Thursday, 2 February 2012

Lord of Illusions (1995)

This was the last movie Clive Barker directed, which is unfortunate because the world needs all the Clive Barker it can get.  As a writer, he stands out for his originality and ability to write pure horror.  As a director, he's able to convey that on the screen.  For me, his concepts are ingenious.  Take Hellraiser for example.  Or Midnight Meat Train, which you could be forgiven for thinking it is merely what it appears to be.  Clive Barker is a treasure in the world of horror, and I for one am grateful for his existence.

Lord of Illusions is about a detective who stumbles across more than he bargained for while on a run of the mill, routine case, and is drawn into a Los Angeles underbelly of magic, mystic, sects and murder.  He discovers a side of magic much more sinister than mere illusions, and will soon find something even more evil is on its way.  The story begins with a magician named Nix being buried deep underground by his best apprentice but this isn't truly the end, is it?  It's an ambitious story, full of imagination, told violently and bloodily as a nightmare reality continue to unfold through a series of twists and turns.

Horror is often a genre which is only considered to be a work of genius by horror fans.  It's not often a horror movie is considered a genius work of art in the general population.  It's a genre that has more assumptions made about it than any other genre, and people do not consider how wide the spectrum of horror truly is.  Lord of Illusions is a movie I would recommend you show to anyone who ever dismisses horror as 'trash.'  It's a detective story, with elements of film noir as much as a horror film, and like any good detective story, you never know what to expect.  What makes it better than other detective stories is that it's much more fantastical, imaginative and interesting.  It's also a very well made film, which is impressive in it's own right as Barker is more of a writer and painter than he is a film director.

The scenery in this film is often bright and beautiful, which is a significant element due to the darkness of the content.  It really does give you a feel of  'what goes on beneath the surface?'   Furthermore, the acting is great and each cast member does their job selling their character to keep us engrossed in the story.  Scott Bakula is excellent as the lead Harry D'Amour, who for much of the film is carrying it along on his own.  Daniel Von Bargen is sinister as the evil Nix and the rest of the supporting cast as just as convincing in their roles.  If you like detective stories, then there's a great one here for you to wrap your head around, if you want horrifying images and gore then there's plenty of that and if you want an imaginative movie that stands out from the rest then I urge you to pick this one up.  If like me, all of these combined sounds perfect for you then watch it now and I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

From what I've heard this movie gets better with a revisit, so there's no telling how much I'll love it when I watch it again.  First time was a special experience.  It really has left an impression.

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