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Sorcerers, The

Entry updated 12 August 2018. Tagged: Film.

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Film (1967). Tigon Film Distributors (UK)/Allied Artists Pictures (US). Produced by Patrick Curtis and Tony Tenser. Directed by Michael Reeves. Written by Reeves and Tom Baker from an idea by John Burke (see Jonathan Burke). Cast includes Boris Karloff, Catherine Lacey and Ian Ogilvy. 86 minutes. Colour.

Former medical hypnotist Professor Marcus Monserrat (Karloff), disgraced by an unexplained incident some years before, develops a device which allows mind control of others through a process of Hypnosis amplified by technological equipment. He and wife Estelle (Lacey) recruit bored young Mike Roscoe (Ogilvy) as their test subject. Roscoe agrees as he spends most of his time bouncing from one disco and night club to another in late 1960s London. The Monserrats discover that as well as controlling Roscoe's actions they can experience whatever he does. Marcus sees this discovery as a means for the aged or incapacitated to enjoy a virtual alternate life outside their crippled or infirm bodies. Estelle does not wish to give up the experience, and grows increasingly insane. She forces Mike to commit progressively more violent criminal deeds, culminating in the deaths of two attractive young women. Marcus battles his wife for control of the young man, and gradually loses until in a final effort, he regains enough influence to cause Roscoe to wreck his automobile. In an unremittingly grim conclusion, both Monserrats burn to death with Roscoe.

Burke's original screenplay was rewritten considerably by Reeves and Baker at Karloff's request to make his character more sympathetic. Much of Burke's script remains intact, though his screen credit was reduced to having provided only the idea. This little-seen film was one of Karloff's last quality productions; he was then 80 and in frail health. [GSt]

further reading

  • John Burke: The Sorcerers (Hornsea, East Yorkshire: PS Publishing, 2013) [nonfiction: includes the full original script: edited by Johnny Mains: hb/photographic]


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