Remember when I reviewed that Clive Barker novel? You should. It wasn't that long ago. Jesus. Maybe you found this page just now via Google. In which case, I apologize for the chutzpah and self-importance, even though I am REALLY important. Remember when I reviewed 1995's Lord of Illusions? Trick question! Antiemetics are never used to prevent post-partum hemorrhaging, you fucking idiot. Anyway, I have owned the director's cut of this flick on VHS for years. It was pretty easy to find in the latter stages of the video store era (somewhere in between the Pleistocene epoch and 2003). Yesterday, I decided that it would take too long to find the goddamn thing in my closet, so a friend and I watched the R-rated version instead. I like to point out that I have friends.
There are ten minutes missing from the oh-so-Restricted rendering we watched, but having seen the uncircumcised variant, I'm confident enough in my recall ability to say that this is a review of Barker's cut. And I can't stop thinking about cocks. Dicks. Members. 'Member? Berries. Twigs. Trunks. Packages. Purple-vein monster rods. Shit! Start the synopsis already. As I'm sure you could guess, Lord of Illusions centers around the cryptic world of magic(k). Private eye Harry D'Amour casually staggers into a horror movie already in progress. He winds up with a front row seat to the tragic accidental death of a popular magician (imagine an ostentatious Vegas act, only classier). Was it staged? If so, by whom? Is it connected to a ghastly cult? Where is my cock, and is it tied to the trigger of an airsoft gun?
This was Barker's third and final directorial outing, discounting shorts. In my estimation, it remains his best. I realize what I'm saying. Hellraiser is a modern classic, and I'm not suggesting that it's an easy call to make, but I favor Lord of Illusions by a mite of chicken feed. They are both flawed. As for Nightbreed, I was never much of a fan. Getting back to Monarch of Soothsaying, it has held up remarkably well. You might sneer, "Big deal. It's from the mid-90's." Firstly, fuck you. Secondly, you're forgetting that this is an effects-heavy genre film. It could have been riddled with deformed CGI, but that mess is contained to a single awkward scene. The rest? A proliferation of practical gore and a few instances of good (!) CGI. The make-up is fantastic throughout (love the part where Nix's proselytes sink into the floor).
By the way, Daniel von Bargen is seriously creepy as Nix, a cult leader "born to murder this world." I was saddened to learn that he passed away last year from complications following an apparent suicide attempt. Segue? When I read The Scarlet Gospels, I saw Scott Bakula in my mind's eye as D'Amour, so that should fill you in on the validity of his performance. Famke Janssen is hot. I don't mean to objectify her, but Dorothea (her character) isn't explored in a meaningful way. That brings me to a problem I have with the script. The love angle between Harry and Dorothea is so perfunctory, it feels like a studio note. In that same vein, the ending doesn't want to end. I can picture an executive stonewalling his case that the villain needs to come back several times. "It will be scary!"
You can bet that the best chunks of Lord of Illusions reek of Clive Barker. It may not be quite as Barker-y as Hellraiser, but again, I prefer it by a cunt hair (I tried not to use that apophthegm* earlier, but hey, Steve Austin uses it). Even in 2016, it tells a fresh story. How many other fright flicks operate within the shrouded realm of professional magic? Plus, it's paced well. I'm a stickler for pacing. I always bring it up, even at dinner. Even in 2016, I bring up pacing. How many other crippled writers operate within the shrouded realm of cock-and-ball torture? Damn it! Cocks! They're everywhere! Ahem. I enjoy Lord of Illusions, and if I were propositioned with a rating scale of five Z'Dars, I would award it with...cocks. Fuck!
*I doubt that I used that term correctly.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:22 PM