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Magician and Horror Buff Matthew Holtzclaw Admits He’s Asked to Find Creative Ways to Kill


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Matthew Holtzclaw believes that our fondnesses for horror movies and stage magic spring from the same dark well. “Magic should be scary. It should unsettle,” he says. “The construction of a moment of horror is similar to the construction of a moment of magic… I always say, the monster in your front yard is more disturbing than the one in the haunted house. You walk into a bad place expecting bad things. A good magic trick sneaks up on you while you’re just relaxing.”

This seasoned performer also works as a consultant on magical effects in theater and film, recently working with Teller (yes, that Teller) on a particularly violent version of Macbeth. “I’m now consulting for a stage production of Dracula,” he says. “Strangely, I’m often asked to find creative ways to kill people.”

Matthew Holtzclaw’s Top 10 Horror Films

10. The Thing
9. Psycho
8. The Hills Have Eyes
7. The Exorcist
6. The Abominable Dr. Phibes
5. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
4. Jacob’s Ladder
3. Zombie
2. Shaun of the Dead
1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

“That can’t be a set. Those can’t be costumes. I can’t begin to
imagine there was an art department. But there was,” says Holtzclaw
about his top pick. “This is an intensely crafted little film and I
love it. Man, oh man, when Sally frantically runs
upstairs into that little room and Grandma and Grandpa are sitting
there next to a bare lightbulb… bring a change of underwear.”

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