321) Lord of Illusions (1995) Dir: Clive Barker Date Released: August 25, 1995 Date Seen: October 20, 2012 Rating: 2/5
I'm beginning to think Nightbreed was a mirage. It's the rare movie that convinced me I should be reading Clive Barker's novels and short stories. Granted, Barker's not exactly had an easy time making movies. But while I kinda like Midnight Meat Train, Lord of Illusions is everything I've come to expect from Barker--based on his movies.* Lord sounds like tons o'fun on paper. It's got an amiable, Carny Fantastique atmosphere, Vincent Schiavelli vamping it up, Daniel von Bargen as a baddy, and Scott Bakula as a private detective. Sounds fun, yeah? Unfortunately, Barker blusters his way through all of the little climaxes that build toward the film's big finale. He's got some skill when it comes to rising tension, though the film's last thirty minutes sorely lack that, too. But that's the thing: Barker doesn't do overkill very well. Watching a guy get sworded to death in a magic act gone bad (it's, like, the tarot or somethin'?) is only so much fun, guys. And yes, we get it, Mr. Barker, you've seen Black Sunday and you LOVE it, hence the first scene's ludicrous, screw-on Iron Maiden-type mask. I want to be a Barker believer (Barker boy?), but even I have my limits.
*I started reading The Hellbound Heart, but stopped soon thereafter because I was reading it to my girlfriend, and shut up, stop laughing, I can hear you through the internet.