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Lord of Illusions

4.1 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From best-selling author and celebrated director Clive Barker comes a supernatural thriller that rips apart the boundaries between sanity and madness, between the art of illusion and the terrifying forces of magic. With heart-stopping suspense, masterful visual effects (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times) and non-stop terror, it's a riveting journey into the shadowy corners of the human soul. Scott Bakula ( Quantum Leap ) portrays Harry D Amour, a private detective visiting Los Angeles ona routine investigation. Harry gets more than he bargains for when he encounters Philip Swann (Kevin J. O Connor), a performer whose amazing illusions captivate the world. But are they really illusions? Harry isn't so sure as he is thrust into a nightmare of murder, deception and terrifying assaults from the dark beyond.

Special Features

  • Never before seen footage
  • Introductory letter by 'Clive Barker'
  • 8-page booklet featuring trivia, production notes and a revealing look behind the scenes

Product Details

  • Actors: Scott Bakula, Kevin J. O'Connor, Joseph Latimore, Sheila Tousey, Susan Traylor
  • Directors: Clive Barker
  • Writers: Clive Barker
  • Producers: Clive Barker, Anna C. Miller, JoAnne Sellar, Sigurjon Sighvatsson, Steve Golin
  • Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: September 29, 1998
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792839706
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,317 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lord of Illusions" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By N. Durham HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 29, 2002
Format: DVD
Based on his short story "The Last Illusion", Clive Barker helmed this adaption entitled Lord of Illusions, and offers up a good amount of shocks, scares, gore, and a near excellent plot; a combination that made one of Barker's previous films, the original and classic Hellraiser, such a great horror film. Scott Bakula (TV's Quantum Leap, now he's famous for TV's Enterprise) stars as private detective Harry D'amour, and he gets involved with a bizarre case involving a magician (Kevin J. O'Connor) who years before had killed prophet and mentor Nix (played to perfection by Daniel Von Bargen). However, Nix has seemingly been resurrected, and he and his followers have plans on the destruction of the world. Just about everything about Lord of Illusions is great: the visual effects and Barker's direction and storytelling are great, but there are some plot holes and now and then some crummy acting (courtesy of the beautiful Famke Janssen), but for the most part Lord of Illusions is a great horror film from one of the great masters of horror. The film has gained quite a cult following over the years, and MGM realized this and packed the DVD with some great extras including a commentary by Barker, an isolated music score (most of the music is absolutely creepy and sets a perfect tone), and some never before seen scenes as well.
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Format: DVD
Unlike many authors who show up in the horror section of the local bookstore, Clive Barker has always stood out as one of the few who is willing to step aside from the mainstream and experiment with the limits of horror. He understands that there is an architecture and symbolism to horror the must be there if the tale is to rise above the modern gore-fest. "Lord of Illusions' is a case in point.
Using the character of Harry D'Amour (Scott Bakula), a slightly run down, hard-boiled, compulsively heroic private investigator, Barker turns his eye to the thin line between illusion and magic. D'Amour, who is no stranger to the touch of evil, finds himself witness to the torture and death of a fortuneteller and as a result is hired by Dorothea Swann (Famke Janssen) to look into a set of eerie circumstances involving her husband Phillip (Kevin O'Conner) who is a world famous illusionist.
Just as Harry starts his investigation, Phillip Swann is killed horrifically in the middle of his act. Determined to follow through on his commitment to Dorothea the detective digs and discovers that he is surrounded by ghosts and shadows, full of false realities and illusions that can kill. At the heart is a Nix (Daniel Von Bergen), a cult leader and mage once killed by Phillip and now somehow working his way back into reality.
Barker works the story in layers, using apparent illusions to step from one world into another. Nothing is quite what it seems, other than the ultimate nature of evil. Some of Barker's manipulation is blatant (his heavy use of cruciform and tarot images), at other times, it is the subtle repetition of a rune. The story is unnerving in its progress and eventually our imagination is even worse than what the film presents.
Technically, the film is excellent.
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2 Comments 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
I really enjoyed this film. I have been wanting to purchase it for sometime and I am very glad that I finally did. It is full of suspense and has alot of plot twists in the movie as well. I did watch the special features section of "deleted scenes" and felt that there were some deleted scenes that should have stayed in the final cut of this movie. Scott Bakula was a very strong actor in this movie as well as everyone else. I highly recommend this movie for anyone that likes a "classic" horror film.
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Format: DVD
Lord of Illusions: The Director's Cut (Clive Barker, 1995)

I am, it seems, one of Lord of Illusions' relatively few fans; I'm certainly the only media critic I know, self-described or otherwise, who lists it among the hundred best movies ever made. Somehow, though, I never got around to seeing the new director's cut of the movie until recently. I actually didn't think it was all that different despite being eleven minutes longer than the theatrical cut, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Some director's cuts destroy the original movie...

Lord of Illusions, adapted by Barker from his own story "The Last Illusion" (though it's an "adaptation", really, in the way Tobe Hooper's adaptation of 'Salem's Lot is similar to King's), is the story (one of the stories, anyway), of private investigator Harry D'Amour (Quantum Leap's Scott Bakula), who Barker fans will know from the Books of the Art. While working on a seemingly unrelated case, he finds himself tangled up in the suspicious death of Philip Swann (There Will Be Blood's Kevin J. O'Connor), an illusionist of the David Copperfield variety, performing elaborate tricks in the midst of a Vegas-style stage show. When a new trick goes wrong, Swann's wife, Dorothea (100 Feet's Famke Janssen) hires D'Amour to find out what happened. D'Amour quickly discovers that Swann is only the tip of an iceberg, and that before he's through, he will know all too well the difference between illusion and magic.
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