Just the Features: Lord of Illusions: Collector's Edition (Scream Factory) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots

2-Disc Blu-ray

Released by: Shout! Factory

Release Date: Aug. 25st, 1995 (Theatrical)
                       Dec. 16th, 2014 (Blu-ray)

Region Code: A (locked)

Run Time: 1h 49m (Theatrical)
                  2h 2m (Director's Cut)

Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
           English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 

Video: 1080p (1.85:1 Aspect Ratio)

Dorothea: What ARE you?
Nix: A man who wanted to become a god... then changed his mind.

THE FEATURES: [3.5 out of 4]

Disc #1: Theatrical Version (1h 48m, HD)

Theatrical Trailer (Red Band) (2m 39s, SD)

Disc #2: Director’s Cut (2h 1m, HD)

Note From Barker (1m 56s. HD)
Text  from Barker about the character of Harry D’Amour, a character that Barker has created and loves writing.

Commentary with Clive Barker
Barker is a great commentator. He clearly loves the film and speaks affectionately about the cast. He calls Bakula the “perfect D’Amour” and talks at great length about the production and the differences between the theatrical and Director’s Cut versions of the film. This is a great listen that any Barker fan will appreciate.

A Gathering of Magic (17m 52s, SD)
A vintage look behind the scenes with interviews with Barker, Jensen, and Bargen. Nothing more than that.
Original Behind the Scenes Footage (1h 1m, HD) This is a proper making of. We get a lot of “fly on the wall” looks at various scenes being filmed. This is intercut with interviews from the main cast as well as a lengthy interview with Barker. I thought that this was going to be a disposable EPK-type package but it contains so much more. Very nicely done.

Deleted Scenes with Commentary from Barker (3m 21s, HD)
There is a text screen before the scenes begin telling us that the scenes don’t have a final mix track. It doesn’t matter though, as we can’t watch the scenes without the commentary anyway. Nothing much to see hear, although it is always good to hear Barker’s thoughts about everything pertaining to his work.

Interview with Storyboard Artist Martin Mercer (11m 55s, HD)
This is a very nice interview as we get stories of what it was like working with Barker. We also get to 
see some of the amazing storyboards created for the film.

Photo Gallery (15m 53s, SD)
Montage of photos that plays with the score to the film. Worth it for the score alone.

THE PACKAGING: [3 out of 4]

This release from Scream Factory felt like it was just thrown out right before Christmas in order to get some holiday sales. That being said, this is a nice release. The discs come housed in a two disc case that contains the new and original artwork on the discs. The sleeve is doubled sided: one side for the new artwork and the other for the theatrical poster. The slipcover that comes with the release contains the new artwork, which is nice. Both discs are blu-rays and the release is region locked “A”

THE FILM: [3 out of 4]

Lord of Illusions is the last film that Clive Barker has directed. It is a shame because he displays a firm command over his camera. The film is a film noir mixed with some horror elements and they work for the most part. The film noir aspect of the film is interesting as we see D’Amour investigating the murder of a famous illusionist at the hands of his own illusion. We watch as D’Amour gets in over his head but keeps on investigating as a good film noir detective would do.

The film also has a dreadful tone to it. That is not to say that the film is bad. What I am trying to say is that there is feel to the film that something dreadful is coming and Barker is able to keep that up for the entire film. That is an impressive feat considering that the film has some much else going on. I always felt like I was on the edge of my seat even when the scene in question was a dialogue scene.
Scott Bakula is fantastic as Harry D’Amour, the private detective who will not take “no” for an answer. Bakula was coming off of the red hot Quantum Leap and wanted to get into films, but after the failure of the this film at the box office, that was not going to happen.

Kevin J. O’Connor, who is a really nice person in real life, plays Swann as a man whose past will not leave him alone. At the beginning of the film Swann puts a cult leader by the of Nix into a prison of sorts and believes that he has killed him. He is wrong, however, and this eats at him for throughout the film.

Daniel von Bargen plays Nix and is only in the beginning and end of the film, but does so much with the character that he leaves a lasting impression on the audience. Bargen died in March of 2015 and was a big loss to a lot of people. He made an impression whenever he was on screen and, when playing a villain, was so menacing that he would be the stand out of the film. You can not take Bargen away from Lord of Illusions as he is a very important key to the film’s success.

This was Famke Jenssen’s big screen debut and I always found her to be kind of one note. She doesn’t really have much range and what she does do, she doesn’t do that well. I think that Barker chose her for her noir look more than for her acting abilities. Every film that she is in she is pretty bad.

Lord of Illusions is a good film. There is a scene that contains some really bad CGI that stands out, but the rest of the film is engaging and entertaining. The acting is good, the effects are good, and the sense of dread is terrifying. I don’t recommend this film to everyone, but the ones that I have really liked it. I wish that Barker had kept on directing but his writing and painting were more important and we might have missed out of something had he kept directing.

OVERALL: [3 out of 4]

I like this release from Scream Factory, but felt that they could have done more with it. All of the features except for the interview with the storyboard artist are taken from other releases. It would have been nice to hear Barker’s current thoughts on the film now that the film is over twenty years old. They could have gotten Bakula or O’Connor to sit down for an interview. There is just some failed opportunity when it comes to this release.

I like the film a lot and the blu-ray release is not bad, in fact it is pretty good, but it could have been better. It is a shame that this is the only Barker directed film to not get the royal treatment, even though it is part of Scream’s Collector’s Edition line. I do recommend this blu-ray release.

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