Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Flawed Favorites...Lord of Illusions
Clive Barker wrote and directed Lord of Illusions, following one of his recurring characters Harry D'Amour. Barker describes the character as such, "I've traveled a long way with Harry D'Amour. He first appeared in a story I wrote almost a decade ago now, 'The Last Illusion'. Since then, I've recounted his life and troubled times in two novels and some short fiction. I've not made the road very easy for him. His destiny, it seems, is to be in constant struggle with what might be loosely called 'the forces of darkness', though he claims he'd be quite content investigating insurance fraud. His reluctance is, trust, part of his charm. He's not a Van Helsing, defiantly facing off against some implacable evil with faith and holy water. His antecedents are the troubled, weary and often lovelorn heroes of film noir - private detectives with an eye for a beautiful widow and an aversion to razors."
Mr. D'Amour first appeared in 1986's Volume Six of the Books of Blood in the short story, 'The Last Illusion.' Barker would use the character again in the short story 'Lost Souls,' and later in both The Great and Secret Show and Everville.
Lord of Illusions combining some of my favorite story/genre elements the film noir detective and a world of supernatural horror. While some my be off put by some of the enigmatic qualities of the movie, such as what's with Harry's weird back tattoo and the brief flashes to an exorcism case. I applaud Barker for allowing the character to retain a sense of mystery. The film has magic, illusionists, cults, a classically styled pulp detective, fortune tellers, a mysterious femme fatale, and supernatural horror. This film was made for me, and maybe you too.
What I cannot defend is the weak resolution to the main conflict, minor spoiler alert, it sucks. The main villain is also weak especially compared to some of Barker's other creations.
If you push past this you have a well layered and structured mystery with a detective that investigates within a supernatural horror film.