Lord of Illusions - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Lord of Illusions Reviews

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½ January 15, 2017
This has been a favorite of mine since it was first released, in spite of the flaws that I know are in there, like the barely passable at the time CGI stuff. I really love the Noir/detective/supernatural mash-up, and for the longest time this felt as close as we'd ever get to a Hellblazer movie.

Still a fun watch for the forgiving audience who can love it warts and all.

½ July 20, 2016
An interesting thriller.A mix of film noir with horror and illusionism in the plot...
½ June 19, 2016
Una de esas obras olvidadas del terror y de la mano de una de las figuras más interesantes del género: Clive Barker.

El señor de las Ilusiones tiene muchos problemas, pero sin embargo tiene un encanto especial gracias a Scott Bacula y su interpretación, a ese uso del film noir decadente del oeste americano, y a una mitología propia que es única y fresca.

De obligada visión para los fans de Barker.
Super Reviewer
October 14, 2015
Prophesied by Stephen King to be the new savant of horror, novelist Clive Barker doesn't laxly embark on big-screen descents. For Barker, the scariest concept is the mundane depravity of people via occult influences ala Candyman and Hellraiser. To that extent, the disciples of Nix "The Puritan" (Daniel Von Bargen) are the most frightening components as they skin human and animal carcasses in a hypnotized daze of worship. It could be contended that Lord of Illusions is his most ambitious with its emphasis on FX-augmented black magic and Phillip Marlowe film noir. With a five-o'clock shadow and Budweiser-gulping, self-loathing style, Scott Bakula is a chiseled 50's detective but he is too passive to be the grizzled hero. Barker can conjure phantasmagorical visuals that seep into the subconscious (ex. A fortune teller with scalpel acupuncture through his midsection and hourglass sand pouring through a body.). The most dastardly of which is Swan's (Kevin J. O'Connor) macerating death on stage in front of a packed auditorium from falling swords on a rotating chandelier. Bargen, in his resurrected form, is chilling with the piebald outline of an iron-maiden mask around his face and his pineal gland throbbing on his forehead. His voice is now a baritone rumble as he preaches about "wisdom from beyond the grave". Most hocus-pocus flicks err on needless gore but Barker is too thought-provoking for such a fate. He intelligently asks whether the messiahs utilized trickery for their miracles and if demonic spirits are responsible for true acts of mysticism. The special effects are not faultless. For instance, a holographic security guard and triangular origami are too artificial and rudimentary in a post-1995 world. But the gooey reanimation of Nix is a symphony of pulsating ectoplasm like Frank in Hellraiser. Mindless sycophancy is a spine-tingling area to explore and Barker really taps into the terror of a group of brainwashed lamb under the spell of a supernatural deity. In his repertoire, Lord of Illusion is Barker's operatic sorcery opus.
May 12, 2015
Another one of Clive Barker's self-indulgent, overlong freak shows.
½ April 24, 2015
Drawn out ill conceived thriller that loses it's viewers in the first half hour.
½ April 16, 2015
I didn't really "get it"
½ March 10, 2015
Lord of Illusions has a great premise and absolutely wonderful special effects, but the plot unfolds rather ridiculously. I think if the main villain's motivations and origins had been explored in depth, a good movie could have become great. As it stands, the viewer is left with a lot of questions, and the climax at the end just comes off stupid rather than sinister. However, because of the quality and imagination of the visuals, I can't help but like the final product.
February 15, 2015
This movie has held up pretty good over the years. It is a nice mix of police noir and horror movie from Clive Barker.
Scott Bakula was a good choice for the lead and Famke Janssen, in her first major role, looked excellent.
The visuals don't all hold up as well but for the most part it still looks really good.
The director's cut helped make the story clearer over the theatrical cut.
January 17, 2015
Lord of Illusions is fascinating and visually stunning. Its very trippy and grotesque but that's what Clive Barker does best.
½ January 16, 2015
A bizarre, yet pretty creepy horror movie. Some of the special effects look dated, but now 20 years later a lot of them still look great.
½ January 6, 2015
As of this writing, Lord of Illusions is the final film from director Clive Barker. A lot of variables have gone into that, the main one being that his films were meddled with and treated poorly by the studios that funded and released them (save for Hellraiser, of course). For a man who has distinguished himself as such a unique writer and visualist, and had such an impact on not just horror films, but graphic design as well, it's astonishing that he only made three movies: Hellraiser, Nightbreed, and Lord of Illusions. The real shame of Clive Barker's relationship with movie studios is that he never truly blossomed as a filmmaker. He never got to make those all important mistakes, learning from them and making better movies. He had to, instead, settle on changes to his movies that he deemed unnecessary and detrimental to the work, especially on Nightbreed. Lord of Illusions, while not quite as tinkered with, also suffered some of this fate. Unlike Nightbreed, however, it was allowed to be released separately on home video (laserdisc) as Barker's director's cut of the film. It was a welcome treat, especially for fans. The story of Lord of Illusions is based on the noir-ish character of D'Amore, a character that Barker had created and written about before and since in both short story form and novel form. As far as the two versions of the movie go, my feeling about them is very much similar. I find them visually stimulating, but they lack any real dramatic punch or overly interesting characters and situations. Neither version really grab me as something unique like Hellraiser did when I first saw it. Not just that though, but the story doesn't really have an interesting place to go once the characters are in place with proper motivations. So the movie itself is simply ok, at least to me. Still, I'll take anything Clive Barker does over most of the horror films being released today. There's a real passion and genuine interest to Barker's work, as well as an attempt to create something different. This film doesn't quite manage pull that off, but it's an interesting film overall.
January 1, 2015
Watching the directors cut with the old lady on new years. Not to shabby. Sucks that we lost Barker as a filmmaker after this one...
½ September 19, 2014
The tone was alright jumping from horror to film noir, it was unique and not bad, but it just didn't feel right. The acting was weak, or at least the characters were. The main idea of magic vs illusion was a good one; interesting and unique. However, the movie was too campy (or not campy enough).
½ September 5, 2014
At the end you saw nothing, you gained nothing but you aught to have wasted your precise time.
½ August 18, 2014
Quite a good time waster with a ton of visual panache, especially for 1995. Lord of Illusions features a great script that starts as a detective story but isn't afraid to step outside the confines of the classic plot progression. Bakula's detective is haunted, Famke Janssen's dame to kill for is surprisingly multifaceted and Kevin J. O'Connor's magician is even more haunted than the detective. But it's the villains that make it a Barker piece and the villains are fantastic, especially Daniel von Bargen as the satanic cult leader that is the ultimate antagonist. Also to note that like in many of Barker's movies there is a strong current of homoeroticism going through the entire movie, something dare i say it, refreshing in today's standard hero gets girl/ monsters and bewbs cinema climate.

All in all, Lord of Illusions is a good, marginally scary but entertaining story with Barker's fingerprints all over. Worth a watch.
July 16, 2014
Lord of Illusions - horror film written and directed by Clive Barker. It is based on the short story called 'The Last Illusion'. Starring Scott Bakula, Famke Janssen, Kevi J. O'Connor.

Film is about a magician cult-leader 'Nix' in the desert, who is rounded up by his former members led by 'Swann' for kidnapping a teenage girl for sacrifice. He's caught and buried deep under so that his body should never be found. 13 years later, the girl now adult 'Dorothea' (Famke) has married Swann - who's himself become a popular stage-illusionist in Los Angeles. But their fear still lives on - what if Nix crawls out of the grave?

After mysterious death of colleague of Swann - he feels suspicious about the circumstances under which he was killed. Swann hires the New York based private-investigator D'Amour (Bakula) to investigate the murder. D'Amour has strong interest in subject of 'cult', and often he suffers from demonic illusions and exorcism that he once witnessed. On a stage-show where Dorothea and D'Amour also join Swann dare to attempt an impossible illusion, in which he dies before their eyes. D'Amour's swift and thorough investigation unlocks the dark mystery in the magician world.

I remember this film (but not its title then) from 1996 - shown by my elder brother. The only scene that I remember of this film was the onstage horrific death scene of 'Swann'. Actors are average with respect to their acting style, which not to be considered amateurish at all. Barker uses fair use of music-composition as well as photography to increase scare-factor. Due to mediocre budget the film carries undeveloped 'special-effects' - nevertheless these scenes were attentively chosen.
½ April 22, 2014
I'm a huge Clive Barker fan, both his books and films, and this film had me from the opening lines, "There are two World of magic. One is the glittering domain of the illusionist. the other is a secret place, where magic is a terrifying reality. Here, men have the power of demons. And Death itself is an illusion." I haven't read the novella this film is based upon,but the story here involved private detective and supernaturalist Scott Bakula investigating a missing magician and his ties to a dead cult leader. I love all three of Barker's films as a director; "Hellraiser," "Nightbreed" and this film, "Lords of Illusion," which is by far my favorite of the three. Not that the others aren't terrific in their own right, but this film inhabited a larger and richer universe than the others and I'm also a sucker for the film's noir elements. I also love that Bakula's character, Harry D'Amour, has a history that's not fully explained and seems shrouded in mystery. Even his previous case where a colleague glibly asks, "Was that kid really processed?" and D'Amour simply replied, "probably," though the exchange is intercut with terrifying scenes from the possession, with a horrible creature clutching a small child and reaching out for D'Amour. It's that sort of hints of a larger world of magic and the supernatural that make this film so rich. My only complaint about the film is that the finale seemed to be a bit of a letdown, coming down to a rather small scale battle of magic in an old cult compound. The build up to the battle is great, but the battle itself was kind of corny, mostly I think due to some surprisingly weak special effects that kind of took me out of the film, which is surprising since most of the special effects in the film were quite good. As it was written, the ending is fine, but the execution disappointed me. Despite that, it's a hell of a horror film. There's a great cast besides Bakula, including Kevin J. O'Connor, Famke Janssen in a very early role, Vincent Schiavelli, and Daniel von Bargen as the scary cult leader Nix. There's also a very good score by composer Simon Boswell. Overall, this is a terrific horror film and is a must see for fans of the genre.
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