Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Is Here, New Product Soon and REVIEW: Guest Review!

Whew, where does the time go??

2012 is here and it's business as usual, meaning I'm up to my eyeballs in work. Last last year I picked up the Voodoo Doll by John Kennedy that was for sale in the Estate section in Hocus Pocus. VERY cool prop! I'm busy rehearsing with it to make it a fantastic addition to Murder By Magic.

Speaking of Murder By Magic, it is GONE, no longer available. I may bring it back to Hocus Pocus in the future, but right now it's no longer available.

In it's place is a new release I've been debating whether or not to offer simply because it's just too darn good, but I've decided...Later this week I'll make the formal announcement right here, maybe as early as tomorrow!

As far as reviews go, I'm very excited because I've got a set of Reg Donnelly's new Multiplying Rum Bottles coming my way. My old set of Harries bottles are so dinged up that they just don't "slide" very well anymore. These new Rum bottles look sensational because the white of the bottles will really 'pop' from stage. As soon as I get them, I'll be doing a review. The Multiplying Bottles has been a stable in my shows for about a decade, so I'm very excited about this release.

Now, for something a little different...I received an unsolicted review of Docc Hilford's Monster mentalism DVDs, so just as an experiment, I'm going to run his review as after reading it, I felt he was a working pro who actually put some thought as well as effort into trying out a lot of the effects on the Docc DVDs.

I don;t completely agree with his opinions of everything he mentions, but that's what makes the world go 'round - diversity. This week I'll run his review and starting next week, I'll begin a 4-part series of reviewing the Monster Mentalism DVDs in detail, one DVD per week and finally on the 5th week, I'll offer my overall grade of the whole set.

This approach of really getting into detail with DVD reviews is one of the changes for the blog in 2012. (Quick Disclaimer: the views of the following review do not necessarily coincide with the views of blah blah blah. You know the drill). If you'd like to send in a review of any item purchased from Hocus Pocus, email me at I think the "guest reviewer" thing is pretty cool, so I'm open to doing it again from time to time.

Monster Mentalism DVDs by Docc Hilford are available from Hocus Pocus, with each individual title available for $34.95 or you can get the whole set for $139.80. Here's the ad copy:

Docc Hilford is the crazed creator of the renowned Cassandra Deck, author of over 30 books on mentalism and consultant for a dozen television shows. He's joined by professional mentalist David Alexander to discuss the psychology behind each piece. Monster Mentalism is an astonishing collection of useable effects and the diabolical methods that have made Docc Hilford infamous.

Volume 1 - Attack of Monster Mentalism

Contemporary mentalism can be as fun and exciting as a hot night at a drive-in movie. The giant screen portrays regular people, leading mundane lives until -- DUNH DUNH DUNH -- an unexpected monstrous event influences their lives forever. That's what good mentalism can be -- a MONSTER.
Time Will Tell -- A Dunninger secret that rips the fabric of time and space! See an unsuspecting spectator set his watch to any time he wishes. A primitive sketch of a watch face eerily has the same time!
RATED RT - for Real Time Mentalism™
Jailbait -- From a feverish, perverted mind like Ed D. Wood Jr., comes a tale of juvenile delinquency and miscreant mentalists. Don't miss the shocking end of this Glen or Glenda story where an ordinary man receives the disgusting ability to create "young girls" out of grown men everywhere. On the job, on the golf course, at home . . . where will it end?
Dead or Alive -- Only the hand of a naive woman and the chilled fingers of a ghost touch a fateful pendulum, yet its movements tell a dozen details about the deceased; details NEVER WRITTEN! Suddenly, a cry. It's the dead man's name! WARNING: This routine teaches extremely strong subject matter and should be attempted only by responsible individuals.
T-4-2 -- Out for a night of fun, two men secretly think of a card. You'll be on the edge of your seat when you watch a mysterious stranger figuratively dissolve his victims with his evil eye and disclose their secrets. Audiences everywhere are stunned at the shocking conclusion of this riveting routine.
Hard and Soft Drinks -- The secret world of teenage drinking parties, dancing, smoking and uncontrolled desire is our backdrop. Only the intervention of someone who possesses a psychological intelligence and an ability to manipulate paper slips can save Angela's drunken soul.
RATED RT - for Real Time Mentalism™ Uncle Klink -- Harry Klink's mad wife devised and executed a murder so horrific that it made seasoned detectives queasy. But Harry Klink was a true artist of escape. Freeing himself from the grave, his water-soaked corpse is on a rampage of revenge. You'll see solid steel chains pass through human flesh when Klink makes his presence known. Just keep telling yourself, "It's only a trick . . . it's only a trick."
Volume 2 - Curse of Monster Mentalism

Mentalism is killing people -- but not in a good way. Death by dullness. However a MONSTER is loose. A creature that's set on revenge. Vowing to destroy a contemporary tediousness that's growing like a cancer.

Tear away from the safety of your father's mentalism. Give yourself completely to the curse. Become one of us . . .
Nightmare Coin -- Have you ever dreamt you walked past an empty house at night? Have you ever been unable to wake up from a nightmare? From the acclaimed book, Band of the Hand, comes a chilling routine that turns a spectator's ethereal dream into a solid, spendable nightmare!
Rasputin's Secret -- The man who couldn't die! Rasputin used a palace as a playground. His unbridled lust and alcoholic gluttony knew no bounds. His surreptitious secret, and a special deck of cards, allowed him to know the past, the present and the future. Information that freed him from the mundane laws of society. Now you can possess his secret . . . his life style . . . and his deck! IMPORTANT NOTICE: This specialized deck still sells for $25. Tell no one.
For One to End -- Do you believe that speaking certain words can influence a person's thoughts? One man did and used his awesome ability to wreak havoc throughout a quiet seaside resort. Psychic expert Banachek declares Docc Hilford's original technique to be, ". . . one of the strongest psychological subtleties in print today!" See the unedited, director's cut.
40,000 Words -- Like a brain that will not die, this hoax will assault your senses with a barrage of clandestine information. Psychically removing a mentally selected word from a spectator's brain will propose no problems, but can it be done without des­troying the surrounding living tissue? You must see this!
Rhineless ESP -- A quiet laboratory. A simple test between two people. And a mental power so astounding that when unleashed, it threatens to destroy an entire university. See this with someone you love so they won't have to suffer through another night of the dreaded Two-Person-Code!
1 in 10 -- See that man? He's different. He makes remarkable statements, boasts incredible intelligence and successfully demonstrates his claims. But he has something normal men don't -- the incredible power to erase your memory, leaving only facts he wishes you to retain. Now even the simplest card tricks hold dreadful intensity. WARNING: This routine contains powerful concepts and is intended for use by responsible individuals.
Volume 3 - Bride of Monster Mentalism

A dreadfully seductive beauty has emerged from the depths. She begins by humorously entertaining her victims and leaves them with an insatiable urge to believe in her awful abilities. This bride is dangerous. She is MENTALISM!
A Letter from the Future -- A mysterious man risks everything to travel forward in time, gain information and prove he's returned to the past. But will he live long enough to see his proof discovered? An interactive production that will draw you into every choice that either proves or disproves it's not just science fiction.
Tridiction -- When David was thrown out of a Tahoe casino, he vowed revenge. A Satanic pact gives him a weird power, enabling him to predict the outcome of dice, poker and 21! Now they would pay, but what would be the price to David's soul? WARNING: This technique is described for entertainment purposes only!
Self Help -- When evil genius Harry Lorayne created a nightmare in his basement, he never dreamed that its chains would be broken and the little terror re-trained to rip the eyes out of innocent tradeshow attendees. But that's what happened. Come see the beast . . . if you dare. In 1992, a group of young college students were forced to participate in the following three unspeakable, psychic experiments:
Projected Force -- A subject was psycholo­gically MADE to think of a playing card without any being present. NOTICE: This is the original method that became a famous UK mentalist's favorite.
Peek Book -- Without a single book in view, another subject was instructed to merely think of a word. She never wrote it down, yet unconsciously made it evident to the experimenter. An apparent "bookless-booktest."
ESPed -- A subject was finally instructed to draw any picture he imagined on an index card. This experiment was conducted across the room and the experimenter never touched the card, yet he still had total knowledge of the design. Now the experimenter becomes the experimented! The required props for this full routine are as bare as the skeletons buried behind the laboratory. It's shockingly direct! "This is the closest thing to real mind reading I've ever seen!" --- Dr. John Randolph, Miskatonic University Dept. of Psychology
Volume 4 - Night of Monster Mentalism

It's a dark night when audiences scratch at your door . . . demanding actual entertainment. A single taste of your new mentalism isn't enough. They need more! Following you on the street, reaching through the hallways of restaurants or even breaking thewindows of your own home, what will you do when they cry for MONSTER MENTALISM?
Impossible Choice -- What's crazier than a mad street performer who sneaks off to a deserted coffee shop, transforms himself into a mutant half-mentalist, half-jellyfish and attacks college kids with his razor-sharp deck of death? Not much!
The Great Magazine Test -- Like the pounding of your heart . . . book tests . . . book tests. . . BOOK TESTS! A far as a man can run, he can't escape the unremitting beating of ubiquitous book tests. There's only two ways out -- either a razor to the wrists or the gentle love of a magazine. In this test, two people share more than mere words; they share a night of insanity.
Number of the Beast -- The ancient Egyptians knew the accurate, undying vibrations of numbers. The teachings of the adepts, long hidden in the dusty tombs of the past, are now revealed in a demonstration so direct, it's impossible to understand.
It's Personal -- Meeting new people is simple. But be careful. The night is filled with strange people. When one unsuspecting woman reads a personal ad, she finds that someone knows more than her selected card, he knows everything about her! A chilling example of depraved psychic phenomena ripped from the pages of your local newspaper.
Killer on Tiber Street -- A relentless, psychotic killer is pursuing innocent prey. The police are entirely bewildered because the slayer randomly selects his unsuspecting victims from a telephone book. Only you can use psychic abilities to discover the victim, decipher the address and prevent the murder; but will you be too late?
Invisible Dice -- In the world of fast gamblers and loose women, there's a secret tool that everyone desires. Rare and beautiful, when possessed they ensure wealth, power and all the luxuries that come along for the ride. Maybe you'll find the... INVISIBLE DICE!

Regular retail price of each DVD is $34.95 each, but you can grab the entire set now for the low, low, Hocus Pocus online price listed below! Not subject to further promotions, discounts, etc.

Here's Jesse Gernigin's review:


The Silver Screen Frights: Reviewing Docc Hilford's Monster Mentalism 4 DVD Set

Hey guys I am Jesse Gernigin of I am a full time entertainer who splits his time doing hypnosis and magic/mindreading shows. I perform full time and have done so for five years. In that time I have built my business from performing two weekends a month to doing shows all year. I perform all across the country for corporations, colleges and private events. I offer these credentials so you understand the review comes from the perspective of someone who spends their time in front of paying audiences. A quick but obvious note: Docc's DVD set was shot with L and L Publishing so the audience can be over reactive at times but his material comes across clearly. There are four dvd's in the set and each dvd contains different material. The first dvd was my favorite clocking in with six tricks.
DVD 1:

Time Will Tell: This was Docc's take on a Dunniger effect. In it Docc shares an interesting trick Dunniger used to exploit. The trick isn't the strongest but you get to see how Docc does a center tear. Docc's center tear, although simple, is a good reminder that you don't always have to tear and peak at the same time. Overall the effect isn't that great but it is nice to see that you don't have to peak while tearing so the effect gets a 2.5 out of 5

Jailbait: This is a weird one to review. Hands down it is the weakest effect on the whole set. what Docc did was dress up the old calculator trick and invert the method (for those that know the trick you understand what I am saying). I remember being dissappointed when I saw what it was. But then I got to the explanation (which I almost skipped) and I was blown away by the advice Docc offered. I won't give it away but Docc has come up with a method to transform your clients into publicity machines using the calculator trick. His advice, if followed, makes this a 4 out of 5

Dead or Alive: What's funny is that Jailbait is the worst effect in the set and Dead or Alive is the best and one comes right after the other. Dead or Alive is Docc's take on the classic effect to which he adds the use of a pendulum. Watching the effect will make you want to go out and buy a pendulum! Docc's performance is spot on and can stand as a social study in audience engagement, the power of suggestion and creating powerful reactions. This effect gets a 5 out of 5.

Hard and Soft Drinks: This is an odd one to reivew. You see my favorite pieces from Docc are his billet routines. So my biggest dissappointment with the set was that Docc didn't put out any of his more popular billet routines. I understand that doing so would greatly detract from him selling them at later dates but I would have loved to have seen Number 6, The Cinderalla Act or any of his billet work performed. With that in mind I had to watch and then re-watch Hard and Soft Drinks before I realized it was a great routine. Hard and Soft Drinks is a billet routine were you identify and reveal a thought of hard drink (hard drinks=alcoholic drinks). The routine falls pretty flat. The premise is boring and the trick moves slowly. At least that's what I thought until I went back and rewatched it. When I rewatched it I realized Docc has given a simple method to do graphology, Q and A and a dozen other billet centered routines. I don't want to give away the method (although doing so wouldn 't ruin anything) so I won't go into his handling suffice to say he uses a hat as a billet receptacle. This is the under the radar effect of the set. It needs to be watched and thought of in a larger context than what Docc gives in the set. If you watch it, take notes and then do the work you can create a half dozen awesome routines from Docc's handling. This one gets a 3.5 out of 5. The method is simple, the possibilities are great, but the terrible choice of presenation and even worse performance of it cost this otherwise brialliant idea 1.5 points.

T42: This was a boring presentation of an old card effect. Max Maven has similar thinking in his Video Mind series and a much better overall routine. The effect is laborious and the outcome isn't that great. Even the L and L audience doesn't act amazed. 1.5 out of 5.

Uncle Klink: For those of you who haven't had an introduction to Docc this is great. Docc's material is often theatrical and calls for skills in story telling, theater and personal interaction. So enjoy how he closes the first dvd with a fun and entertaining piece involving an underwater escape, a doomed magician, an evil wife and a miraculous occurence. At the heart of the effect is a presenation for a gimmicked key and lock set for the seven keys to baldplate. However the meat of the effect lies in watching Docc hold an audience rapt with a sinister but sinfully fun story. 5 out of 5.

The first dvd is the best in the series and I wanted to review every effect in it because they all deserve to be mentioned for their different attributes. The other dvd's are good but i'll only review the best pieces from them.

DVD 2:
Nightmare Coins: This is a Docc classic. If you haven't seen, heard or read about it the routine is simple. A dream is explained then an imaginary coin is selected and made to appear. The routine is simple but the story and outcome are great. You won't be fooled by it but that's not the point. The point of this routine is too create an 'atmosphere' about the performer and Docc does this swimmingly. If you are interested in being seen as more than a guy who does tricks you need to look into this. Four out of five.

For one to End: Once again the actual trick isn't that impressive. Boiled down to its core components it is a one out of four prediction. But when you add all the details of the routine back into it you have a powerful and fun piece involving movie history, the American Government, subliminal messages and audience participation. If performed correctly this effect will be talked about long after that card they signed has been thrown away. Definite four out of five. This is, in my opinion, worth the price of this DVD

Rasputin's Secret: This is a published manuscripts of Docc's and it is an interesting triple prediction card plot using a gimmicked deck. The trick is great and if you are interested in triple prediction effects it is worth looking into. But what makes this performance so great is watching how Docc handles an unusal situation in the effect. In the explanation Docc explains that the trick did not go the way it was supposed to and hearing him explain how he adapted the trick around that occurence is worth its weight in palming coins. Four out of five.

Disc 3:
Tridiction: This is another of Docc's billet routines. It is a triple prediction centered around a casino theme. The effect isn't much up my alley but Docc does do some good explaning on the classic Mental Epic and he tips a great billet switch that fools and is practically self working. The routine gets a 3.8 out of five.

Esped: Docc does a three part street mentalism style performance that consists of a thought of card, a book test and an image duplication. The first two effects are good and listening to Docc's explanation of not just 'how' but also 'why' he does them the way he does them is great. I wanted to mention the 'Esped' because it uses an interesting method and watching Docc handle both the volunteer and the audience is a great lesson in management. YOu may not be amazed at the effect but if you pay close attention to Docc's blocking and wording you can be greatly rewarded. The effect itself gets a 3.5 out of 5 but the whole routine, the card, the word and the image, gets a resounding 5 out of 5.

In my opinion this is the weakest dvd of the set. That aside it is still very good and worth looking into if you want to see how Docc handles dual reality.

Disc 4:
Magazine Test: This is a classic magazine test and the method doesn't add anything new (you notice how much I repeat that!) but Docc's handling and revelation are good study for students interested in learning real mind reading. The method doesn't warrant much attention if you have a working knowledge of mentalism techniques but Docc's handling and pacing of revelation is worth your time. 3.8 out of 5.

# of the Beast: I love this effect! A woman thinks of a three digit number and without touching the paper or the pad Docc reveals the number. The method is cheeky and you could do it one on one or in front of a large crowd. Inside the effect is a neat method that Docc uses to squeeze more effects from the same effect (a trick Docc learned from Bruce Bernstein) and if studied could yield more amazming moments in your own show. 4 out of 5.

Killer on Tiber St.: This is Docc's take on the phone book test. The method Docc uses is simple but can play for the largest audience and takes moments to prepare. It runs in the same vein as Uncle Klink and is performed very tongue in cheek. The great thing about this effect is getting to watch Docc win over his audience and not just amaze them but actually entertain them. For people looking to make a living through magic this is a must watch. 3.7 out of 5.

Overall the set is okay. I like Docc and I love his material. Getting a chance to watch him work is awesome but outside of volume 1, unless your a big fan, I can't suggest these dvd's. The methods aren't ground breaking, the material isn't that powerful and the audience has trouble reacting honestly. If you are interested in learning to be a better performer these dvd's are a step forward in the right direction (but they don't stand in for training, directors and constant examination). As for the explanations Docc is very clear and he is aided and abetted by his friend Jason Alexander who does a great job clarifying and leading Docc to really dig out what makes each effect tick.

Overall the set gets a 2.8 out of 5. Get the first dvd for sure and after that proceed with caution.


Til next week,

Cris Johnson

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