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Review of Dan Harlan’s The Bizarre Magic Show

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Review of Dan Harlan’s The Bizarre Magic Show

Dan Harlan’s The Bizarre Magic Show

Murphy's Magic
Here’s another title in Dan Harlan’s “Packs Small Plays Big” line of DVDs. The premise is that Harlan performs and then teaches you an entire show that fits into a single briefcase. As the title implies, this one offers a bizarre themed (or “geek magic”) show. Of course, with all of the dark themes and blood and such, this show is not for all audiences.

Book of Magic

The show begins with Book of Blood. It’s an appropriate introduction to a twisted and bizarre presentation that effectively sets the mood. It’s an ingenious adaptation of a well known principle that allows the pages of a book to gradually become covered in blood. Harlan shows you how to make the gimmicked prop and offers clever advice on giving it the proper look. The routine sets the stage and it’s easy to learn and perform.

The second effect is Needle Thru Arm. While this is a standard dealer item, Harlan shows you how to make your own prop. It’s a lead in to the “psychic surgery” later in the show. Interestingly, another supporting effect with this theme involves a Torn and Restored Card. Harlan’s version is strong and not overly difficult to learn and perform.

Deviled Egg is truly bizarre. The routine features a brilliant application of Harlan’s own “Starcle” that alludes to the legend of the werewolf. The apparent cleansing of a volunteer who has been turned into a werewolf replaces the contents of an egg with blood.

Harlan then weaves a story of a card game between God and the devil and with the prize being the soul of an audience member. It’s a mostly self-working card trick that involves lots of dealing and cutting. The results are intriguing with piles that represent something of each of the participants. On the other hand, I’m not sure that this one plays all that big.

Razor Sharp

Sharp Taste offers Harlan’s take on the razor blade trick. In the classic manner, Harlan swallows and then threads five sharp razor blades onto a thread. Of note, there are safer methods out there. Harlan’s method employs sharp razor blades and he openly tells you that you will cut yourself. Near the final segment of the show, Harlan recites a story of birth, death and rebirth in Baby Balloon. Here, an inflated balloon is popped, and then restored and re-inflated.

Psychic Surgery is a bloody and compelling demonstration of the techniques of so called psychic surgeons who seemingly remove malignant parts from a person without using surgical instruments. Using only his hands, Harlan appears to “cut” open a spectator (not a stooge) and remove pieces of organs. It’s a gory demonstration.

In Closing

The show concludes with Harlan’s recitation of The Spider and the Fly, a poem by Mary Howitt, which is combined with a ring and rope effect. It’s an excellent routine where the ring and rope demonstrate the pitfalls of being a fly that’s interacting with a spider.

There are some props to make and materials to purchase but nothing is overly expensive. Also, none of the effects is difficult to learn and perform. Of note, this is a messy show with all of the fake blood and such. You may be able to work from a single briefcase, but you’ll have a messy mass of props afterward that you’ll need to clean up.

I always appreciate the effects of Dan Harlan. If you’re looking for some bizarre material, you should find some great ideas here.

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