Magic (1978)

Richard Attenborough directs Anthony Hopkins, Burgess Meredith and Ann-Margaret in this chiller where a ventriloquist about to hit the big time needs to face some issues he has with his creepy dummy.

One of those films that was always available to me as a kid (it always seemed to be coming on TV or on other people’s video shelves) but I never watched. Probably because of my aversion to horror. This would have been a good teen first horror, ironically. Nothing too scarring really happens. Scripted by William Goldman, the first act is rich with fantastic film writing. It is a masterclass of setting up and making us care. The wintery New York setting only adds to the ripe atmosphere. Yet once we get to murders and the mystery of just who is in control, it feels like bloodless Stephen King territory or a prestige Psycho retread. Hopkins is a bit too cold a fish to care about, eliciting none of the essential sympathy Anthony Perkins would, for example. Ann-Margaret at least adds a bit of sex appeal into the slow entropy of the second hour. Great to look at, classy, with bursts of unsettling strange… Magic was probably a better movie in my overactive youthful imagination.


Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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