For Reel

The Sorcerers (1967)
August 11, 2015, 12:09 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Michael Reeves
3.5 Stars
The SorcerersDirector Michael Reeves’ career was tragically cut short due to a barbiturate overdose in 1969, and although he only made three films, some critics saw in him the potential to be one of the horror genre’s greats. In his second film, Reeves sets his eye on the contemporary, hedonistic sixties, where the youth culture is largely bored, overly-stimulated, and looking for the next cheap fix. Enter a pair of geriatric hypnotists (Boris Karloff and Catherine Lacey) who have perfected a mind control machine that will allow them to enter the consciousness of a subject and experience their every sensation. While Karloff’s ambition is to use the machine for humanitarian purposes and give elderly people new sensual experiences, Lacey quickly turns to theft and even murder, experiencing the thrills as a deliriously sadistic Dr. Caligari. The central metaphor seems related to the practice of viewing cinema. That is, Reeves suggests a world in which a person can see and vicariously experience great acts of violence, and how quickly that desire for perversion can warp the mind. Additionally, critic Ian Hunter has argued that the film suggests the plight of the youth up against the repressive establishment, and indeed the Cesare-like protagonist (Ian Ogilvy) is a tragic figure whose will is literally taken from him. Silly as the premise might be, Reeves’ use of cross-cutting is very dynamic, both enhancing the suspense of the picture and keenly positioning Karloff and Lacey as surrogate audience members.

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