Lord of Illusions (1995)
Director: Clive Barker
Kevin J. O'Connor/Swan
Daniel Von Bargen/Nix
Cult leader "Nix" (Bargen) one dangerous magician is buried alive by one of his old followers named Swan (Connor). Thirteen years later, Swan has become a celebrity illusionist, has a beautiful wife (Janssen) and all is dandy…until people start dying violently and the rumor of "Nix’s" resurrection begins floating around. Enter Harry D’Amour…private eye with a knack for the unknown…He unwillingly gets mixed up in all of it and slowly uncovers a world that’s been waiting for him all along…a dark and deadly one.
All the "Barker" themes are here Flesh, Death and Sex…well almost all of them…hardly any sex…and they are explored "Barker" style, with class and confidence. This movie has a lot going for it. The exploration of Cults and their members (in my book those cult nutjobs are scarier than any Freddy Krueger), a kickass "magic show" scene, mystery, action, lots of violence and it even offers a most unlikely deadly duo: a seriously whacked gay looking man and an out of control skinhead.
Being a fan of "Barker’s" work, I really enjoyed this film. It grabbed me by the nuts and only let go at the closing credits. I don’t understand why this movie got bashed upon it’s release. It’s tightly put together and juggles all it’s elements to near perfection. Now bow down to me…
A lot of it…If you like your movies violent, you’ve come to the right place. Plus the movie is filled with amazing optical effects that blew my mind.
Grade A: Bakula (D’Amour) gives a good performance but his character is a tad underdeveloped. He does well with what is given to him. Kevin J O Connor (Swan) usually plays the bumbling oddball in his films (Deep Rising, The Mummy) and it was refreshing to see him play it straight for once, he comes through. Famke Janssen (Dorothea) gives a subtle underplayed performance which emphasizes her characters vulnerability. It works. Also she is one gorgeous woman. Daniel Von Bargen (Nix) really had me going. He was perfect for the part. With a role like this, it’s easy to jump on the "Krueger" bandwagon and ham it up but Bargen really got under my skin and kept it real.
T & A
Nothing to brag about. We see two pair of tits but their not very nice…used up and for the ladies a chubby dudes flabby ass. Bakula does spend lots of time without his shirt (did you work out for this part) and looks good. Famke Janssen almost shows us her breasts but decides to hide them behind Bakula’s elbow…damn…so close…
Go Barker go. Barker directs like a veteran. His personal style finally comes through fully (after all this is his third movie) and I’m all for it. I’m very happy that the video release is the "Director’s Cut’ not the studio version that was in theaters. When a writer directs his own script, the messages, the themes come across clearer. Barker is a fascinating writer, living in his own dark world and I love what he has to say. Who better to say it on screen but him.
The score fits the movie like a cigarette on James Dean. It’s eerie, specially in the "magic show" scene. "Barker" also uses the song "Magic Moments" by "Erasure" cleverly
An interesting mix of private eye flick and occult thriller. Other than Bakula’s part being a tad thin I can’t think of one bad thing to say about this movie. Barker writes about things nobody else writes about. His vision of the world is different than the average Joe's and it will certainly give you the willies. So hit the lights, unplug the phone, sit your ass down and enter the world of Clive Barker.
This movie is based on Barker’s short story "The Last Illusion" The story first appeared in the 6th "Books Of Blood" and was reprinted in "Cabal". Harry D’Amour, Barker’s in-house detective also makes an appearance in "The Great Secret Show" and takes center stage in "Everville".