Filled with mystery, alluring illusion and spectacular awe the world of magic is quite literally magical and mesmerising for audiences around the world. Although let's not forget the darker side of magic. No we're not talking about the nauseating performances of oft-parodied mindfreak magician Criss Angel, the disturbing and shocking trickery talents of British magic maestro Simon Drake or even the in-your-head mesmirising style of Derren Brown. We're here to take a look back over the more memorable magicians from movies past. So let's pick up our exclusive tickets and delve into their talents and stage skills and see what sets them apart from their conjuring competition.
The Wizard of Gore (1970)
In Herschell Gordon Lewis' classic early 70's horror 'The Wizard of Gore' we're introduced to Montag the Magnificent (played by Ray Sager) a magician famous for performing tricks featuring mutilation on female volunteers. However, even though appearing unharmed following each performance these so-called volunteers begin turning up dead in a similar fashion to how they were harmed during the shows. There's so many mind games and hypnotic elements present in the movie that you might want to grab your Derren Brown tickets now for his 2014 'Infamous' tour before they all get snapped up, because even though they don't include mutilations (phew!) his shows can be just as mind-bending and thrilling.
Psychological horror at its very best is prominent in that of the Richard Attenborough directed 'Magic' from 1978. Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins ('The Silence of the Lambs') plays magician/ventriloquist Charles "Corky" Withers whose foul-mouthed dummy Fats becomes more than just a wooden accessory. Corky's psyche becomes entangled with the fictitious personality of Fats created by the magician himself which results in murder and sinisterness that is sure to creep out even the hardened horror freaks out there.
Fright Night (2011)
In Craig Gillespie's vampiristic remake of cult 80's horror 'Fright Night' Charley Brewster faces off against his new next door neighbour Jerry who just so happens to be a blood sucker. Charley needs some assistance and turns to a reimagined version of Peter Vincent (played by ex-'Doctor Who' David Tennant). In this incarnation the role formerly played by Roddy McDowall has shifted from former horror actor to Las Vegas magician, and supposed vampire expert. Price is a more comical character than others in our run down and instead of causing the thrills and heinousness actually assists in disposing of evil. What a good egg.
The Prestige (2007)
Although not strictly horror-related to any extent this superbly executed mystery thriller from master helmer Christopher Nolan ('The Dark Knight Rises', 'Inception') features not one but two totally different styled magicians in direct competition with each other. Hugh Jackman ('Les Miserables') and Christian Bale ('The Dark Knight') compete for greatness as Robert Angier and Alfred Borden in London during the end of the Nineteenth Century. Trying to outdo each other at great cost to their own lives and relationships whilst driving their sansity to breaking point. They each take different dark paths in order to achieve their magical heights and which ultimately ends in nothing more than a Pyrrhic victory.