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The Sorcerers

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Posted 5th April 2009 at 07:38 PM by Sam@Cult Labs

The Sorcerers

Michael Reeves died tragically in the late 60s from an overdose of Barbiturates having completed only three films, films that singled him out as a major talent in the industry. Had he lived, then most of those who worked with him agree that he would have gone on to be a Hollywood major player.

He first directed She-Beast, a rather amateurish low budget B flick that showed he had the tenacity in getting a film produced in the first place rather any great talent, whilst his final film was Witchfinder General, a movie which lead actor Vincent Price credited as his containing his finest performance.

In between these two radically different movies came The Sorcerers, a slice of bleak low budget Sci-fi horror that's a grim flip side to the swinging London movies of the time. Yes, it contains a young cast and the requisite night club scene with a happening beat combo, but the film is a far more interesting proposition than many of it's throwaway contemporaries.

It stars an ailing Boris Karloff, who was given the opportunity to turn in a complex and dark performance late on in his career. Having been at the top of the horror game in the 30s as one of the stalwart players in the Universal monster cycle, his later years saw him eke out a living in trashy foreign made schlock and some truly horrendous Mexican dross. Although he didn't plumb the depths as fully as fellow classic monster man Bela Lugosi, it was still sad to see a great presence like Karloff reduced to playing B-movie stereotypes.

In The Sorcerers he is Professor Montserrat, a great hypnotist was has formulated a new method of mind control that allows him and his twisted spouse, Estelle, to live vicariously through the eyes of others. Being elderly and crippled with old age, they seek their kicks by occupying the psyches of the young.

Mike Roscoe (British TV stalwart and star of every Reeves feature Ian Ogilvy) becomes their Guinea Pig, and soon Estelle seeks greater and more deadly kicks. Can her husband control her dark desires and put an end to the madness before it's too late?

Director Reeves achieved a quantum leap with this film, producing a professional and thought provoking piece of very modern horror with some intriguing psychedelic light and sound effects.

The difference between this and his first film is marked, She-Beast is a cheerfully inept home movie in comparison and it's easy to see how he would go to create a believable and bleak period work with his final film.

The Sorcerers is a fantastic film for lovers of retro-UK horror and is a fine example of it's type. British fright flicks were about far more than the camp bloodsuckers and West Country accented yokels of the Hammer films, much as I love them and this movie is the perfect illustration of that.
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