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UNDERRATED CLIVE BARKER HORROR-THRILLER THAT DOES NOT DISPPOINT.
on 21 December 2014
REVIEWED VERSION: 1998 MGM US DVD
Director: Clive Barker
Cast: Scott Bakula, Kevin J. O'Connor, Famke Janssen, Daniel von Bargen, Barry Del Sherman, Joel Swetow, Vincent Schiavelli
Production: US 1995
Harry D'Amour (Scott Bakula) is a private investigator who is hired as a bodyguard by Dorothea Swann (Famke Janssen), wife of the famous illusionist Philip Swann (Kevin J. O'Connor), who rescued her from a cult that follows Nix (Daniel von Bargen), who calls himself The Puritan and was killed by Swann 13 years ago. The cult supporting Nix years ago is back, preparing for Nix's resurrection. During a show, one of Swan's illusions goes horribly wrong, killing him. D'Amour starts to investigate...
THE PROS & CONS
LORD OF ILLUSIONS is Clive Barker's most underrated work, based on Barker's short story THE LAST ILLUSION. What destroyed the film were the 12 minutes of cuts imposed on the film not only by the dreadful MPAA, but also by the studio for "pacing". These cuts are fully restored in the Director's Cut of the film.
The films special effects were groundbreaking at its time and still look great by today's standards. There are some great gore effects that will NOT disappoint HELLRAISER fans...
Great actors all along: Scott Bakula was a great cast decision for the role of Harry D'Amour, Kevin J. O'Connor as Philip Swan, as well as Famke Jannsen as Dorothea work well too. Next to Bakula the best cast member has got to be Daniel von Bargen, who plays the diabolical Nix so memorable, he makes the ultimate bad guy. And be on the lookout for the late Vincent Schiavelli in a cameo!
Barker's direction is superb, he brilliantly combines horror with film noir and has his own style fully exercised. It is great that he got to direct his own works, this is THE LAST ILLUSION as it is supposed to be. I am very grateful for the Director's Cut. Well-paced and very exciting from beginning to end!
Simon Boswell's score is quite eerie, catching the mood of the film perfectly.
Overall I highly recommend LORD OF ILLUSIONS for Clive Barker fans and horror-thriller fans alike, I liked this one a lot better than NIGHTBREED, but it does not beat Barker's best, HELLRAISER.
ON A SIDE NOTE
- Clive Barker picked out Famke Janssen personally for the role of Dorothea
- composer Christopher Young (HELLRAISER) was supposed to compose the score to LORD OF ILLUSIONS but was replaced by Simon Boswell due to scheduling conflicts
Feature running time: 120:59 mins. (Director's Cut)
Rating: Unrated (MPAA) / 18 (BBFC)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 / 16:9
Audio: English 5.1
Subtitles: English, French
Extras: Audio Commentary, Isolated Musical Score, Deleted Scenes with optional commentary (3:13), Theatrical Red Band Trailer (2:36), 6 page booklet
Region: 1/NTSC (locked)
Picture quality: 3/5
Audio quality: 3/5
Considering the age of the DVD (1998), the picture and audio quality are quite good. It has standard extras for that time, nothing special.
Blu-Ray buyers beware! The UK Blu-Ray/DVD edition by 101 films only features the inferior Theatrical Cut on Blu-Ray, the Director's Cut is only available on DVD. The US Shout! Factory Blu-Ray release feature the Director's Cut on Blu-Ray but is Region A LOCKED.