Detroit Metro Times: ‘The Wizard of Gore’ “a rare success in the horror remake trend”

The glut of horror film remakes in the 21st century has seen far more failures than successes. From The Fog to The Hills Have Eyes, these paltry reworkings of classic movies are a sad lot. Luckily, Jeremy Kasten managed to make an exception to the general rule with his 2007 work, The Wizard of Gore. Rather than going for scares, Kasten plays up the camp and viscera of the original Herschell Gordon Lewis classic.

Kip Pardue stars as Ed Bigelow, a hipster douche bag who lives off a fat trust fund and runs a weekly newspaper out of his posh loft. For kicks, he and gal pal Maggie (Bijou Phillips and her expansive forehead) check out a magic show featuring Montag the Magnificent (Crispin Glover rockin’ a pompadour). The act consists of Montag disemboweling, cooking or chopping up random strippers (all played by actual Suicide Girls) from the audience. They’re fine, of course. All part of the act … or is it? The following day these same lovely Suicide Girl volunteers turn up dead.

The story is a neo-noir with its flashback structure and murder mystery plot. Bigelow’s vintage wardrobe further emphasizes the retro style. The film hinges on Glover’s gloriously unhinged performance as Montag. Forget subtlety — he knows it would be wasted here — Glover chews the scenery with aplomb, managing to outdo his fellow cult co-stars, Brad Dourif and Jeffrey Combs. Pardue plays Bigelow similar to Peter Weller in Naked Lunch: He’s too hip to be empathetic.

Overall, The Wizard of Gore stands as a rare success in the horror remake trend, and really shines when Glover is on screen.

—Mike White

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