As of yesterday, Magic(1978) celebrated 45 years of existence and it is known for one of Anthony Hopkins earlier roles. Its legacy cannot be denied, and makes for a classic horror to watch.
The plot sees a magician Corky who adopts a ventriloquist act to help him gain popularity. He gains the attention of a TV executive but runs from the opportunity when pressured to take a medical exam. He goes back to his hometown to reunite with his childhood crush but then his ventriloquist dummy seems to take a life of its own and turns the man’s life into shambles.
I think it’s very telling how the dummy is essentially an exact likeness of the man. And we can see how the man uses the dummy as a way to act on his most twisted desires. He is not well at all that’s for sure. A fun fact is that Hopkins learned to do all the magic tricks displayed in the movie and even on how to be a ventriloquist. He was really dedicated to this role and it shows.
Things start going south when he manages to charm his childhood sweetheart enough that they sleep together even though she is married. Things get even more complicated when his agent tracks him down and pleads for him to get help. Then the husband of the woman shows up suspecting the infidelity that happened. Each time, the dummy takes charge sending Corky further down his dark path.
The ending is a bit of a bummer when the girl learns of Corky’s true nature just when they are planning to run away together. Corky is feeling like all is lost so he makes a decision to save himself from his darker nature. It just ends on that and it really hits home because his childhood sweetheart ends up wanting to give him another chance.
This is a pretty solid psychological horror. I can’t confirm or deny this but I can see how this movie had an influence on a Batman villian named Scarface who uses a ventriloquist dummy when carrying out his crimes.
Magic(1978) is just a fun ride through and through, and it is currently streaming on Shudder, Tubi, and Peacock, so if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check it out.
Till next time, stay scared!
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