Magician Mario Devlin prepares to perform a major illusion in public view. He has a volunteer test the metal blades mounted parallel to the street and then ascends on an elevator platform. He jumps into the blades and then emerges from the bottom, unscathed. He returns to his office where he gets a rush of new contacts, and the delivery of a tape he’s been looking for, for over a year. The tape has a recording of magicians Harry Kellogg and the elderly John Holland performing the Pharaoh’s Curse, a glass casket illusion where they switch places. Even Mario can’t figure out how it was done. Holland gave the trick’s secret to Kellogg, and Kellogg may give it to the best magician in the world. Mario plans to be that magician. He takes the tape and goes to Kellogg’s gated manor and Kellogg sees it and lets him in.
Kellogg’s assistant Shannon initially refuses to let Mario see her employee, but Kellogg comes out and sets the tape on fire using sleight-of-hand. Kellogg is unimpressed but Mario refuses to back off and handcuffs himself to Shannon. She’s impressed but Kellogg isn’t impressed with Mario’s reputation. Still, he tells Shannon to give Mario a guest room. She explains that Harry is recuperating from a recent accident and is undergoing physical therapy, and that she is his wife.
As the weeks progress, Harry puts Mario through a series of tests to measure his physical stamina and see if he can handle the Pharaoh’s Curse. As Harry leaves for the night, cursing Harry, Shannon meets with him and admits that Harry knows Mario can do the trick. She says she knows he can do it too, then kisses him and they fall to the ground, making love.
Later that night, Mario sneaks into Harry’s private theater and examines one of the glass caskets. He goes in and the door closes behind him. Smoke starts to fill the chamber and Harry is unable to escape. Harry arrives and lets him out, demanding to know what he was doing. Mario realizes that he’s been transported to the other casket, and Harry explains that it’s magic: real magic. If he hadn’t opened the lid, Mario would have died. Mario is skeptical and Harry explains that magic is a gift that can’t be taken or stolen. He thinks Mario gives 100% no matter what and is aware that Shannon is involved with him. Harry explains that the magic requires two souls, and that he’s retiring. He sent the tape to Mario and the next night he will give a final performance and pass the Pharaoh’s Curse on to Mario.
The next day, Mario talks with Shannon and wonders why Harry wants them to be together. He asks Shannon to stay with him and she agrees.
That night Harry stages one last performance in his theater for a small group of friends. He explains the Pharaoh’s Curse is only performed once each generation and it requires two participants. He introduces Mario who asks for one final round of applause for Kellogg, and then the two of them enter the caskets. The caskets are lifted into the air, fill with smoke, and start to spin. Mario discovers that he’s still in the same casket… but he’s switched bodies with Harry. Harry is in Mario’s body and explains that he’s not Harry, but John Holland. Every thirty years he performs the same illusion and gains a new body. They leave Mario to a shortened life trapped in an ailing body. Share this article with your friends