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SCIN (Gimmick) Review

Official Review

February 10th, 2016 7:40am
Reviewed by Stuart Philip
Phil Knoxville’s SCIN (Signed Card in Nose) is marketed by Magic Tao. It is a project that teaches how to visibly and actually remove a card from the performer’s nostril. It sounds gross. It is gross. It is not for most performers.

With SCIN, you get an hour and eleven minute DVD along with two prepared cards to use in the SCIN effect. The DVD starts off with the following warning… “The creator, producer and distributor hold no responsibility for any injury or death caused by attempting to perform SCIN or The Human Blockhead. THIS DVD IS FOR REFERENCE ONLY” Did they say “death”? Well, that seems to be an unwarranted risk (unlikely too) but I guess every performer will have to do their own risk benefit analysis before performing this trick.

If you like the idea of being able to pull and object out of your face, specifically your nostril, then you should keep reading. If you have no interest in being able to actually pull a card (or what looks like a full card) out of your nose then this trick is not for you. I belong to the larger group of performers that won’t be interested in pulling items out of their sinuses and as such I did not even try to demo this trick.

Let’s talk about what you think you are learning and what you are actually getting. First, the ad copy and the promotional video both claim that a card is selected from the deck, signed, and returned. The chosen card is then removed from your nose. Based upon that claim, one could reasonably expect that a card is selected and signed and then seconds later the same signed card is removed from your nostril. That is not what happens here. There are various versions of SCIN and not all of them have a signed card or “the” signed card. I hate to mince words, but the definition of “the card” is important here. Does “the card” mean a card with the same value and suit? Or does it mean the actual card that the spectator signed? None of the versions allows the performer to actually remove the spectator’s actual signed card from his nostril immediately after having them select and sign it. There is a version of SCIN where a card is signed by a spectator before the show and that card (or what appears to be that card and it is in fact the actual signed card, but slightly modified) with the actual signature is removed from the spectator’s nose after the performer has disappeared for a while. The ad copy should have said that a card is selected and signed and a short time later after the performer leaves and comes back, what appears to be the same card in the same condition is removed from the spectator’s nose. Yes, sarcasm.

For all the versions in which a card is actually removed from the performer’s nose the card cannot be inspected or held by the spectator, not that anyone will want to inspect a piece of paper that was just visibly removed from your nose. The back of the card can also not be displayed in most versions of this trick. Once the card is actually removed from the nose, the performer holds it to show the spectator, but just for a brief second. If it is stared at for more than a second, something will look off and give rise to questions. As discussed below, this is likely not an issue because your audience is gagging.

Unfortunately, there are no performances of any of the SCIN routines on the DVD. I would have liked to have seen a full live routine and also a studio performance. In the promotional video there are snippets of a live performance, but that performance does not appear on the DVD. For such a shocking trick like this, live performances are a must. This DVD is deficient in this respect.

Although there is a sleight of hand version of SCIN, it is not as shocking and you cannot see a card come cleanly out of the performer’s nose.

After the Knoxville teaches the various ways in which SCIN can be performed, he has Costa and Chris from Magic Tao attempt to do the prep work for SCIN. After a good college try, neither Costa, nor Chris were able to accomplish what you need to do to perform SCIN. This is a bust. Even though Knoxville is by their side and trying to coach them through it, they just can’t get it done. These guys have an interest in making it work, but for their first attempt and with the creator’s coaching they still could not do it. Any purchaser of this DVD will certainly not have a private lesson like Costa and Chris did so that is something to be considered.

The DVD production and organization is good and well organized, although it is a bit long. The audio quality is great, except for when an airplane can be heard in the background. The DVD is shot in front of the Magic Tao painted wall.

Knoxville also teaches the Human Blockhead stunt in which a nail is removed from your nose. No way, no how am I trying that. Maybe for some of the more adventurous, but not me.

I would have liked to have a real doctor explain why this trick is safe and what is actually happening, but I doubt a reputable doctor would support instruction on such a method. To that end, Knoxville repeatedly mentions that he is not encouraging anyone to do this trick, but just demonstrating how he does it. The ad copy says “WARNING: THIS EFFECT SHOULD NOT BE SOLD TO OR PERFORMED BY ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 18. HIS DVD IS FOR REFERENCE ONLY.” I guess he is worried about liability. Go figure.

Bottom line is that if that if you perform this trick your spectators will be freaked out beyond belief. There are some significant limitations here, but this trick will evoke such a high level of disgust and revulsion to what is being presented to then that the performer will likely get away with what is happening, notwithstanding what I have described above.

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Product info for SCIN (Gimmick)

Author: Knoxville, Phil
Publisher: Magic Tao
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $30.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

SCIN: Signed Card in Nose


This is for the SCINNERS

Phil Knoxville brings you the ultimate geek effect, Signed Card in Nose.

This is SCIN.

A card is selected from the deck, signed and returned. You lose the card in the deck and ask your volunteer to visualize their card, you then ask them to push card into your head. You take a pair of tweezers and begin to pull the card out of your nose. Simple. Brilliant. Original and just a little twisted. It looks like real magic because it is real.

Phil Knoxville reveals his methods to achieve this devious and shocking effect, with both a Geek Method (Phil's preferred presentation) and a method that uses only sleight-of-hand, all taught in detail on the DVD. The DVD also comes with sample gimmicks and instructions on how to make your own refills.

"Phil Knoxville, a rock star in every life except this one - so he's settled for being a comedy magician that rocks instead. I have seen SCIN performed up close and personal. I was amused, mystified and disgusted all at once!"
Anthony Jacquin

"This is (SC)INSANE. Phil has breathed new life into a classic geek effect here, creating a piece of disturbing and hilarious magical theatre. I can't wait to try this out myself!"
Dee Christopher

"Phil Knoxville proved yet again his rockstar of comedy magic status by fooling the crap out of me, making me laugh & dazzling everyone. SCIN is unlike anything I've seen before! And I loved every second of it."
Ben Cardall

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