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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 12 February 2014
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 is only on DVD.

This may appeal to some purists; but this is one occasion where the Director's Cut really DID improve the film and the Theatrical cut pales in comparison.

I'm not saying people shouldn't buy it - I just want people to be fully informed. I received an email from 101 Films who confirmed that they were unable to obtain an HD copy of the Director's Cut.
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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

SYNOPSIS

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

DVD DETAILS

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
Extras: 2/5

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.
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on 13 October 2004
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.
Years latter...
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.
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on 17 April 2015
Clive Barker is one of today's most revered and respected writers of Horror and has written some amazing screen plays of his own novels which have translated wonderfully to the big and small screens respectively. The cast are not Hollywood "A Lister's" but performances are excellent all around. "Lord of Illusion" is a story that talks about the hidden world of Magic, Demons, Gods and the transcendence of the human condition. The story is strong, the roles well acted and the special effects believable. The characters are so well written and their interactions are rich and complex. From the first few moments of the film you invest in the characters and their foibles and are drawn into the complex tapestry of unfolding events. This is not a film for the faint hearted or children as there are moments of violence, gore and spiritual darkness that can have a negative and lasting effect on sensitive viewers. To truly enjoy Clive Barker's work you need an open mind and a deep love for the Supernatural and Horror film genres. Once again, if you are of a sensitive mind set and are easily offended by irreligious and heretical content then this film is not for you. If however the dark side of the universe floats your boat then this is the perfect film for you. Buy this DVD and be thrilled by a truly dark story.
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on 3 March 2014
Buyers ought to be aware that the information on the packaging for this Blu-ray contains a lot of errors, and that (according to IMDB.com) there have been three different runtime versions of this film. They list 109 minute for the theatrical release, 119 minutes for a "director's cut" and also a 121 minute "unrated director's cut". On the back cover of the 1998 "Unrated Director's Cut" (MGM, Region 1, 24fps prog scan, 121 minutes), the first item listed under "Special Features" is: <"Contains footage not seen in theatres or as part of the "Director's Cut">

This Blu-ray is definitely the 109 minute "theatrical release" - and it is not likely to be the "definitive" high definition version for long. On 14th February 2014 Clive Barker made the following announcement on his Facebook page (which was later confirmed by USA distributor Scream Factory who anticipate a mid-2014 release of a definitive collectors edition): "The other movie of mine that Shout is preparing a definitive new edition of (I've just seen the art-work for the DVD. It's superb ) is indeed LORD OF ILLUSIONS, as many of you have already guessed. The edition will have both cuts of the film, interviews, analysis, a profile of D'Amour traced through all his literary and cinematic journeys and Nix knows what else...It's going to be a whole new vision of D'Amour's world, all the way up to, and including, THE SCARLET GOSPELS. My love to you all, Clive Barker"

I own the 121 minute 1998 "unrated director's cut" DVD so I've been able to compare it to the Blu-ray edition and make a confident positive recommendation for the quality of the Blu-ray. The 101 Films Blu-ray is brighter and has significantly greater detail - however after closely comparing the two in "A-B" fashion on my PC, I'm suspecting that the darkness of the DVD was might have been an intended element of the style of the film - and that the brightness of the Blu-ray edition might be due to the clever new high definition transfer technology (Clive Barker would know).

The Blu-ray is AVC encoded 1920x1080 24p, letterboxed slightly to the original film aspect of 1.85:1 and with 48kHz 16 bit PCM stereo audio - whereas the 1998 "Unrated Director's Cut" edition is 720x480 24p anamorphic 1.77:1 (no letterboxing) with a choice of three audio tracks: Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround for the isolated music track, and Dolby Digital 1.0 for Clive Barker's commentary.

I was surprised that there was only the Blu-ray disc, in a single disc case, even though the cover states that it ought to contain a second disc - the "Director's Cut DVD". Amazon UK lists a "101 Films" DVD version as a separate item. The Blu-ray cover also claims that the film is just 87 minutes (when it's really 109) and that it is in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, when the only soundtrack is PCM stereo (only).

I will be hanging on to my 1998 "Unrated Director's Cut" NTSC anamorphic widescreen DVD for all the extras that you do not get with this Blu-ray - the three above-mentioned audio options, an 8 page booklet, 32 chapters (about 4 times as many as the Blu-ray) and for the 12 minutes of extra material which does significantly contribute to the story.

If you loved the experience of Lord Of Illusions in the cinema, then you will love this 2014 101 Films Blu-ray edition. If you want all the extras though, you will have to buy the "unrated director's cut" edition DVD - or wait till mid-2014 and see what the "Scream Factory" USA collectors edition Blu-ray has to offer.
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on 16 March 2013
Yes this is a great show with everything happening around you, the suspense is killing with mind blowing effects that keep you entertained, A private detective visits Los Angeles and sees a magic show that is very different, so is it real or not plenty of intrigue and fabulous acting from Scott Bakula and the cast, It holds you interested that you don't want to miss anything. Say to much and spoil the movie no not me I like to let you be the judge so see for yourself as it is very different to nearly every other movie I have seen in a long time. I rated this an A grade plus classic for pure entertainment that's worth seeing. So sit awhile and enjoy a marvelous night of amusement with something from the beyond and unexplainable.
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on 4 January 2012
If you caught this partway through, its still quite clearly based on a book - there's large quantities of character/plot stuff, the stuff that often wouldn't get into films, and though I have never read the book, this doesn't appear to be watered down because it requires the audience to pay attention. Some information could be easily missed by those with relatively short attention spans.

Its only low point is being very long.
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on 2 March 2004
Oh what can I say? I know this doesn't work, but I do enjoy it anyway, if only to try and pick through it to see how it could be salvaged.
I think the main problem is in the structure, Barker weirdly opens with a long flashback, giving away a good few twists up front and then has his hero trying to work out what happened, something we already know. Snipping out most of this - cutting straight to D'Amour, perhaps - maybe adding it in later on in some form or other, would have made the mystery aspect much stronger.
Still, it's good to see a film try and do something a bit different, and as Barker puts it, it's nice to see a horror movie more interested in the good guys than the iconic one-liner spitting baddies. This one does have a decent plot in there somewhere amidst the naff effects and hesitant performances, and is definately worth a watch, just to catch a glimpse of what it could have been.
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on 7 August 2015
Almost everyone talks of Illusion as some Lost gem or Underrated Classic,well unfortunately its Box Office takings showed you how underrated it was.It Bombed!.It may have found a new audience on the Home Entertainment market but I have to saying that I found the Movie very Mis-cast and Very,Very Slow and dare I say boring.I have now tried Three times to watch Lord Of Illusion and have found Myself switching it off before the end on every occasion. Nothing like the classic some would have you believe.
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on 31 December 2000
This movie is a classic. Great story and even better cast. O'Conner was perfect for his role and Janssen makes the fear look soo realistic.
Clive Barker has done it again, to make a great horrific movie.
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