FRIDAY NIGHT FRIGHTS: Magic

There is nothing more truly terrifying than the dead, soulless gaze of a ventriloquist dummy, and in the pantheon of dummy horror, 1978′s Magic remains the big-screen standard-bearer. Ever since 1945’s Dead of Night, stories of malevolent dummies have been a consistently effective means of creeping out viewers simply by having a dummy slowly turns its head or speak of its own accord — but Magic has more on its mind. Directed by Richard Attenborough (whose follow-up film was the bone-shattering Gandhi), and starring a young Anthony Hopkins as the madness-descending ventriloquist “Corky”, Magic takes the inherently creepy motif and turns it into a study of derangement worthy of Hitchcock’s Psycho. Rounding out the cast are Burgess Meredith as Corky’s long-suffering agent, and Ann-Margret as Corky’s soon-to-be-suffering girlfriend, but the real star of the show here is “Fats”: a cartoonish, unsettling carved Hopkins facsimile with a strangulated voice reminiscent of the Cryptkeeper. With its unrelenting creepiness and slow-burn suspense, Magic is a chillfest for the ages — so don your coattails, top hat and best monocle and join us, dummy! Plus, DJ set by The Koreatown Oddity before the film!
Dir. Richard Attenborough, 1978, 35mm, 107 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Magic”!