[Voice Of Horror] Clive Barker’s ‘Lord Of Illusions’

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A few days ago I sat down and rewatched Clive Barker’s Lord Of Illusions, a film that I feel doesn’t get enough credit with many horror fans. I was first interested in this movie when I saw the poster for it at my local movie theater. Something about that image enticed me and it was always on my mind. When I was old enough, I rented the VHS and sat down to watch this supernatural-horror-meets-film-noir that I’d been eager to see for years. Much to my chagrin, it was awful. Full of plot holes and jarring edits, it was a mess of a film. Being a big Clive Barker fan, I was crushed.

A few years later I decided to give the film another shot, thinking that I had been too harsh the first time around. What I didn’t realize was that this time I had rented the Director’s Cut, not the theatrical version that I had previously seen. Suddenly, the film made sense and everything clicked. Again, while not a perfect piece of cinema, it became a much stronger, far more cohesive experience that allows it to hold up to multiple, very enjoyable viewings.

Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of the film is Simon Boswell’s engaging, unique, and beautiful score. Boswell also composed for such films as Phenomena, Bathory: Countess Of Blood, Demons 2, among others. It’s one of those scores that sticks in your mind, much like A Nightmare On Elm St. or The Exorcist.

Boswell deftly mixed terrifying, demonic choirs (such as in “Resurrection” and “God’s Eyes”), sexy jazz horns (“The Detective”), and surreal, ambient pieces (“What Are You Looking At”) as well as thrilling cues that were meant to evoke the experience of attending a magic show (“Flesh Is A Trap”, “Swann’s Last Act”). The combination of these themes and motifs makes Boswell’s score something of a journey. It is easy to join Harry D’Amour (Scott Bakula) as he tries to understand the connection between Phillip Swann (Kevin J. O’Connor) and Nix (Daniel von Bargen), all while trying to protect the beautiful Dorthea (Famke Janssen).

Boswell’s score, to this day, remains one of my favorite horror soundtracks.

Got any thoughts/questions/concerns for Jonathan Barkan? Shoot him a message on Twitter or on Bloody-Disgusting!

 
  • Nothing333

    An under appreciated gem in my opinion. It’s an original genre work that we hardly ever see today. The soundtrack is great as well. Clive Barker directed and related films always seem to excel in the soundtrack dept, my favourite being Hellbound: Hellraiser 2.

  • SuperKilla

    Great film. I always thought this film was underrated too. The acting was ok but great gore, great story, some magic, but people were not ready for this film in 1995.

  • divisionbell

    I always enjoyed this movie back when it came out. Haven’t seen it in ages but it’s probably time I did. I didn’t realize there was a director’s cut so I’m gonna have to check it out. Thanks!

  • dirtyghettok

    Great pick. I remember not being able to much Quantum Leap as a kid after watching this. This one to me is like Aliens. Still rewatchable and better then alot of movies out today.

  • lucie-with-a-gun

    terrible ending.
    all that buildup of dread and then barker just flushes.