Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 30th, 2017
BluRay released: January 11th, 2017
Approximate running times: 72 Minutes
Aspect Ratios: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Twilight Time
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
The Mad Magician was directed by John Brahm who’s other notable films include, The Undying Monster, The Lodger, Hangover Square and The Locket. He also directed these Twilight Zone (Time Enough at Last, Queen of the Nile) and Outer Limits (ZZZZZ) episodes. Key collaborators on The Mad Magician include, screenwriter Crane Wilbur (He Walked by Night, The Bat), cinematographer Bert Glennon (Young Mr. Lincoln, Crime Wave) and producer Brian Foy (The Return of Doctor X, House of Wax).
Shortly after the box office success of House of Wax, producer Brian Foy would quickly start another similar themed film. And that film in question was The Mad Magician. Besides borrowing elements from the aforementioned House of Wax. Another area where these two films have similarities include, the carryover of key cast members’ screenwriter Crane Wilbur and cinematographer Bert Glennon and Vincent Price once again is cast in the lead role.
From a production standpoint, The Mad Magician features a solid premise, a strong narrative that is wonderfully paced and well defined characters which are all superbly portrayed by the cast. Another strength of this film are its striking visuals and when it comes to the use of 3-D this film far exceeds expectations.
Standout moments visually include, a sequence of moments where the protagonist who has just severed off the head of his employer and the bag he put the head in has been mistakenly been taken by a young woman who works for him. From there he tracks her down only to discover that she has given the bag to the police. Another standout moment visually includes, a scene where the protagonist’s ex-wife discovers that he has been impersonating a dead man and in order to key his secret. He murders her.
When discussing this film one must not overlook the contributions from Vincent Price (Witchfinder General, Theatre of Blood) in the role of this film’s protagonist Professor Henry Jarrod. He delivers a rock-solid performance which allows him to take on many persona’s. Other notable cast member include, Eva Gabor (“Green Acres”) In the role of Jarrod’s ex-wife, John Emery (Spellbound, Blood on the Sun) in the role of a magician named The Great Rinaldi and Lenita Lane in the role of Alice Prentiss, an inquisitive novelist who writes murder mysteries.
The Mad Magician comes on a 50 GB dual layer (34.4 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release both the 3-D & 2-D versions of the film have been included. It should be noted that no 3-D glasses are included and you will need the required equipment to watch this film in 3-D. Details look crisp, black and contrast levels look solid throughout. Grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds, clean, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 9 seconds), a featurette titled The Master of Fright Conjuring the Mad Magician (19 minutes 49 seconds), two Three Stooges shorts, Spooks (15 minutes 44 seconds) and Pardon my Backfire (15 minutes 56 seconds), an option to listen to a Isolated music track and an audio commentary with film historians David Del Valle and Steven Peros.
Topics discussed in the extra titled The Master of Fright Conjuring the Mad Magician include, producer Bryan Foy, House of Wax and how its success lead to The Mad Magician begin made, 3-D cinema and the 1st theatrically released 3-D film The Man in the Dark, Three Stooges shorts in 3-D, The Mad Magician, director John Brahm, Vincent Price and the cast.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, producer Brian Foy, House of Wax and how its success lead to The Mad Magician being made, Vincent Price and The Mad Magicians cast, John Brahm, screenwriter Crane Wilbur, 3-D and Vincent Price’s legacy a Horror genre icon.
Rounding out the extras is eight-page booklet with a essay about the film written by Julie Kirgo. Overall The Mad Magician gets an exceptional release from Twilight Time, highly recommended.
Note: This Blu-Ray release is a limited-edition release of 3,000 copies.