Lord of Illusions is an uneven yet admirable little supernatural-thriller-horror that Barker himself described as a cross between Chinatown and The Exorcist, and although in the end I wasn’t that enthralled, the director’s cut is still well worth checking out.
Lord of Illusions
Genre(s): Horror, Supernatural
Shout Factory | R/Unrated – 109 min. / 121 min. – $29.93 | December 16, 2014
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
Plot Outline: Harry D’Amour (SCOTT BAKULA) is a private detective visiting Los Angeles on a routine investigation. Harry gets more than he bargains for when he encounters Philip Swan (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.
Quick Hit Review: The director’s cut of Lord of Illusions is a mixture of camp, supernatural, horror and film noir and while it is uneven in its pacing, it is admittedly mildly entertaining with fine performances by Scott Bakula, Famke Janssen and even Daniel von Bargen (a.k.a. Kruger on “Seinfeld”).
Directed by horror legend Clive Barker, from his own story “The Last Illusion,” his Lord of Illusions gets his director’s cut in HD for the first time with, from my research, a different tone from the theatrical cut which the studio had hoped to be more worthy of the mainstream audiences (it grossed a mere $13.9M at the box office).
Admittedly, Lord of Illusions, and filmmaker Clive Barker himself, isn’t my cup of tea as I’m not much of a supernatural-horror fan outside of the obvious like The Exorcist, and although Barker’s director’s cut isn’t great, the film does have its moments and in spite of his limitations, Scott Bakula and Famke Janssen are good while both Kevin J. O’Connor and Daniel von Janssen both turn in fun and even somewhat disturbing performances.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.5/5
This release comes with a matted slip cover.
Theatrical Cut – For those who are fans of the 109-minute theatrical version, it gets its own disc with a 1080p HD transfer and DTS-HD MA 2.0 track.
Theatrical Trailer (2:39; SD)
Audio Commentary – Writer/Director Clive Barker provides an interesting and informative track outlining his director’s cut of the film, the differences while also giving anecdotal stories.
“A Gathering of Magic” Featurette (17:52; SD) has some interesting behind-the-scenes footage.
Original Behind-the-Scenes Footage (1:01:57; HD) is a scrapbook of footage and features some on-set interviews with various members of the cast and crew. For an old featurette, it’s quite extensive.
Deleted Scenes (3:21; HD) include a commentary with Clive Barker and were not used in either cut.
New Interview with Storyboard Artist Martin Mercer (11:55; HD) is, from what I can tell, the only new feature in this set, but is fairly interesting to watch, getting insights into the designs for the film.
Photo Gallery (15:53; HD) is set against Simon Boswell’s score and features poster artwork, lighting and production stills.
VIDEO – 5.0/5
Lord of Illusions takes the stage onto Blu-ray presented in the film’s original 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and sporting an all-new (for the director’s cut) 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture isn’t anything fantastic nor is it reference quality, but considering the film’s treatment over the years, it’s fairly impressive with minimal artifacts, pixilation, dust marks and scratches while colors are mostly bright without becoming oversaturated beyond the filmmakers’ intentions. Detail is alright especially for close-ups while anything in the background is a bit softer.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The director’s cut includes a solid 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which helps showcase Boswell’s supernatural-horror score while also providing for clear dialogue levels. The only downside is, the more action-oriented scenes come across a bit flat and mostly encompasses the center channel with mostly ambient noises coming through the rear speakers. Also included is the option for a 2.0 channel lossless track for those so inclined.
OVERALL – 3.25/5
Overall, Lord of Illusions is an uneven yet admirable little supernatural-thriller-horror that Barker himself described as a cross between Chinatown and The Exorcist, and although in the end I wasn’t that enthralled, the director’s cut is still well worth checking out. The 2-disc Blu-ray set has a good set of bonus materials and the video/audio transfers are both well done.