Perhaps one of the most star-studded and unknown horror films of all time would be the 1978 film ”Magic”. It stars a young Anthony Hopkins, Burgess Meredith and Ann-Margret, and it’s pretty odd that this film would be overlooked with that kind of cast. It could be considered one horror cinema’s best kept secrets.
Anthony Hopkins plays Corky, a shy aspiring magician. He auditions at a club on amateur night however, it does not go well as the audience does not appreciate his magic tricks. Fast forward one year later and Corky is now the big entertainer at the same club only now he has become a ventriloquist. He also has a greedy agent (Burgess Meredith) who is intent on making Corky a superstar. While Corky’s career is going very well, it’s not him pulling the strings, but rather-its his wooden dummy. Corky snaps under pressure from his agent and leaves the big city with his dummy to a country retreat. However he finds that he cannot escape his troubles so easily.
This film is long and may seem boring at places, but the ending is fantastic. It is a it’s a psychological horror film that builds dread and tension. Anthony Hopkins is incredible as the awkwardly shy ventriloquist that is controlled by his dummy. What makes this film so psychological is the dummy is shown as if it were alive, but the movie could just be presented from Corky’s point of view. Corky is already presented as an unstable character, so the viewer must decide whether the film is showing his psyche or if his dummy is really alive.
Anthony Hopkins’ performance as Hannibal Lecter is so famous that people tend to overlook his other genre work. While this film is not a gory slasher there are a few scenes of murder and a little bit of gore. This film was released the same year as the legendary horror movie ”Halloween” so this film may have been overlooked because of it. While this film is not main-stream it has become a cult-classic and has gained some notoriety over the years. This film has also been re-mastered and released on DVD by Dark Sky Films, giving a new generation of fans a chance to see one of horror cinema’s best kept secrets.If you like 70’s horror, Anthony Hopkins, or ventriloquist/dummy horror films, this is a movie for you.