Very Worst Sick Magic, Sky One (review)

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Very Worst Sick Magic, Sky One (review)

Postby Quicksand Kerry Devile » Sun Jun 27, 2004 11:01 pm



This was billed on Magicweek as "the magic tricks that failed to impress" but actually turned out to be a top twenty countdown in Monkey Magic "Greatest tricks in the universe ever" stylee looking at the more grotesque and shocking tricks. As is always the case with this kind of format it really translated into the twenty bits of footage Sky were able to secure, but the other irritating fashion of this format as seen on terrestrial television, the continuous interventions by third rate comedians billed as "magic fans", were mercifully absent.
There were still the interview cuts for each segment (come now, you didn't think you'd get to see uninterrupted routines now, did you?) but they weren't as intrusive as usual and were all with either magicians or first hand live witnesses, where possible the magicians concerned. While some of these were firmly in "talking to the laymen" mode and therefore not particularly informative, others were more forthcoming; Jerry Sadowitz for example credits Roy Walton for the elimination card trick that inspired his Nazi routine, names the book and even takes down a copy from the shelf and shows the relevant page to the camera to illustrate his point. The program as a whole did a good job of putting the focus back on the magicians and away from the irritating interruptions we've had to endure from Jenny Eclair and Trev and Simon on similar programs.

It began with a strange choice in John Lenahan's "vanishing nuclear cooling towers". Fun routine as it is, I wouldn't call it a particularly sick outing (I'd have gone for Lenahan's Russian Roulette/Cheating The Gallows combo instead), and it doesn't really set the stall out as it might. So enter Tom Moliker (sp?) at number 19 with his cigarette eating routine, definitely more apt in setting up the gross out nature of this show.

Number 18 turns out to be David Blaine hacking his ear off during the press conference prior to "Above the below", with reaction from a Mirror journalist who concluded "an ear is a simple thing to pretend to chop off". Honestly, you just can't satisfy some people.

Regurgitator Stevie Starr is at number 17, during the interview for which he shares that he used the same goldfish onstage for three and a half years, which lived for a total of seven and a half years. Though would it have remembered what was going to happen to it each night, I wonder?

Jerry Sadowitz makes the first of two appearances at number 16 with his "prostitutes" card trick, before The Amazing Jonathan and Sandra the Psychic turn up at 15.
"Mine has been a long a strange journey", muses Jonathan. "A lot of people were injured".

Australian fakir The Amazing Orchanté is at number 14 with his twine from the stomach routine. You get to see his scar from doing it all these years too.

Three versions of knife through the arm share the number 13 slot; Barry Jones' bloody concert violinist on a park bandstand treatment, Hans Moretti's down the middle approach and The Amazing Jonathan's "fake/real/fake/real/fake" routine. Wot no Simon Drake?

A trick gone wrong occupies the number 12 slot as Maga Anadela's ill-fated dynamite trunk escape is presented. Sky (never a network too bothered by ethics or morality) at least stopped short of choosing footage of a fatal escape attempt for this slot (of which footage does exist, such as the infamous Buried In Cement attempt by a fatally ill-prepared Brazillian performer).

Back to intended shock at number 11 with Harry Anderson's Saturday Night Live Guinea Pig routine, before Barry Jones and Stuart McCloud perform a little pub surgery at number 10 with their vanished and rediscovered mobile phone routine.

Then at number 9 it's the legendary buzzsaw gory routine by Richiardi. Legendary is right unfortunately, seeing it now it's hard to imagine the impact it had at the time, except that it marked the first use of presenting the routine as an apparent murder with blood (Sorcar's 1956 televised version predated Richiardi in terms of not reviving the the assistant, though that occasion was due to a magnificent fluke of live TV scheduling which turned the appearance into TV history).

Number 8 finds Teller with a woodchipper and a white rabbit, before Hans Moretti's crossbow routine (not with Helga, unfortunately) comes in at 7. Fukuzniki (my best attempt at spelling the name of this Russion trio) perform a bloodless, bladeless bisection effect at 6, followed by Monkey Magic's Monkey Boy's cut and restored worm effect performed at a girls' school at number 5.

Jim Rose Sideshow Circus' Lucy Fire arrives at 4 with her superb human angle grinder routine.
"If people are watching you torture yourself onstage, they want to see you enjoying it", she explains. Amen, sister! :D

The top three begins with Jerry Sadowitz's nazi-inspired version of card elimination, with Penn and Tellers' "Animatronic Teller" sawing in half at 2 and Simon Drake's version of Impaled in the top spot.

All in all a good show; some of the choices seemed a bit random but I cannot emphasise what a relief it is to have a show like this without irrelevant comedians shoehorned in. Maybe this was a fluke to do with available budget and appearance fees, but happy accident or none, it worked well.

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Postby Happy Toad » Sun Jun 27, 2004 11:13 pm

I feel I almost saw it :)

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Postby panther1004 » Mon Jun 28, 2004 5:38 pm

Yes, I saw this, it was ok. I mean sticking knifes clean through you are then slicing up and down was quite sick (hence show name) and I really liked tom mullicas (once again, spelling?) cig eating routine, real laugh. Penn and Teller are always quite funny and the routines are enjoyable.
Not a bad show, but I have seen better. Great if you like gore and magic! (oh and what fun was Jerry Sadowitz, great laugh.)

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Postby balejben » Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:24 am

hey i saw this. it was ok abit shoked that that lame blaine trick got number 18.

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Postby daleshrimpton » Tue Jun 29, 2004 7:22 am

A good review.Tom orchard (Australian fakir The Amazing Orchanté ),Lives in the u.k, but originaly Hailed from New Zealand I believe. And he still does the string trick.

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Postby ste175 » Sat Jul 03, 2004 10:37 pm

I saw this as well.
I was quite unimpressed on the whole. I know that some of those tricks had a bit of blood in it, but I really don't think that that clown Jerry Sadowitz doing his weird not-really-insulting tricks could really be seen as sick. And I don't think that the order of the routines reflected their 'sickness' either - Anamatronic Teller is much more impressive and "sick" than the Impaled trick. On the whole I was quite disappointed.

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Postby nickj » Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:53 am

Dissapointed with the tricks or the level of sickness?

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Postby ste175 » Mon Jul 05, 2004 7:34 pm

Ummm, mainly the tricks, although only half of the actual tricks were 'sick'.

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Postby Rhiannon (Sarah) » Wed Jul 28, 2004 12:49 pm

I once saw Barry Jones and Stuart Macleod perform a shocking piece of magic infront of my face. Of course, then, I didnt know who they were and worst still, I didnt know it was magic.

We were taken into a room which looked like a warehouse and sat down infront of a massive mincer looking thing. Barry Jones then came on wheeling his disabled brother (Stuart) towards the mincer. He gave us all a sheet of paper which described his brothers passion for art and that he was dying and wanted to create art one final time. His brother then proceeded to lift him out of his wheel chair with the help of an assistant and to our horror, lay him on a platform on the mincer. Stuart was then pushed through the mincer where he dissapeared. After a couple of seconds, blood and bits of meat flew out of the other end towards a blank canvas. Covering not just the canvas but also most of the production crew.

I must say, I'm surprised this didn't make number 1 because I was pretty traumatised after that. Has anyone actually seen it screened anywhere?

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Postby bananafish » Wed Jul 28, 2004 12:55 pm

Hi Rhiannon (Sarah) - welcome to TalMagic.

I think if I had seen that I would have promptly thrown up. It was probably never aired on TV as too many people would have sued them for traumatic stress.

And this is magic? Certainly not by my way of thinking, Its more like a very sick Candid Camera/Beadles about...(but then I don't even like the finger chopper effect - so you can image how much I would like this...)

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Postby Rhiannon (Sarah) » Wed Jul 28, 2004 1:09 pm

well thats exactly what I thought. Was this really magic? They did warn us but I dont think we could have been warned enough! The only magical thing I could think was 'if they manage to piece him together again then thats a miracle' but it simply ended. Loud noise, blood splattered everywhere, machine switched off and..silence. The scariest thing was being personally approached directly after all the drama with the words 'mind if we borrow you for a second?'....for an interview luckily. which I couldn't even speak in.

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Postby Michael Jay » Wed Jul 28, 2004 1:20 pm

One of my greatest complaints about magic is that when impalements occur, there is no blood. I've often wondered why...

He gave us all a sheet of paper which described his brothers passion for art and that he was dying and wanted to create art one final time. His brother then proceeded to lift him out of his wheel chair with the help of an assistant and to our horror, lay him on a platform on the mincer. Stuart was then pushed through the mincer where he dissapeared. After a couple of seconds, blood and bits of meat flew out of the other end towards a blank canvas. Covering not just the canvas but also most of the production crew.


Now that's funny stuff! :lol: Okay, call me sick, but the fact of the matter is there is a reason (a dying man's wish to still create art, which being put in a shredder and having his shredded body splattered against an artist's canvas - and judging from what is called "art" these days, this sound reasonable) and there is reality to it (of course there would be blood and meat flying - if there weren't, it'd just be an average stage trick).

Nothing makes my blood boil more than watching Melinda ("The First Lady of Magic") get impaled by a giant screw through the midriff and there is no blood. Does this mean that it's a trick, or does it mean that magicians don't bleed? What, exactly, is she proving with this illusion? That she's come up with a way to glue a large, plastic screw piece to her stomach while being saddled to a large, plastic screw piece on her back? To my way of thinking, she should have blood streaming down her legs and pooling on the stage. Can you imagine how much blood would be present from a giant screw ripping through your midsection? Sorry, this is simply a stupid illusion.

Another that tears me up are the illusions that involve boxes and swords. A box is put over someone's head, swords plunged through. Then, in one of the most useless displays known to magiciankind, the box is opened and the head has disappeared. That makes ABSOLUTELY no sense. What was the point of plunging swords through the box - there ain't no friggin' head in there to begin with. If you're going to make the head disappear, then skip the swords. If you're going to stick swords through someone's head, then skip making it disappear. DON'T put swords through a head that ain't there, STOOOOPID!

In any case, I'm glad to see that some magicians are happily putting gore where gore belongs. Thank you for putting up this review, Kerry.

Mike.

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Postby Mandrake » Wed Jul 28, 2004 1:50 pm

My fourpenn'orth:

If you're doing the dark, gothic stuff then gore (the red sticky stuff, not the previous US Vice President!) would be expected at some point. If you're doing the lighter 'family' magic then perhaps not quite so appropriate?* David Copperfield's Buzz Saw Illusion gets away with red light on the blade as a suggestion of blood at the point of severance but the initial shock impact of that has long since worn off. Viewers of that programme where Philip Schofield had to hurriedly cover up the fact that a knife thrower had actually hit his lovely assistant/target on the head with a knife on live TV was a classic - blood everywhere as you'd expect from even a small scalp wound but not exactly family viewing!

The reaction to David Blaine's 'ear cutting off' bit of promotion last year was totally the opposite of what he expected - the media didn't like it (but still showed it and reported on it!) and there were a lot of complaints so perhaps we should reserve the red sticky stuff for when it's really suitable and will have the right impact?

(* Obviously I need a break - I just had a mental impression of The Amazing Jonathon sawing his arm and piercing his tongue during a guest spot on Sesame Street! :twisted: )

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Postby Mandrake » Wed Jul 28, 2004 1:53 pm

PS - Hello Sarah, welcome to the Forum!

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Postby Michael Jay » Wed Jul 28, 2004 2:22 pm

In general, I would agree with this, Mandrake. So, I'll meet you half way - leave the impalements and what should be gory illusions to the goths and if you want wholesome family entertainment, don't have a giant screw rip through your body.

I'll leave you with this quote, which I find to be roll on the floor hillarious:

(* Obviously I need a break - I just had a mental impression of The Amazing Jonathon sawing his arm and piercing his tongue during a guest spot on Sesame Street! :twisted: )


Mike.

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