At one time during the nineties, directors tried to recreate the film noir style. David Lynch, Alex Proyas, and Clive Barker are the directors that come to mind right off of the bat. They did such good work and helped usher in neo noir.
Lord of Illusions is based on one of Clive Barkers stories from The Books of Blood, The Last Illusion. This story follows detective Harry D'Amore (Scott Bakula) as he is following the case of a cult created by illusionists Nix and Swan. D'Amore gets mixed up in a world of lust, intrigue, murder, and magic. The cultists and Nix are pretty scary. However, the crude effects take you out of the movie at several occasions. This could actually benefit from a remake, but I don't think its gonna happen.
Barker does a great job of making this movie a "nod" to the noir films of yesteryear. The heavy shadows and Bakula's tough as nails detective really make for a fantastic combination. The added magic element makes for the right amount of fantasy to offset the real world situations. It does its job and creates a great deal of horror. The visuals are really fun. Cultists trapped in mud. Swan being impaled during one of his "tricks". They were all amazing, they just lacked the substance of really good effects.
Of all of Clive Barker's work, this one is my third favorite. It is not as good as Hellraiser or Nightbreed, but it is what it is. A Clive Barker psychological horror movie with deep spiritual and paranormal ties. The mix of pain and pleasure is a constant tugging force in his films and this movie is no exception. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that this is the best Scott Bakula movie.
I was born to murder the world.
- The tattoo on D'Amour's back was included only after Scott Bakula researched the character.
- There is a partially obscured inscription around the ceiling of the Magic Club's Library. In full, it reads "Magic is the oldest trick in the book".
- When D'Amour throws Nix down the hole at the end, you can see that the hole is not rock but burlap walled.