of a coda. It's not exactly surreal, but it is most certainly unreal.

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ID6102SW Wizard Of Gore DVD (1970/Herschell Gordon Lewis) $9.99