02 September 2014

Magic (1978)
106 min.
Directed by Richard Attenborough.
With Anthony Hopkins, Ann Margret, Burgess Meredith, Ed Lauter, David Ogden Stiers, Jerry Hauser.
Moody psychological horror.

Shy and introverted ventriloquist Corky (Hopkins) finds that adding wooden dummy "Fats" to his magic repertoire makes his schtick much more successful.

But Corky has some ancillary problems: namely a mental schizophrenia and an obsessive desire to reunite with old school flame Peg (Margret).

When personal complications arise and career pressures begin to mount, Corky's mind deteriorates and Fats takes over...with murderous results.

Good performances from all involved (Margret is great here) and highlighted by some honest suspense sequences.

Check out the creepy scene where 'Fats' stabs Duke to death.

Not critically acclaimed upon release, this subtle terror of the mind would have benefitted greatly by having been made in the first half of the '70s - rather than at the beginning of the new 'blockbuster' era.

And for those only familiar with Hopkins' star-making turn in 1991's Silence of the Lambs, this one comes recommended as a nice display of his talents, compared to his grandiose role-making as Hannibal Lecter.

Fans of ventriloquism-themed horror would also do well by catching 1945's Dead of Night.

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