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Shocking Notes Review

Official Review

September 8th, 2003 10:53pm
Reviewed by Brad Henderson
I have mixed emotions in writing this review. Part of me doesn't want to do it. Why? Because this offering is SO BAD that my stomach literally churns at the thought of it. But, I also fear that some of you out there might end up sharing this gut wrenching experience, so I will persevere.

There are times when I believe that the stuff marketed to magicians has truly hit rock bottom. But after reading Vincenzo Ravina's Shocking I am convinced we are still fully plummeting headlong into the abyss.

First, let's talk about the outright theft:

Vincenzo has lifted Mac King's fork in eye stunt and the punch line to Jim Pace's the web, both without credit or permission. He has not varied either effect. What we have is pure plagiarism.

This is wrong and should not be tolerated.

He also has included the bit where one eats a goldfish by switching it for a carrot. This is currently in use by Mac, though has a history. Does Vincenzo credit either? Of course not. Perhaps one day he will buy the Matt Schulien book and see where "his" ideas came from.

AND he includes a "swallowed" worm to spectator's pocket. Seen this idea before? Worm swallowing? Wait, that's ALSO from Mac King's act. And again, the idea has a history. Check out Steve Beam's Trapdoor for the genesis of the effect. Did Vincenzo? Of course not. Why research when you can steal?

Then we have age old ideas, with again, nothing new offered:

Switch your thumb for a carrot under a hankie and cut it. Thank you, World's Greatest Magic Special.

Make your neck crack with a plastic cup hidden under your armpit. Just how old IS this idea?

Slice your arm with a protractor. Exact method as described in Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft but with a protractor. A protractor?!? I guess protractors are scarier than knives.

The bending and broken spoon as written up by Randi in Bascom Jones' Magick. Again nothing new, and no credit.

An impromptu Bongo Bender made from another key is offered next. Again, does this man not know how to READ?!? Another effect, with a lineage, stolen for Ravina's money making scheme.

And then there is the classic pulse stopping trick. Has Vincent added anything? Of course not. How creepy.

Then we have just stupid ideas:

Push a pen into your arm by removing the point. But what if they ask to see the pen. Don't worry Ravina has the answer, "They will ask to see the pen. As you are about to give it to them, slip it behind your ear and it will seem to vanish as they grab onto it.", wait. All right I'm through laughing now. Whatever dude.

How about pulling out your own wallet and trying to convince someone else that its theirs so they will chase you. Now there's a classy piece of magic.

Or sealing broken glass and nails inside a bag of potato chips for someone to open. (It's in here.)

The razor blade routine with paper clips and floss. Now that's suspense if I've ever seen it.

Or a knock off of the Criss Angel coffee to bugs which a knock off of the Fitch-Blaine Coins to Coffee. Do you think placing your OWN cap onto someone else's coffee cup would be above suspicion? Please. Who ARE you working for and where does the SHORT yellow bus they ride to school on stop in your neighborhood?

Or a trick whose method consists of "accidentally" dropping something on the floor and switching it under the table. (Check out Slydini's sugar tricks for a REAL method. Oh wait, I forgot, you can't read. You know, there were magicians on this planet before Blaine. Some of them wrote books. Try to find one.) The only deception occurring in that effect is that the magician deceives
himself to believe he could actually fool someone with something so asinine.

And speaking of which, allow me to post a few quotes so you know the kind of person you are dealing with:

"Watch a look of horror spread over their face."

"Need to get out of class before a test? Fake a nosebleed."

"This one is cool. It makes people cringe and scream. I've even made someone cry before. It is great."

And "[He'll realize] you didn't steal anything but his dignity."

Somehow I don't think I want my art presented in a manner that these quotes reflect. I mean, I love a scary, suspenseful trick. But people distrust magicians enough as it is. We don't need to run around squirting them. The material presented here is immature, childish, and without an ounce of creative or original input.

Could someone with the experience of Mac King take an idea like swallowing gold fish and make it special. Of course. Does Ravina? Of course not. Instead he takes other's ideas and bastardizes them into the lowest and most base of practical jokes, jokes that are neither deceptive, clever, or even all that Shocking.

Production quality is laughable. Single stapled pages. One sided printing. This is BAD!!!

Can I give zero stars? I guess I'll have to settle with 1/2.

Product info for Shocking Notes

Author: Ravina, Vincenzo
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $20.00
Buy Now
Manufacturer's Description:

Tricks to Make People Scream

These 16-page notes contain 21 easy-to-do tricks designed to shock your spectators into screams. You'll learn how to:

* Apparently break your own neck!
* Stick a needle straight through your hand!
* Swallow entire saltshakers of salt!
* And much more

16 pages

Available from your favorite magic dealer.

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