Montag the Magnificent (Ray Sager) is a crackpot magician who continuously invites a morning talk show host to see his magic act where he cuts a woman in half with a chainsaw, drives a metal spike through a woman’s skull, guides an industrial punch press through a chick’s abdomen and forces two other broads to swallow incredibly sharp swords. Montag also gives a lot of pompous speeches about the line between reality and dreams and even though he’s really butchering girls on stage, the audience thinks it’s all an illusion. The girls themselves appear fine until they leave the stage, go out to dinner and mysteriously end up REALLY being sawed in half, have a whole in their head, puking blood, etc. The talk show host’s cop boyfriend figures it all out, but the reality bending surprise ending confuses the heck out of him, not to mention the audience.
This is one of director H.G. (Blood Feast) Lewis’ better efforts because it features a terrific gore scene about every ten minutes or so. Like most of Lewis’ gore movies, whenever someone gets their guts ripped out, Montag plays around with them in lingering close-ups. (Lewis paid for those chicken livers covered in catsup and by God he’s gonna show ‘em!) As with a lot of Lewis’ later works, The Wizard of Gore suffers from overlength and excess padding (the police procedural stuff brings things to a dead stop), but whenever Sager is on stage mutilating lovely women, it’s damn good times.
Sager (who later gave up acting and went on to produce all those unrelated Prom Night sequels) is excellent as Montag. He could’ve looked pretty ridiculous, but he actually imbues Montag with a sense of menace and at times flashes a wicked sense of humor without being obvious or hammy.
This is just a theory, but I think that this is probably Lewis’ most personal film. I believe there’s a lot of Lewis in the character of Montag. Consider the way that Montag chastises his audience’s bloodlust and then lets them revel in it. Lewis probably had the same mentality while making this flick, but just like Montag, he’s a master showman who really delights in giving the audience for what they want to see; namely blood and gore. And for that we should be entirely grateful.