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Plot: During a routine case in L.A., NY private investigator Harry D'Amour stumbles over members of a fanatic cult, who are waiting for the resurrection of their leader Nix. 13 years ago, Nix was calmed down by his best trainee Swann. In the meantime Swann is advanced to a popular illusionist like David Copperfield and is married to the charming Dorothea. She hires D'Amour to protect Swann against the evil cult members. A short time later Swann is killed by one of his own tricks and the occurrences are turning over, and it crackles between Dorothea and D'Amour.
Runtime: 109 mins Release Date: 25 Aug 1995
Title: Lord of Illusions 1995 Director: Clive Barker Cast: Scot Bakula, Franke Jensen, Kevin J. Oconnor Review: Clive Barkers takes us in deep into the world of magic and horror with what in my opinion is his best film...Lord of Illusions.The story is about this religious cult whos leader Nix promises his followers eternal life. Swann, an ex member of the cult, gets cold feet and decides he wants out of the cult of freaky people and decides to eliminate the cult and its leader Nix. He manages to stop Nix and bury him....but is he dead? Many years later after these events Swann has become a <more>
David Copperfield type of magician winning big money. But suddenly some people are after him and there's rumors that Nix...the cult leader he laid to sleep might be returning for revenge on those who restrained him. Swann included.The good thing about this movie for me is that it takes us into this world of magic, demons and religion in a very credible way. Barker handles things properly in this film by taking us into fantastic territory but with a touch of realism. As if it all could in fact be true. Thats the feeling I got while watching this film. And ultimately thats what makes the film so effectively creepy.Nix is a great villain and I never for once felt I was watching some actor playing a by the numbers villain just for the kicks of it. Daniel Von Bergen as Nix delivers a great and evil performance. He uses anyone and everyone, he is selfish in his quest for ultimate knowledge and power over the supernatural and will do anything to have it. The guy is pure evil...and when he is about to be re awakened you almost feel sorry for the poor dopes who are doing it.Another one of the movies assets is that it is done in the fashion of an old detective flick, with Scott Bakulas character Harry D Amour as the grounded on reality Detective who is constantly being confronted with the fact that this world is filled with things that we know nothing about. We see the film through Harrys eyes as he plunges himself deeper into the world of magic and Illusion. This is a smart lead character and cool thing about it is that you don't feel like its a bunch of teenagers making mistake after mistake, this guy knows what he is doing, he is a detective taking a full plunge into the dark world of Nix's religious cult.But by far the coolest thing about this movie is its story. Barker carved up a fine spooky tale. Something to really scare you. The story is complex, and keeps you interested all through out, like a good mystery should. Not only that, but he directed the film with some real style. The movie just looks beautiful in everyway. A really good example of this is Swanns Illussion show in which he performs his "Last Illusion". Great sets and music in those sequences. Speaking of the music, as is the case in most of Barkers films, the music elevates everything to another level of grandiosity. You get this feeling that you are watching something epic and forbidden.All in all, I would say that no doubt this is Barkers finest film to date. Its got a great involving story, good performances a great and memorable villain and a feeling of realism even though we are dealing with magic and Illusions. Barker is a master at weaving fantastic and dark fantasies, this my friends is his best one, go check it out! Rating: 5 out of 5
Director's Edition is the best Spoilers (by domino1003)
For those who haven't seen the original theatrical version of "Lord of Illusions", you might want to check out the extended version. Harry D'Amour Scott Bakula is a private detective with a problem: He has a dark side. It seems that a lot of cases turn ugly One involving an exorcism . Offered an opportunity to get away from the insanity, he's offered a job tailing someone involved in insurance fraud. However, things REALLY turn ugly when he stumbles upon a guy being used as a pincushion. What's the reason behind this?Seems that years ago, a cult leader called Nix <more>
Daniel Von Bargen had very spooky powers and was just about nuts. After kidnapping a young girl, some of his followers including Mr. Pincushion and Swann The very underrated Kevin J. O'Connor put Nix out of his misery, binding him and burying him deep in the earth. Now most of those that killed him are winding up dead. Swann, who is now a popular illusionist, winds up dead in a horrific accident during one of his shows, with his wife Dorothea Famke Janssen in attendance. D'Amour is soon drawn into a mystery in which things are not what they appear and people may or may not be dead.In the Director's Cut of the film,You have a better understanding of D'amour's dark side, plus you get to see a little more into the cultists, how their devotion to Nix is without question You actually see them headed to Nix's resurrection after they killed members of their family! . The deleted scenes are o.k. and you could sort of understand why they were deleted. Barker's commentary is a plus Actually, I like when director's put their 2 cents on the makings of a movie. The part when Nix returns STILL creeps me out. Not in the manner of his return, but the blind devotion that his followers show him.Anyway, rent this, or at least buy it. For Clive Barker fans, horror buffs, or just to have a good time on Saturday night.
If William Blake and Nietzsche Wrote a Horror-story Together (by myboigie)
Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman - a rope over an abyss... What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an overture and a going under... I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves. Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer give birth to a star. Alas, the time of the most despicable man is coming, he that is no longer able to despise himself. Behold, I show you the last man.--Friedrich Nietzsche, "Also Sprach <more>
Zarathustra"5 Jesus said, "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you. For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. And there is nothing buried that will not be raised."29 Jesus said, "If the flesh came into being because of spirit, that is a marvel, but if spirit came into being because of the body, that is a marvel of marvels. Yet I marvel at how this great wealth has come to dwell in this poverty."--From the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas"Flesh is a trap...and death is an illusion."You know when you're watching a film by Clive Barker, that you're in good-hands. I saw this in 1995, and was floored by an oddly-believable tale of magic, both ancient and modern. It's interesting to note that Mr. Barker is well-versed in occult-lore, and that when you view his films he's trying to mess with your head on several-levels at-once. Magic is real, we do it every day, but it's seldom-acknowledged. When we think-of-something--an action, or a wish--and we externalize-it into-reality, we have done something that is magical. Animals are also capable of this, but none-so-well as human-beings. Technology is also an externalization of the human-mind and body , and stems from a scientific-tradition that began with alchemy. In the mystery-traditions, an initiate would be immersed in a symbolic-environment, just as advertising does today for darker-aims! We live illusion every-single-day. If-only it wasn't dead in pustulent-Hollywood.The battle-between the flesh and this world is eternal, and Clive Barker throws us into the midst of this battle. The film begins in-flashback to a cult-compound that looks a disturbingly-similar mix between the Branch Davidian one in Waco, and Spahn Ranch in Death Valley once-populated by the Manson Family . This is the story of the birth of a religion, and where-else do they usually begin? The desert, of-course. But Barker takes-it-further, and we get what could be taken as an inversion of the Christian-myth of Jesus. Nix is the messianic-figure, who tells his disciples, "Fire spoke to me and said--NIX, you are the chosen-one, the Puritan." Unlike Christ's meeting with Satan in the desert, Nix succumbs-to-temptation, and his hatred for the material-world. Has he met-with darkness, or fire-itself, an elemental-force? Barker let's US decide throughout what we are seeing-and-hearing--yes, he's playing-with us. Maybe this ISN'T an inversion of Christianity, after-all...But, Nix is betrayed in the opening-prologue by his chosen-one, Swann. 13-years pass, and Swann is an incredibly-successful stage-magician, using the skills taught him by Nix. He has a consort in Dorothea, and in a direct-reference to Gnosticism, a wizard's assistant in Valentin. Being our cinematic eyes-and-ears, we are introduced to the Detective Harry D'Amour, a gumshoe with a penchant for the unknown in the occult-underworld. We get-treated to some great film-noir moments thanks to Barker's genius-take on the P.I. character, and it blends with horror effectively. A lot of credit has to go to Scott Bakula for his performance as D'Amour, it's a tightrope-role that requires a subtle-approach, with a little humor and cynicism. He's our surrogate, and his disbelief is crucial to our accepting the realities of this story, a tall-order! I believe Barker and his collaborators succeeded in-spades.Interestingly, Clive makes a wonderful-homage to Orson Welles himself an illusionist of high-caliber in the early murder-scene of the fortune-teller. It's shot in the very-same Venice locations as Welles' "Touch of Evil" 1958 , a noir-classic. In some-respects, this film also resembles Welles' "Mr. Arkadian", with a detective searching a man's past as the central-narrative--this was also copied by Alan Parker and his writers on "Angel Heart" 1986 , another classic of horror. Barker also references Mario Bava's "Black Sunday" 1960 with the tale of a resurrected-witch/wizard, and the mask that punctures Nix's face into a ghastly-visage.By the end of the film, it's clear that Nix has come to destroy the world like Jesus , and we are shown realities we'd rather forget. In-a-sense, there are many criticisms of ALL world religions here, even esoteric-ones. Barker condemns the notion that it is the world that corrupts, and that material-reality is the only source-of-evil and destruction. Mankind can be that essential-ingredient "Fire spoke to me and said..." of chaos and destruction--we hold our fates in our own-hands, we are that hand-of-fate in occultism. We stare into-the-abyss, like Nix and Swann, and realize there is nothing, only ourselves. WE are the meaning in the universe, because we create that meaning. Nix, his followers, and Swann succumb to this, and decide non-existence is better. Harry D'Amour, and his allies in the story, do not. The battle, then, is between creation and destruction, not good-versus-evil. D'Amour and Dorothea are an erotic and productive-dyad, whereas Swann and Nix are not. The Apocalypse is always in human-hands when individuals succumb to the forces of the universe that are destructive. They have given-up.
Alright, so maybe this wasn't a great adaption of his short story, the Last Illusion, but it was one hell of a ride. The special effects aren't overdone, the acting was up to par, and the direction was marvelous. This movie is so gritty, its tone is perfect. Bakula may have been a bit too emotionless in a scene or two, but overall he was wonderful as the detective who gets caught up in the trickery, and the evil. There is also one or two funny moments, very very well placed. Of course, to fully appreciate the movie, you must watch the directors cut, with a couple extra scenes, that <more>
actually add a lot to the plotline, and the surreality of it all. Great stuff Clive!
Worth a watch just for its interesting take on the subject matter (by ersinkdotcom)
For someone who claims to be an atheist, Clive Barker sure does delve into the afterlife and spiritual realm a whole lot. From "Nightbreed" to "Hellraiser," the author / director seems to have an obsession with what's to come once we shuffle off this mortal coil. Private Detective Harry D'Amour Scott Bakula is caught up investigating the deaths of several reformed cult members. As he digs deeper for one of the victims' widows Famke Janssen , he is exposed to the dangerous worlds of illusions and magic. D'Amour soon learns that illusions are trickery, but <more>
magic is very real and very deadly.The Director's Cut is unrated and with good reason. There's loads of violence and gore, nudity, language, sexuality, and adult situations. Not only are we exposed to female nudity, we get full frontal male nudity as well. Some of it is shrouded in shadows, but still visible. "Lord of Illusions" reminds us all of what a great blend of noir and horror Clive Barker's film is. It does an excellent job of showing us what can happen if we become obsessed with attaining power and forbidden knowledge through the occult. Even though he might not fully believe in it, Barker teaches us that playing with magic and supernatural forces can only do harm. You might not want to own it, but it's worth a watch just for its interesting take on the subject matter.
Like Stephen King, it seems to me Clive Barker does not seem to have much luck with movies. Rawhead Rex and Transmutations also known as Underground turned out wretched. Even when Barker directs his own films the results can be mixed--Night Breed is only a mediocre movie at best, although much of this is to be blamed on poor editing. Lord of Illusions was then a pleasant surprise for me. Here is an entertaining movie that captures the spirit of Clive Barker's literary works on film. There is violence, gore, depravity, and the mounting terror that one usually finds in Barker's works. <more>
My only complaint with the film is that some of the characters, other than Harry D'Amour, are not fully developed. Dorothea in particular seems rather 2 dimensional--she is there simply as the standard film noir heroine. Anyhow, except for the first two Hellraiser films, Lord of Illusions is Barker at his best.
A film I like alot -- and dislike. (by lambiepie-2)
I like a great deal of this film although some parts of it drag and are unnecessary. The casting is fine for everyone...those actors and actresses known and unknown at the time. I liked the constant good and evil conflicts of within for the Detective, Harry -- the Magician, Swann -- and the Girl, Dorthea. The film contains good effects, nice scenes with Swanns shows and of course..some gore. Best of all in "Lord of Illusions", I love the character and story development of the magician Swann as a big time Celebrity, the inner workings of those in that industry, and his relationship <more>
or lack there of with the Girl, Dorthea. But there is something about Daniel von Bargen who plays Nix in this film that makes me cringe...and is seductive at the same time..all traits of Clive Barker and his work.Another trait seems to be Clive's problem with "a superior being" and what that entails, case in point, Nix's cultests and when Nix is finally restored, how he treats them for waiting for his return. A conflict that runs throughout all of Clive's work film, book, short story or otherwise.This is an 'all right' feature, again many slow/confusing moments, no real sexual chemistry between Dorthea and Harry or Dorthea and Swann...but the story has a strong presence. You do want to know what happens to a few characters and that makes you want to look at this film more than once beyond the "special effects" and gore. Eventually you may become like me after viewing the film and become a "couch editor" thinking, "Well, if that part was cut out and this part was here than there..then this film would rock!!"
Underrated Film. Clive Barker is a true visionary in the field of horror (by tonyband)
Now I've been a Clive Barker fan for years. Whether its his writing, directing, or painting I think he is quite brilliant."Lord Of Illusions" is an example of his brilliance. Great enriched storytelling about the ideologies within the story about death and the difference between magic and illusion.Bakula surprisingly is able to carry this film on his back but its the cult favorite Kevin J O Connor that pulled me in most of the time.Famke jansen of xmen fame is stunning to look at has a real film noir quality. Very erotic.Clive Barker is a true visionary in the field of horror, <more>
perhaps too much so for his own good. Studios meddling may have compromised his theatrical films, but thankfully all the necessary footage to restore his visions have beem saved. "Lord of Illusions" may be the most flawed of the three pictures he made, but it's still an unconventional film. It holds up very well upon repeat viewings.
Earlier this year, 2015, actor Daniel von Bargen died. He was only 64. While I had seen many of his movies and some TV roles, I had never seen this movie, "Lord of Illusions." An IMDb member recommended that I see it. So I found a nice used DVD of the movie and now own it.The title and references in the movie distinguish between "magic" that is performed with illusions and "magic" that is real, perhaps black magic of the evil spirits or the devil. It centers on a cult in the desert and the movie opens with scenes representing 1982. The cult leader is Daniel von <more>
Bargen as Dix, and it is clear that the magic he performs are not illusions. He is shot and killed by a young girl.Forward to 13 years later, 1995 which is the release year of this movie, and a detective stumbles upon some old evidence and a magician who was part of that cult 13 years earlier. The girl has grown up into a beautiful woman, being hunted by evil members of the old cult. My only reason for getting this movie was to see von Bargen's performance, and it is a very good one. In fact now it would be hard to imagine anyone else in that role. I knew him in college, we were students at Purdue, and we were in a 4-week, 28-performance student musical in 1969. It is both extremely fun and extremely sad to see him on screen, knowing that he is already gone.SPOILERS: In 1995 they found someone who could tell where Dix had been buried, and dug him up. He became "re-animated", of course still evil and uttering the words "I was born to murder the world." But in a series of events he was propelled down a deep shaft into what looks like molten lava and apparently destroyed. But who really knows? As the director comments in the DVD's selectable director's commentary. Good horror movie.