By Markos Papadatos
The DVD begins with Angel being burned alive with fire, for over 45 seconds, which he did as a present for his mother on her 70th birthday celebration. Not only was Angel able to display himself being burned alive in the streets of Las Vegas, but he put his own magic twist to it in the end, and emerged as the person extinguishing the fire, which was a true spectacle.
In the second episode, Angel introduces his fans to his “levitation” technique, which would become a staple in his shows in later episodes, and goes on to levitate several spectators in Fremont Street in Las Vegas.
The third episode features one of Angel’s most dangerous demonstrations to date, where he has to escape a “wine barrel,” and world renowned magicians Lance Burton and Johnny Thompson make cameos in this episode, and underscores its extreme difficulty. With this demonstration, Angel is trying to surpass Houdini, especially since he performed it handcuffed and suspended eighty feet in the air, with the goal of doing it in under two minutes time, before the wine barrel falls to the ground and cracks.
In the fourth episode, Criss is seen lying on a “bed of nails,” to quote a lyric from a Bon Jovi rock tune, but he does this with an SUV Hummer truck driving over his body for several seconds.
His fifth demonstration may perhaps be the most dangerous one of his career, since he was suspended from a helicopter over the “Valley of Fire,” which being hung from four fish hooks behind his back, and those were pierced through his body without any anesthesia, and he was able to accomplish it successfully, while audience members at home were at the edge of their seats, and his family and colleagues were praying for his safety, while witnessing it live at the “Valley of Fire.”
Particularly impressive about this season of Mindfreak is that we see Criss Angel’s heart and hard work ethic like no other. He was quoted twice in two of his episodes with the following inspirational quote: “I have worked my whole life in trying to create an art form, that would please me and hopefully in turn please others, and I hope that they have an appreciation for my work ethic and my passion, whether they love me or hate me,” Criss Angel said.
Another difficult demonstration that he had to endure was being “buried alive” and the heavy rainfall that day made that task extremely challenging for Angel.
In the following episode, Angel acknowledged the fact that he was always fascinating by the “world’s strongest men” videos as a child, and he pays homage to them, by attempting to life a taxi two feet from the ground in one of the hotels in Las Vegas.
While Angel may not always enjoy working out, he noted that is an imperative job as a magician, to help him perform his demonstrations.
Angel is also seen walking down a hotel without any evident safety harness, and actress Mandy Moore makes a cameo, where she is driven by the Greek-American magician to one of her favorite restaurants while he was blindfolded and he was able to read her mind in what she planned on ordering from the restaurant, which left the actress in total awe and disbelief of his mentalist abilities.
He returned to his native New York to perform his “Oasis” demonstration, in the middle of a crowded Bryant Park, while surrounded by thousands of gallons of water, and trying to escape after being trapped inside that chamber for over an entire day without having eaten anything for over two days.
During his radio premonition episode, Angel revealed that this was one demonstration that was not risky for his life, but it would have been risky for his reputation had he guessed the wrong numbers, but he was able to correctly predict several of the missing lottery numbers in front of the radio airwaves and had his prediction prerecorded on a cassette tape.
This season of Mindfreak closes with Angel going to Wisconsin to partake in the “Tesla Strike,” which consists of three million volts of electricity, which was quite daring and hazardous.
As a bonus feature on his DVD, he offers his fans, his “Loyal,” three interactive “Mindfreaks” that they can try at home through their television or computer screen, and they will be blown away by the results. These include two card tricks, a dictionary trick and guessing a random number and figuring out a corresponding item to it.
Overall, Criss Angel’s inaugural season of Mindfreak was amazing from start to finish. It was filled with action, mystery, drama and suspense. There was something in it for everybody, and it was able to introduce his craft to his fans, which would become known as “The Loyal.” His vibrant personality shined throughout and his presentation skills were top-notch. It is no wonder that Mindfreak was so successful to the point where it led to five additional seasons, as well as a well-deserved residency for Angel at the Luxor Hotel and Casino. The “helicopter suspension” demonstration is worth the price of this DVD alone, since one needs to see it to believe it. Happy 10th anniversary to Mindfreak Season 1. It garners 5 out of 5 stars.
To learn more about magician Criss Angel and his Mindfreak DVDs and upcoming projects, check out his official website.