Combustible Celluloid
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With: Boris Karloff, Catherine Lacey, Elizabeth Ercy, Ian Ogilvy, Victor Henry, Dani Sheridan, Alf Joint, Meier Tzelniker, Gerald Campion, Susan George, Ivor Dean, Peter Fraser, Martin Terry, Bill Barnsley
Written by: Tom Baker, Michael Reeves, based on an idea by John Burke
Directed by: Michael Reeves
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 87
Date: 06/25/1967

The Sorcerers (1967)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Trouble in Mind

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The basic concept is ludicrous, but the execution is terrific. In his waning years, Boris Karloff gives a vibrant performance as Marcus Monserrat, a hypnotist who once used his gift to treat patients, but was discredited by a newspaper story. Now he and his wife Estelle (Catherine Lacey -- in a deliciously potent performance) have perfected a mind control machine. Enter the bored, young Michael Roscoe (Ian Ogilvy), a fixture on the Swinging London scene, with his girl Nicole (Elizabeth Ercy) and his best friend Alan (Victor Henry). Tired of clubbing, he goes for a walk alone, stumbles upon the old couple and volunteers for a "new experience." One psychedelic light show later and Michael is under Marcus and Estelle's control. The trouble is that Estelle goes crazy with power; she begins making Michael steal furs for her, then leads him to murder!

Director Michael Reeves uses very basic editing to switch back and forth between Michael's dirty deeds and the old couple sitting at their kitchen table, willing him to move and feeling his sensations, and it works beautifully. In one sequence, the noisy club sounds clash with the simple ticking of a clock. The beautiful Susan George, later in Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, appears in one scene, and hottie Dani Sheridan plays a nightclub singer (who manages to sing while holding the microphone down by her waist). Reeves died at age 25 after directing only three films; Witchfinder General is his most famous, but this one deserves to be as well. (As far as I can tell, it's only available in a British DVD box set of Karloff films.)

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