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on 15 April 2017
Very underrated film from Clive Barker pleasantly surprised there's a director's cut added.
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on 13 October 2017
Interesting plot sees cult leader Nix, a magician to some but who has crossed the boundaries into more than magic and has some serious powers hellbent on destruction. His former students return to his hideout and kill him, but death in horror is just the beginning. Meanwhile a private investigator is on the case of an insurance scam- this story falls apart when he takes on the job of finding out more about Nix and his beloved student Swann, a master magician. Swann and the followers know that Nix isn't really dead and will be resurrected. Whew, so there you go. In truth Lord of Illusions is a pretty good film for the first 40 minutes but it soon falls apart and unravels in the second half a movie full of cliches. When Nix for example finally comes back he gives one of the longest speeches in movie history, and instead of his promise to kill the world, spends his limited time with a wooden script.

There is nothing wrong with Clive Barkers direction, but his script is full of holes and it all just feels rather spoon fed. Sure the use of a decent soundtrack does help and Scott Bakula does his best to give in a decent performance as hero/investigator but he comes over as if he is challenging Bruce Willis. By the end, and this movie is almost 2 hours long it's all rather a bit of a yawn, a better script and 30 minutes chopped off would have helped. Barker then remains an enigma at least in the world of movies, having only directed 4 features lengths, one being of course the classic HELLRAISER, he hasn't gone behind the lens since 1998, and it's movies like this that you can see why.
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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 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 4 September 2017
Awesome film
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on 22 February 2003
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.
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on 11 December 2015
As discribed arrived promptly can't wait to watch
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on 30 December 2015
arrived
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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 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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