Losing the strait ahead structure of his first two films Barker draws out his short story "The Last Illusion" (Books of Blood VI aka Cabal) and makes an intriguing prelude to "The Great and Secret Show" Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that the D'Amour's second story will ever see the screen.
The story centers around an occult led by nix, a petty demon-like man with some real powers, but little ambition. After he kidnaps a 12 yr old girl, his best learner, Swan, and a small band of followers who see the error of there ways mount a rescue, they seal Nix in an iron mask and bury him in the dessert.
Swan is married to the girl, Dorthea, now a woman, but Nix's followers are ready for the resurrection. Fearing for her safety Swan fakes his own death hoping that when nix returns he'd leave Dorthea alone.
Harry D'Amour, a Brooklyn PI is brought in to determine the possibility of Nix's return and protect Dorthea. Of course D'Amour and Dorthea have heat as she admits nearly immediately that she loved Swan but was not in-love with him. The not-really-dead Swan complicates his own plans by trying to scare Harry off.
Eventually everything falls apart for Swan, his woman is in Harry's arms, his enemies are after him, and Nix is after his soul.
The showdown ensues and is much more satisfying than Hellraiser's non-conclusion.
There's some nifty visuals and enough gore in the superior directors cut. Mostly there's a real feel for fans of the horror-fantasy novels, Weaveworld, Great and Secret Show, Galilee, that Barker is so favored for. This is the only film that feels like his books and feels like it's own world, complete and fully realized.
The film is a bit overly stylized and Barker's stagnant camera and unimaginative set-ups do little to invite the eye in. A better 5.1 mix would have helped sell this as well and the DVD lacks a HD transfer so the contrast and details are a bit grainy.
Over all a solid film that could have benefited from better editing, camera work and a better DVD presentation.