FILMS… The Sorcerers (1967)

#1960s #AllPosts


They’ve got Ian Ogilvy under their spell…


Two crazy old coots try out their invention where they can instruct and then experience a young man’s doings from afar, and in time, the old man doubts his wife’s motives.


The Sorcerers 1967 Trailer, Screenbound Pictures and photos © Tigon Pictures


Picture the scene, it’s 1967, and you can possess a young man to do everything you want and you are in your early 80s or 60s, what would you do with him…?  This question is answered in The Sorcerers (1967). It was also a film storyline that reminded me of the unscrupulous motives of a Joan Collins character, Eva de Woolf (and possibly pronounced Ever the wolf?) in the TV Series, Footballers Wives (2002-06).

In this series – which has been recommended by Darlin Husband solely for this Joan Collins appearance – Eva hypnotises a younger man, just like that, for sex (daaling). But here the use of hypnosis is used for more innocent motives by this elderly Professor and his wife and never goes this far. Thankfully.

The Sorcerers (1967) was made with a budget of 50,000 grand and has Ian Ogilvy in his third film role. It was long before he made more surprising roles of all sorts, most notably Simon Templar, aka The Saint and then touted to replace Roger Moore (again) in the Bond movies. The most surprising cast member of all was the inclusion of the then 80 year old Boris Karloff in this British low-budget movie. This film has a rare 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and it ranks amongst the likes of The Philadelphia Story (1940), Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and The Terminator (1984). There are also small but important roles for a few now recognisable faces later in the movie.

The film starts after an old man, Professor Marcus Montserrat (Karloff) is more than a wee bit miffed as the local newsagent has not put up his ad which advertises his medical hypnosis business.  Montserrat claims to cure conditions such as stuttering and poor confidence in a painless manner. After coughing up 5 quid to put this ad on display (as it seems his wife forgot to pay the newsagent), he returns home to his wife, Estelle (63 year old, Catherine Lacey) for lunch.

We learn that Montserrat’s hypnosis business is failing after he was discredited by a journalist, but the couple indicates that he has invented something and that they need a “youngster” to try it out. We don’t find out what “it” is for a while. This is as a literal and visual drum roll neatly takes us to the opening credits and a 1960s track from Toni Daly and Lee Grant & The Capitols. Before you ask it’s not the actress Lee Grant and my favourite acting star in Damien: Omen II (1978) and more. But this name similarity has actually more of a credible link to both these films as they are found in the horror genre.

Over the credits, you will see for the most part amongst those young swinging 1960s dancers are lots of mini-skirted lovelies. They lead us to cad about town, Mike Roscoe (Ogilvy) who is out and about with his girlfriend, Nicole (Elizabeth Ercy), and his best friend (and cockblocker) Alan (Victor Hendry). Alan dresses like he’s a country squire compared to the “hip and groovy” Ogilvy, yet Mike don’t dance and Alan does, which is why they put up with him on their dates.

After Nicole dances with Alan (who obviously has a bit of a crush on this French redhead), Mike is bored and he decides to go for a walk without them. After Mike stops for a coffee in a greasy cafe, he is approached by Montserrat who has been following him. The old man invites him to come back home with him for a “new experience”.

Mike takes him up on this offer. we then see the “it” in the Montserrats’ home. In this sterile white room and laboratory, Montserrat and his wife hook Mike up to a machine made with ye olde tape recorders, boom boxes and a projector. You could probably make one at home Blue Peter (1958-) style if you have such olde delights in your possession. After placing headphones on Mike and then shining a succession of 1960s coloured lights on Mike’s face they hope to hypnotise him to do their bidding. Mike is instructed not to remember the instructions given to him by his controllers.

Their plan works, with Mike blissfully unaware he is now effectively their own remote control toy. They are overjoyed, as he follows their instructions and they feel everything he feels from another room. All these oldies have to do is concentrate… and so they follow him back to the club and then instruct him to feel water. Mike then invites Nicole to go swimming… and this is quite a thrill for the older couple after Mike takes his girlfriend to a pool, and they strip to their undies.

Estelle tells her husband, she wants to use Mike for their own benefit. But her kind old husband wants to help other old people to feel things again. He wants to write a scientific paper about it… but she wins the day in this battle of wills (and it is seen this won’t be for the first time). He allows her to use the remote control Mike just one time. Estelle then controls Mike and under her instruction, she gets him to steal her fur in some tense scenes. Mike cuts himself by accident during this task… Montserrat then believes afterwards that Mike cut himself during this mission, as he notices a wound on his and Estelle’s palm.

Estelle then feels she has the need for speed, and she gets a bit of a buzz as under her control Mike takes Nicole out for a wee trip in the country using Alan’s motorbike. But on their speedy journey’s return, things take a sinister turn. Montserrat worries about Estelle’s mental health, as she gets a thrill from instructing Mike to carry out darker behaviours. Meanwhile, Nicole sees Mike as more vulnerable after he claims of having blackouts as he tells her he can’t remember these events. Both she and Montserrat becomes afraid as Mike’s behaviour – when controlled by Estelle – takes a more unpredictable and horrifying turn…

The film was made by the director Michael Reeves, who worked alongside Ian Ogilvy in both The Witchfinder General (1968) and The She Beast (1967). Reeves took a writing credit, but the screenplay was based on a much more frightening premise in the original screenplay by John Burke. It’s reported that Boris Karloff wanted his character to be a nicer character, so this was altered in the final screenplay to accommodate this wish. The film’s premise and execution show that a good original film can be made on a small budget, and have a solid fan base.

This film also had – to my joy – a very, young innocent looking Susan George. Just recently Darlin Husband and I have had an unintentional – but pleasant foray into her movie and TV career and found more than a few gems in the horror genre. The Sorcerers was released the same year she had a cameo in her first film with Michael Caine in The Billion Dollar Brain (1967). Susan George looks very young and vulnerable in The Sorcerers when her character, Audrey meets a troubled Mike in their scenes together and it seems she was only 17 in this her third movie appearance.

The film breaks up the story with a number of bands singing their hits which will either give you a chance to have a loo break or have a quick bop.  A stunning singer, Danni / Sally Sheridan from one of these bands takes part in later scenes as Laura. In real life, Danni / Sally Sheridan was the mother of the actress Nicolette Sheridan – from The Sure Thing (1985) and Desperate Housewives (2004-12) Danni / Sally had a much publicised relationship with Telly Savalas. The pair met as she played one of Blofeld’s henchwomen and an “Angel of Death” in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).

Ian Ogilvy later popped up anywhere and everywhere including Baywatch (1989-2001), Murder  She Wrote (1984-96) and Diagnosis Murder (1993-2001). Today this actor also boasts a movie critic role in his book, Withering Heights. His come to the point reviews of movies of all sorts, are always honest to a fault. This book title could easily be a tagline for his film as the 80 year old, Dr Marcus Montserrat and his wife Estelle use mind control with deadly consequences. But in this B movie with an A list cast, script and performances, Ian Ogilvy’s Mike is no Saint.


Weeper Rating 😦 😦 😦 😦/10

Handsqueeze Rating: :-) :-)  :-) :-) :-) :-)/10

Hulk Rating: ‎ mrgreen mrgreen  ‎/10


Favourite Stars in B Movies Blogathon 2023, No 7.

This post was added to The Films from Beyond the Time Barrier’s Favourite Stars in B Movies Blogathon. Other reviews with this cast include Susan George in Jack the Ripper, EastEnders, Hotel and Tales of the Unexpected.  Ian Ogilvy in Murder She Wrote, The Avengers, From Beyond the Grave and Diagnosis Murder. Boris Karloff in Thriller. Catherine Lacey in The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Ivor Dean in Where Eagles Dare and The Avengers Alf Joint in Superman, Superman II, Space 1999, Doctor Who and The Avengers. Danni / Sally Sheridan in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.



38 thoughts on “FILMS… The Sorcerers (1967)

  1. Another film I haven’t seen. This sounds like a hoot, as always I love the trivia too. It’s funny I’ve watched Billion Dollar Brain many times and never realised that was Susan George on the train with Caine’s Harry Palmer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Susan George is one of my favourite actresses of this era. I’d forgotten she was in BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN (which is one of my all-time favourite spy movies).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Boris Karloff? Sign me up!

    And how impressive is this, to have a 100% rating?!

    I need to see more of Susan George’s filmography too. I know very little about her work, yet I’m always impressed when I see her on screen.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds like an interesting film. I’ve seen Michael Reeves’ other two films. The She Beast isn’t very good, even though it stars my favorite actress, Barbara Steele. The Dark Sky release of The She Beast has a wonderful commentary with Steele, Ian Ogilvy, and the producer, Paul Maslansky. It’s one of the most enjoyable celebrity conversations I’ve ever heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I seem to recall seeing this quite a few years ago and it definitely sounds like it is worth checking out again! I always did like Ian Ogilvy and remember him well as Simon Templar. And, of course, I have always been a fan of Boris Karloff.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great background info! This is definitely one of the best of Karloff’s late performances — perhaps only exceeded by his role as the Wurdalak in Black Sabbath — but I never realized that it has a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes! It’s also interesting that Ian’s career shadowed Roger Moore’s with respect to the Saint and consideration for the Bond role. And it’s touching that Boris wanted to smooth his character’s rough edges. I’ve got some digital credit from Amazon, so I may just use it to revisit The Sorcerers. Thanks so much for leading off the blogathon with this look at Ogilvy and Karloff!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m familiar with Ian Ogilvy in Witchfinder General, but this film is unknown to me, though it has an intriguing plotline. The story weirdly sounds almost like a precursor to virtual reality technology, of ‘experiencing’ something not happening to you physically. Did Ogilvy in his book ever say what it was like to work with a legend like Karloff?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been, slowly, trying to see as much of Karloff’s work as possible. I wasn’t familiar with this film so thanks for bringing it to my attention. It doesn’t look like it was released as a region A BluRay but a decent DVD exists from Warner Archives. I just may have to pull the trigger.

    Liked by 1 person

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