• Alex Hui

TRICK REVIEW - Killer in Manilla by Alex Latorre & Mark Mason



Here is my in-depth review of Killer in Manilla by Alex Latorre & Mark Mason.


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YOUTUBE REVIEW


If you want to watch the review, here is the YouTube version.



Effect

A regular Manilla envelope is freely shown on all sides and is placed on the table. Any card is selected, signed and then lost into the deck. You claim inside the envelope there is a $20 bill (any currency can be used). If you do not find the card, they can keep the money.

A card is removed, unfortunately, it is not the correct signed card. The Manilla envelope is opened, INSIDE is a smaller envelope. This is opened, in there as promised, is a $20 bill. The money is removed from the envelope. As crazy as this sounds underneath the money is ONE CARD. The card is removed; it REALLY IS THEIR SIGNED CARD.


WHAT YOU GET?


You will receive:

  • 1 gimmicked white envelope

  • 1 Manilla envelope

  • 1 special gimmick

  • Online instruction link

QUALITY OF THE GIMMICK

There are 2 main parts in terms of gimmick. They combined to form the effect.

For the special gimmick, it’s ‘invisible' throughout the performance. It’s built with very high quality and is tough with good care. I don’t think you need to worry about the endurance of this gimmick. However, if it is broken, it will be difficult to repair.



As for the gimmicked envelope, the quality is supremely good. It is cleverly designed and I am blown by the concept. However, since it is made of paper with moving parts, it seems that continuous use will degrade the endurance of the envelope. I suppose it will last hundreds of performance but not sure if it can hold beyond certain point of time. Repairing is difficult if the main moving part is broken. But if you study the envelope carefully, you should be able to DIY it.


All in all, I am satisfied with what I received. It definitely worth the price even if you assume the gimmick can last only 200 performances.

QUALITY OF THE TUTORIAL

The explanation is an online tutorial. It is downloadable on your device.


The effect is well explained in a 20 minutes and 41 seconds long video. The explanation is hosted by Mark Mason. The video is home-made with the camera shoot at half body length, with one camera angle only. The explanation is clear, but the online version video quality is super poor, as if it is a 80s homemade video. I am actually surprised by the poor quality of the video, as the cheapest smartphone on market can shoot a better video quality than this. But if you download the video, it improves a bit. Besides, the sound is so poor and annoying with buzz. It’s not affecting the explanation but I will never want to watch this tutorial again.



Length (in minutes) of the main parts (I literally counted):

  • Performance - 3:22

  • Explanation: 17:19

In the Performance session, Mark Mason perform the effect to a single audience in studio setting. The performance is clear and illustrates exactly what audience see. In terms of presentation, I won’t say it’s perfect but it’s totally fine as a demonstration.

As for the Explanation, Mark Mason walks you through the whole routine once with clear instruction. Every steps are clearly explained with a number of tips.


There is only 1 simple sleight in the whole routine, and thus even beginners can easily do it.

The operation of the gimmicks is a little bit tricky but you should get the knack after a few attempts. This is also the part which determines how long your gimmick last. It is because if you handle the gimmick nicely, it will definitely last longer.



As a side-note, though it was not mentioned or illustrated in the tutorial, the gimmick is able to handle 3 signed selections with ease at the same time. Therefore, you are able to do a multiple signed cards to envelope without altering any procedures of gimmick handling.

One small issue of the gimmick white envelope is: when you remove the card from it, there is small sound. It will not be noticed by spectators in most cases, but it’s obvious if you listen carefully.


To conclude, the tutorial is ok-ish and very standard. There is no entertaining live performance but the explanation is solid enough. However, I am disappointed by the production quality. Therefore, I will only give the tutorial 6/10 in score.


DIFFICULTY


The operation of the gimmick is easy. No palming is needed at all. The loading is smooth and even beginners can do it.

EXAMINABLE?


The gimmick is not examinable or even survive close look. The gimmick is dirty after the trick and thus you don’t want to leave it on table.

RESET TIME

The ad states that reset is 5 seconds, which is not impossible. It takes at least 10-20s for reset if you want to handle the gimmick with care.

KEY POINTS OF THE PRODUCT

  • Cleverly designed gimmick

  • Easy to operate

  • No palm is needed. The whole routine is perfectly good even for total beginners.

  • Basically no angle issue.

  • The envelope is not examinable

  • The gimmick is made of paper, thus it will not last for a lifetime.


FINAL VERDICT


I always love card-to-envelope effect. But in many versions gimmick wallet are needed and operation is complicated in some cases.


However, Killer in Manilla definitely changes the game.


It’s one of the cleanest and the most effective signed card to envelope for sure. No palming, no difficult move, and super clean.


Although the effect involves gimmicked envelope which cannot be inspected, it enables the performers to focus on the presentation as the procedure is very straight forwards.


At current price of $40, Killer in Manilla is without doubt one of the best card-to-envelope and easiest effect you can dream of. I enjoy the cleanness of this effect and how effective it is.

Whether you are hobbyist or professionals, you will find good use of this effect. I highly recommend it and will give it 9/10 in total score.

  • Tutorial Quality: 6/10

  • Effectiveness of Tricks: 10/10

  • Practical: 10/10

  • Creativity: 10/10

  • Cost Performance: 9/10

  • Final Score: 9/10


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