14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Barker shows hints of what his films could become
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...
Published on 13 Oct 2004 by M. Daneker
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware - Theatrical Cut Blu-ray ONLY
I prefer not to review products I don't own - so please forgive me.
However, I am doing so here so that other buyers can be aware of something. I pre-ordered this title as soon as it became available on blu-ray; but I cancelled it yesterday.
The reason is that it's only the Theatrical Version that is on blu-ray here. The far superior Director's Cut...
Published 7 months ago by Pantheon
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Didnt even get the DVD,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lord Of Illusions [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I didn't even receive the directors cut DVD which is the only reason I'm giving this a low rating
I will be e-mailing 101 films in the hope they will rectify this error
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A clever film seething with potential but only meeting bits of it,
When PI Harry D'Amour (Scott Bakula) is asked by gorgeous Dorothea Swann (Famke Janssen) to find her missing husband, the famed illusionist Phillip Swann (played by Kevin J O'Connor), he enters into the assignment with passing enthusiasm. Despite being a man with experience of the occult, D'Amour is startled by just how much is involved in the case. Fanatics are hunting Swann, and killing anyone in their way...
The film manages to feel both like a slightly lightweight seamy detective drama and a lightweight horror at the same time. Following a showy supernatural opening, the most exciting scenes are when the cult members and D'Amour cross paths. A few of the cultists have standout characters and appearances and make for fascinating opponents to the all-American square jawed hero. It seems that in this world, magic is real, and Swann has foresaken it to only practice illusions, while his more deadly foes dabble in the real thing, and are willing to use it for lethal ends...
Bakula is OK as a hero, but he feels too clean cut to fit Barker's story. O'Connor, similarly due to his comedy or stooge roles, doesn't feel right as a suffering martyr of great power, and Von Bargen as bad guy Nix suffers largely from little to do and a silly character name. Only at the beginning and the finale do any real chills surface, as the cult's parallels to the Waco tragedy are highlighted, and their fanatical insanity rears its ugly head. Its clear this could have been a much darker movie, but it was made in the 90's when Hollywood was churning out 'diet-coke' horrors to try to rake in the bigger audiences who could't cope with excessive shocks or gore.
As a result it's good, but far off classic. Romance and glossy photography take the place of any real tension or suspense.
It's entertaining and signals the directions Barker would later go in with his films, but it's not a classic.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Illusion is about the only thing holding this movie together,
Clive Barker is a genius, but Lord of Illusions just doesn't work for me. You have this guy Nix who calls himself The Prophet; he can do all kinds of real magic, yet he seems to be content in assembling a handful of incompetent cultists in the middle of nowhere, kidnapping a young girl, and juggling fire. He walks around in a T-shirt woefully incapable of covering his huge beer-belly, so it's hard to take him that seriously. Just as we're getting to know the guy, his former disciple Swann and three other escaped cultists swoop in and manage to bind him, after which they bury him deep in the ground so no one will ever find him. Now we jump ahead thirteen years. The kidnapped girl is married to Swann, and both begin to worry when a member of the Nix vanquishing party is killed, sensing that someone is trying to bring The Prophet back. Here's where private detective Harry D'Amour steps in, stumbling his way around the major events (and deaths) that have to do with Nix's "death" and imminent return. His detective skills and the magical abilities of Swann aren't enough to keep The Prophet in his grave, and the movie ends up coming full circle back to its beginning, featuring a final showdown between Swann and Nix.
Personally, I think Scott Bakula was a bad choice to play D'Amour; he is just not the hard-nosed private detective type, and his character's lack of any real identity or personality makes him seem an illusion of sorts himself (despite the fact he is supposed to be the protagonist). The romantic link that develops between D'Amour and Dorothea Swann (Famke Janssen) is simply lifeless. The clues he finds along the way basically fall into his lap, and I am hard pressed to explain how he figured out where to go and whom to talk to about a subject he knew very little about early on. This serves to highlight the fact that the script just isn't very good, even though Clive Barker himself wrote it. There is very little character development, several discoveries and arbitrary actions are presented without explanation, and there are plot holes each step along the way. You would think that a movie called Lord of Illusions would actually feature some impressive illusions-you'd think so, but you would be wrong. This is most unfortunate because I think the concluding special effects were meant to offset the weakness of the plot. Many of the special effects were patently fake and highly disappointing. It's hard for a movie to succeed with a combination of bad casting, bad plot, and bad effects. At the end, you may well be asking yourself what this movie was really about.
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More like the Lord of Baloney!,
I remember watching the trailer for a horror-murder-mystery movie a few years back, and it looked so exciting. The special effects looked impressive and the production design was smooth. A very 'noir'ish thriller indeed.
Well obviously, I must have been mistaken because Lord of Illusions is defintely not it!
The film is an absoloute mess and proves along with Nighbreed (1990) that he cannot direct (but he made an awesome debut with Hellraiser... (1987). I can't reveal the whole plot but it involves a cult surrounding a man called Nix (Daniel Von Bargen - Commandant Spangler from Malcolm In The Middle) (Nix IS a rubbish name ;-) with incredble powers (you know, levitation, throwing people across the room, etc).
Anyway, Philip Swann, a former 'disciple' of Nix (Kevin J'O Conner from The Mummy (1999) arrives with a team to catch him and stop him but they fail, and in fact Nix transfers some of his powers to Philip promising even more power if he follows him. But Nix is beaten by Philip's 'good magic' and is "buried" and the story moves on.
Cue present day: Harry D'Amour, (Scott Bakula from Quantum Leap and Star Trek Enterprise) who is following a case comes across black magic imagery, which leads him to Philip Swann who is now an incredble famous magician, with a gorgeous girlfriend (Famke Janssen from X-Men 1 and 2).
His shows are sold out night after night, he uses strong visual effects and he makes tricks that look like they would kill most people but he always gets out alive. Except one night things go 'wrong' and he 'dies'. After this there's double-crosses, lies, lots of blood, more (suprisingly poor) special effects, bad dialogue, plot holes and it culminates in a ridiculous finale full of SHOUTING (?) and more blood (and torture).
Now I bought this film based on the 'special' effects (Scott Bakula's character being chased by 'flames') but as a whole the film makes no sense. Certain events are not explained (like why does Scott Bakula's character have a large intricate tattoo on his back? Was it his destiny to be involved with Nix and Philip Swann?)
Don't waste your money on this. Clive Barker only directed one great movie... Hellraiser 1 (after #2 the rest are trash).
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing material from a big name like Barker,
By A Customer
Lord of Illusions is a strange film. It seems to defy genre. It most certainly isn't a 'classic horror' movie, but fails to meet the mark as a thriller, slasher or anything else. And therein lies the problem, it's a bit of a nothing movie. The story is very linear, the plot is shallow and predictable - all of which is forgivable if there is something to compensate.
However, the film again fails to deliver. The 'shock/horror' moments are very staged and come straight from the 'How to make a Horror Movie' manual, with no creativity. The special effects are good, but for reasons best known to Barker they are all shot in a moody (read dark) enviroment, meaning that most of the fleeting glimpses of special effects are too fast and too dark to make out. Which is a shame, as this could have been something that pulled the movie up from a two star watch, into the lofty heights of three stars!
If you are looking for terror, look elsewhere. If you are looking for something occultish and macrbe look elsewhere. Lord of Illusions is very much a pedestrian attempt at horror that would appeal to maybe the hardened Barker fans out there.
I couldn't help but feel like I was watching an extended episode of 'Quantium Leap', with it's made-for-TV feel and linear story line. I am sorry if this sounds hard, but I would say unless you are a real (and maybe this is the acid test) Barker fan don't bother. In the movie Nix (the baddy) says on a number of occasions "I have come to murder the world". In truth it was more a case of "I have come to murder this script"!
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Undecided,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Decent film for what I paid £2. The acting is OK but it is quite low budget. it's not a so good version of a Stephen King film.
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Lord Of Illusions [Blu-ray] by Clive Barker (Blu-ray - 2014)