I first saw Lord of Illusions in the theaters when it was new, but it did not leave a long-lasting impression, so when the Director's Cut was put before my eyes, I watched it anew.
We have here a tale of "real" modern-day stage sorcerers set within the world of stage magic, & of a pending Satanic ritual to resurrect the worst of all sorcerers (Daniel Von Bargen being pretty darned creepy).
The first hour or so ain't awful, despite that Scott Bakula (as the psychic investigator) is quite simply a boring actor. Famke Janssen doesn't have enough to do, & the bad sorcerer vs good sorcerer shtick works only at intervals.
It's a bit slow but I do prefer a film that at least tries to build up to something. It's much too long & very likely the theatrical cut had better timing, but I saw the two versions too far apart in time to detect the differences.
Little bits of various sets are really well designed, having an elegant look that would've made this film a winner if only there'd been much of a story to go with the sets.
What passes for a climax is just busy-busy "& the kitchen-sink" stuff. The best sequence was at the beginning when the evil sorcer got nailed (or screwed). The second best sequence was the doomful magic act at mid-film. But the ending dragged it down into the standard-fare category where it strains to be bloody enough with so much happening at once the viewer is supposed to be tricked into not noticing how empty-headed & ridiculous it all is.
Bad as it is, it is even so better than the Hellraiser series & a great many people don't care that Hellraiser is piss-poor because all that matters if Pinhead is neato. The same audience might like Lord of Illusion since a good story wouldn't be what they're after.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl