Magic: A Terrifying Love Story


Abracadabra, I sit on his knee.                                                                                                                                                                          Presto, change-o, and now he’s me!                                                                                                                                                                       Hocus Pocus, we take her to bed.                                                                                                                                                                        Magic is fun…we’re dead.

So said the malevolent ventriloquist dummy Fats in the now infamous TV spot that scared children across America and was eventually moved to primetime televison. Magic is a film about an up and coming performer, ventriloquist Corky Withers, (Anthony Hopkins) who runs away from fame in order to hide the fact that he has multiple personality disorder, and escapes to the Catskill Mts. and reunites with his high school sweetheart, ( the lovely Ann Margret as Peggy Ann Snow) but is destroyed by the wrath of his wicked, foul-mouthed dummy, that is “talking” to him. Director Richard Attenborough used the film to finance production on his acclaimed magnum-opus Gandhi (1982).

Just in time for the holiday season I’ve chosen a film that I believe is generally underappreciated, though adored by fans and regularly shown on AMC. It is also genuinely frightening, there is more than one scene where you aren’t quite sure what you’re seeing, the dummy talk, or Corky losing his mind. It is very interesting to sample the work of the great Anthony Hopkins, who does a great job, before his most famous role as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. But please, make that not the sole reason as to see this movie. At 107 minutes in length, its quite surprising to note the film feels very fast-paced, and for a good quarter of the film, its central actions occur at the lodging on Lake Melody. Fats is a fascinatingly funny dummy with a big mouth who quickly becomes very scary, and it is not often obvious to the viewer what is scarier, Fats the Dummy or Corky the unstable madman.

Peggy Ann Snow                                                                                                                                                                                                         Peggy Ann Snow,                                                                                                                                                                                                  please let me follow                                                                                                                                                                                                                         wherever you go…

Ann Margret and Burgess Meredith co-star with the same amount of intense realism, and involvement in what is going on. The last 10 minutes, especially the ending are very memorable and leave you thinking if not disturbed. Great performances, a great underrated picture in my opinion, I end this brief review on a note– watch it. After all…

“You’re not gonna get this opper-fuckin’-tunity tomorrow!”


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