Tag: Clive Barker

January 24, 2017 / / Main Slate Archive

Lord of Illusions plays out like Clive Barker’s take on film noir, introducing us to wealthy and notorious stage illusionist Philip Swann (Kevin J. O’Connor): a Criss Angel performer who can float and juggle fire without batting an eye. Swann’s wife Dorothea (Famke Janssen), our film’s femme fatale, requests the presence of hard-boiled private eye Harry D’Amour (Scott Bakula) after a fellow illusionist is murdered by Butterfield (Barry Del Sherman), an occult-leader’s disciple. After a fatal accident involving Swann’s newest illusion, Harry and Dorothea become entangled in a case that fears the return of Swann’s supposedly dead mentor, Nix (Daniel Von Bargen), a man now known as ‘The Puritan’.


In the 1980s, fantasy films would often either take a decidedly kid-friendly route – WILLOW, THE DARK CRYSTAL – or a more sleazy, action-oriented one – EXCALIBUR, THE BEASTMASTER – but seldom did fantasy merge with horror. This may not have been a result of lack of trying though; horror luminary Lucio Fulci tried his hand with the gory sorcery epic CONQUEST, Neil Jordan attempted to make the fairy tale terrifying with THE COMPANY OF WOLVES and Tim Burton injected plenty of horror imagery in his family targeted BEETLEJUICE, but something was still missing. Following his screenplays for UNDERWORLD and RAWHEAD REX, novelist Clive Barker would write and direct HELLRAISER based on his own novella and, finally, horror and fantasy would merge in ways both sinister and really, really messy.