I wish I could be among the admirers of this final fantasy from producer-director George Pal (War of the Worlds, Atlantis: The Lost Continent), but that would mean a higher tolerance for the comic mugging of Tony Randall than I can muster. You get a lot of Tony Randall in 7 Faces of Dr. Lao. He not only problematically plays the title character, the Chinese proprietor of a traveling carnival that visits a small town in the American West, but also six of the circus’ acts, including Merlin the Magician, Medusa, and the voice of a giant, stop-motion serpent that sports a mustache and smokes a cigar. Working from a novel by Charles G. Finney, Pal uses the circus setup to seemingly indulge in whatever wacky trick comes to mind. If the result is often hacky, it’s not only because of the crudeness of the special effects, but also the sideshow manner in which the fantasy flourishes are staged. There’s no grace or poetry here, as there is in something like King Kong or even Jason and the Argonauts, whose effects transcend the costume-movie trappings. In 7 Faces, each set piece is dropped into the film with a thud that matches Randall’s broad comic delivery. The two elements merge in a climax involving a giant hydra sporting the heads of every Randall character. I found it nightmarish, but probably not in the way Pal intended.