Nov 12, 2008


Magic - the art of illusion. As a young adult, we all denounce any and all forms of magic (most of us, that is). The idea of rabbits and hats weigh down reality enough. But what if the truest form of magic came from your cerebrum or psychosis and dementia? That's the motif of a young Anthony Hopkins' Magic - an eerie and terrifying tale of ventriloquism and obsession. Think Night of the Living Dummy, but amped up to an extreme level of disturbing visual prose.

Anthony Hopkins' greatest role was not his turn as Hannibal Lector but as Corky; a distant magician who racks up a lot of rage and isn't very motivated. This causes him to pick the easy way out and becoming a ventriloquist. Hitting the big time, he finds himself pressured into stardom and into taking a psych evaluation. Scared of what the results might be, he escapes into a backwoods hotel only to find his high school sweetheart. Fats (His dummy) doesn't like the idea of him losing his partner so when people start dying, the real question is whether it's Corky or Fats doing the deed.

I remember reading about Magic several years ago. All reactions pointed towards absolute terror incarnate. I rarely trust a film reviewer, but I felt compelled to experience this one on my own with a fresh slate. Seeing as how Dark Sky Films had recently released it, I picked up a copy myself. Magic blew me away leaving me in a defunct daze. Richard Attenborough has masterfully created a riveting suspense film with enough paranoia and romance to bide its own sweet time until the "shocking conclusion". Although I haven't gotten around to inspecting the original novel written by William Goldman, I fear that it will not house the emotional intensity that Sir Hopkins brought to the recessed role of Corky.

My experiences with Magic are one and many. During the love-making scene, aided by the musical cues from the acclaimed Jerry Goldsmith, I felt the nerves shoot throughout my body. I don't get shaken easily but Magic had found a weakness and exploited it. In an attempt to analyze the film, what you see is what you get. While being a pretty normal film by today's standards, Magic indeed has something for everybody. There's voyeurism, madness, mayhem, murder, magic, and developmental leads galore!

Magic is by no means an "Art" film but it supplies an old-fashioned backdrop of a resort on the water. These settings in horror films always appear so open and spaced but when the terror picks up, these corners become tighter and tighter, allowing fewer outcomes other than an inevitable death. Magic is a glorified speech against the corruption of the modern psychological horror. With such a stellar plaque to brandish, it also serves as the most horrifying and well made film concerning a ventriloquist dummy.



jervaise brooke hamster said...

anthony hopkins and richard attenborough are both piles of garbage simply because they are british.

deadlydolls said...

I'm totally with you on that trailer. In fact, every closeup of Fats made me literally jump, and I'm a horror nutso. Dummies are the reason the word 'creepy' was invented.