Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Scream Factory - LORD OF ILLUSIONS on Blu-ray ""

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Scream Factory - LORD OF ILLUSIONS on Blu-ray

LORD OF ILLUSIONS (1995; Clive Barker)
Having recently gotten a nice healthy dose of the Clive Barker universe with Scream Factory's excellent NIGHT BREED Collector's edition Blu-ray, I was kind of primed to jump in again with this new disc from them and him. It was a different animal though in that I has seen NIGHT BREED when it came out (or thereabouts) so I had some memory of it, whereas with LORD OF ILLUSIONS I hadn't yet seen it and has nothing to go on. I take that back, I do vaguely recall it being a very big deal at the video store I worked at when LORD OF ILLUSIONS landed on VHS. I'm pretty sure we got like a bazillion (approximately) copies at that time and it rented pretty well for a while. So going in I knew very little other than that Scott Bakula was in it. I had been less than thrilled with his Star Trek excursion so I was skeptical. And I found the openjng sequence to be pretty cringe inducing for one reason or another so it wasn't looking good for this one, but I stuck it out. Bakula was fine ( though I obviously prefer him in a much lighter role   perhaps in the QUANTUM LEAP ballpark) and I enjoyed seeing Kevin J. O'Connor in a more prominent role than I had become accustomed to. Early Famke Jannsen is a lovely thing as well. All that said though, the thing that hooked me the most was seeing an L.A. based nourish detective story done through the Clive Barker lense. I mean, I love a good detective noir anyway, but it's always interesting to see it done with at least something of a different spin. Barker's darkly magical, ritualistic and bloody world functioned as a kind of post-modern landscape through which to experience the genre all over again. I mean, the movie is no BLADE RUNNER or CHINATOWN or anything, but as I said it has it's charms. When thinking of post-modernist detective movies involving magic, I immediately go to 1991's CAST A DEADLY SPELL with the great Fred Ward. I prefer that movie to this, but they both take distinctly different approaches. CAST A DEADLY SPELL does a lot if interesting world-building in terms of its magical milleu, whilst LORD OF ILLUSIONS does more to ground its magical fantasy in some sort of demented reality. Both are interesting ways to go. I enjoy both for different reasons. The parts of LORD that give me the most trouble have to do with the cult and cult leader that play a big part of the movie. It's not that those part are handled poorly, it is rather the fact that I personalky find cult related stuff in movies to be inherently stupid. I just personally find it all kind of laughable. This is not to say that I don't believe scenarios like that occur, but as far as how it plays out on screen for me - it rarely ever works in a way that doesn't end up taking me out of the movie. All that said, I do feel like Barker pulls off something interesting and unique in his attempts to combine noir with horror and the movie is certainly worth a look for those who've yet to see it.

Special Features:
This is a very nice Scream Factory Collector's Edition in terms of the extras. Not only are there two cuts of the film (Theatrical and Director's) included, but in addition to that:
-An Audio Commentary by director Clive Barker. This is a very informative track and comes recommended from me. Fans especially will enjoy.
-Original Behind the Scenes Footage (62 Mins) This making-of piece includes interviews with Clive Barker, Scott Bakula  and among others) at the time of the production. They call it a combination of CHINATOWN and THE EXORCIST which is interesting and totally makes sense in retrospect. It's a neat featurette that goes into a good deal of detail about how the movie was brought to the screen (special effects, acting). There's lots of Barker discussing his vision for the film, which is quite interesting especially because it's him circa 1995.
-"A Gathering of Magic" (18 mins) This is more of a standard EPK type thing with director and cast interviews and some footage of the movie being shot.
-"Drawing Boards with Martin Mercer" (12 mins) - Interview with Storyboard Artist Martin Mercer who discusses his working relationship with Clive Barker on the movie. Many of his original storyboards are featured here and there is even a drawing to screen comparison as well.
-Deleted Scenes (3 Mins) - these include optional commentary from Clive Barker.





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