Clive on Lord of Illusions

Harry takes a sheaf of papers, and hands them to Billy.
HARRY : You go through these. Go on!
Reluctantly, Billy does so. Harry picks up a faded photograph of the doorway to Nix's house (with the sigil painted on it) and Butterfield the child standing in the sun. There are other cultists standing around. And in the doorway - a barely visible figure (and all the more intimidating for that) - is Nix.
HARRY : Wait a minute...
He stares at the boy's face. The eyes are clearly different colours.
HARRY : That's Butterfield...
BILLY : (points to man in doorway) And who's that?
On Harry, staring at the ambiguous presence.
On the photograph of the shadowy figure.

HARRY : At a guess? The Puritan. Nix.
Billy picks up an etching, water-stained and dirty. It shows a horror we recognize: a man's hand pressed into the flesh of another man's head.
BILLY : Take a look at this.
HARRY : (looking at it) A Nix speciality?
Billy is getting subtly spooked now. He puts the etching down and starts to go through others in the series. We glimpse them as he does so. In one, a man regurgitates a serpentine form made of flame. In another, a man stares at his own hand which is stripped of flesh. There is no bone beneath. Only a form of solid blackness. In a third, we see a head with a slit in the middle of the brow, emanating darkness.
BILLY : I don't know any of these tricks...
Harry studies the etchings.
HARRY : (a slow burn) Maybe they're not tricks.
BILLY : (mystified) I mean there's no instructions - (realizes what Harry said) What do you mean they're not tricks?
HARRY : What did Vinovich say? Something about walking a path between -
BILLY : Trickery and divinity. Yeah, he says that all the time.
HARRY : That's because he knew. He'd seen these files and he knew.

Draft Three - February 1994

"I'm just working on a draft of that [Last Illusion] [ August 1991]. It won't be the next movie to go, [planned to be Eden USA] but it may very well be the one after that."

Boundless Imajination

By WC Stroby, (i) Fangoria, No 109, January 1992 (ii) Horror Zone, No1, August 1992

It's a very rich palette and it's as far from violating girls in showers as you can possibly get. I wanted to do a completely different kind of movie. I feel like the other kinds of horror movies, including the 'Hellraiser' movies, have sort of run their course and it's time to look again and see if we can make something fresh. I've long considered him [Harry d'Amour] an interesting character to put into movies, partly because horror movies of the last ten years have been dominated by the villains... and there are limitations that come with that. One of the obvious limitations is that the more often you see a villain, the less scary they are. It's the law of diminishing returns... I thought if I'm going to make another series of horror movies, why not base it around the hero. Harry can be involved in a series of very different confrontations from movie to movie. You're almost taking a little leaf from 'Die Hard' or 'Indiana Jones' and transferring that to the horror genre. The intention of this movie is to give people a profound sense of dread and send them out of the movie thinking, 'I tasted something, I felt something.'"

Lord Of Illusions - Filming The Books Of Blood

By Michael Beeler, Cinefantastique, Vol 26 No 3, April 1995

"Lord Of Illusions uniquely parallels something that's going on in my own art all the time. It deals with illusions and illusionists, and illusionists provide, for bourgeois audiences, narratives - they are, loosely speaking, narratives in the form of tricks or illusions - that seem to be pieces of frivolous entertainment but are, at root, extremely rich and dark tales of death and resurrection. There's a little exchange in Lord Of Illusions in which Valentin is making the distinction between magic and illusions. He and Harry are driving Script cover and Valentin says, "Illusions are trickery", and produces a flower out of his hand. Then he scrunches the flower up and shows his bare hand, saying "Magicians do it for real". There's a beat and then Harry leans across and says, "Where did the flower go?" And in that line - which, by the way, was an ad-lib by Mr Bakula - is the voice of the audience. "Where did the flower go? I know it's a trick, I know it's not real magic, but where did the flower go?" I wanted to lay into the texture of Swann's illusions images which somehow or other recurred elsewhere in the narrative. So we have sand, obviously because of all that desert stuff. We have a sarcophagus, which speaks for itself. We have skeletons, we have fire, we have the demon statue... In other words, there on the stage are images which in some way or other refer to other elements of the movie. I don't necessarily expect the audience to pick up on that, but it was a way for us to make some choices out of the millions of directions which we could probably have gone.",

A Kind Of Magic

By Maitland McDonagh, The Dark Side No 45, April/May 1995

"'The Last Illusion' was almost a Philip Marlowe type of thing, but this movie isn't a homage to '40's noir. This isn't going to be about Venetian blinds and ashtrays with a cigarette left burning with lipstick on it. We're really just focusing on this everyman who is drawn into the heart of darkness over and over again because of some karmic thing which he has no power over. My belief is that the movie on the page delivers. My duty now is to put that on screen as clearly as possible, with as few compromises as possible. We have a tight budget and obviously we may have some compromises. I just have to know what movie I want to put up on screen. The one thing I guarantee is that it will be a horror film unlike any you've seen before."

The Conjuring Of Lord Of Illusions Part 1 - Preproduction

By Anthony C Ferrante, Fangoria No 138, November 1994

"The audience reaction was good, but the feeling was that the movie should be shorter. I'll be tightening the talk and playing up the effects and scares. I'm actually very pleased; it's been a rough postproduction and, in the long run, with the extra time, we will have a better movie."

The Conjuring Of Lord Of Illusions Part 4 - Postproduction

By Anthony C. Ferrante, Fangoria, No 141, April 1995

[on first test screening] "By and large, they didn't like the explicitness of the sex. It surprised the hell out me. I don't know why, from the bottom of my heart, I don't know. I think horror fans are used to sex scenes being a prelude to death. They're used to sex scenes being about murder and this one wasn't. If one of the characters got out of bed and got a spear through the chest, they might have been perfectly content. They felt people talked too much. I think audiences are used to horror movies being 90 minutes and then get the hell out of there and our theatrical version is 104 minutes, so it's still 14 minutes longer than a Nightmare On Elm Street picture. I happen to like movies that spend some time on character... . One of the things that happens is that, if you take a few dialogue scenes out and pare them down, the acts of violence get closer together and the feel of the movie is more intense. Now suddenly you have this picture that is really going for the jugular and doesn't give you a moment to breathe since, of course, I took out what few moments there were where the audience was allowed to breathe... . At the second screening the numbers doubled. They said it was the scariest movie they'd ever seen. The sex was pulled back, the violence was not. I did not realise how much people would be freaked out by the cultist stuff and the notion of cults. The whole sort of Manson/Koresh thing that goes on in the movie really got under people's skins with an intensity I didn't anticipate and it freaked the hell out of them. I was also surprised by the little pieces of violence that really distressed people. The cutting of one character's lips bothered them. Sometimes it's a lesson. You can have these incredibly elaborate special effects and they may not be as devastating to people as something so small and intimate.

The Conjuring Of Lord Of Illusions Part 5 - The Last Interview

By Anthony C. Ferrante, Fangoria, No 146, September 1995

"I've always loved illusionists. There's always a dark side, and illusionists present them to you. It's very much life-and-death illusion - you sawed the woman in half, but she's still alive. They're presented as breezy , funny, entertaining pieces - but, subtexturally, they're stories of death and resurrection. I love stories that deal with those things, and 'The Last Illusion' is a movie about just that. It's also about magic... and it's about monsters. It will be very much an independent. There's lots of stuff in the movie that a studio wouldn't do. I don't want to give anything away, but we're going to break some rules. Besides, the most interesting stuff in horror movies has been done outside the studios. There are very few examples of mainstream horror movies that work."

Barker Looks Back

By Anthony C Ferrante, Bloody Best Of Fangoria, No 12, September 1993

"This extra stuff includes intense material, dialogue material, subtext material - a lot of stuff that helps people understand what the movie is all about. It's not Storyboard of the 'hokey' guardian 
attacking Billy Who by ? twelve and a half minutes of blood and gore, it's actually the thematic guts of the movie. What MGM/UA did, and I'll think they're wrong till the end of my days, was say that this isn't enough of a horror movie, we want to make it more intense. It was a bad commercial decision in my view. They wanted to take out some of the detective elements. I said no. Part of the point of the movie is that is a genre-breaking movie. It moves from film noir to horror and back and forth and that's what makes the movie work. But MGM/UA was adamant. They said, "We're gonna take this stuff out, either you do it or we do it." So I said I would take it out, so long as they promised me that a director's cut would come out on video and laser disc. Worldwide... Putting together a special edition laser disc like Lord Of Illusions is very time consuming and it does change the way you look at the entire film making process, the outtakes and deletions. When Hellraiser was shot, the biggest task was simply to finish the project. Nine years on, we only now realise how valuable all the outtakes and the supplementary stuff is. Finding out that someone was on set one day with a video camera is incredibly exciting. All those throwaway things become like gold dust. Ironically, Lord Of Illusions probably looks better on laser disc than it did theatrically. There are lots of tricks you can do during the film to video transfer. We did some work on the special effects sequences. If a prosthetic appliance looks too rubbery and fake, we can take some of the shine off it. We can colour correct the images. Improve the computer generated effects sequences..."

Lord Of Illusion

By [ ], Home Cinema Choice, September 1996

"Horror movies haven't really explored magic, so it's the perfect background for a film which, I hope, will scare the bejesus out of people. But while I pray that people will be so frightened that their asses will be separated from their seats, I want them to realise that they're in a world which is totally believable. This movie is set in such places as Bel Air and Hollywood, locations which we all know. It's a challenge to make a movie which connects with the audience and gives them brand new material which nobody has ever seen before - something which is really important. Instaed of the sterotypical 'girl stalked in shower' scenes, we're combining a film noir thriller with the darkest and most horrific elements. Quite honestly, I'm hoping to invoke the same feeling of dread and anxiety that I initiated when I directed the first Hellraiser movie. In that film, you never knew what to expect - the horror that unfolds within the course of that story is totally unexpected and unique. So we really push the envelope in this film and, as fans will know, that's something which I've become quite famous for doing."

Lord Of Illusions - A Fable Of Death And Resurrection

By Simon Bacal, Sci-Fi Entertainment, Vol 1 No 5, February 1995

"One of the things I wanted to do with Nix was to make him very uncharismatic. There is nothing appealing about this man and, towards the end of the movie, when the temptation would be to go into apocalyptic mode, the movie pulls in exactly the opposite direction. Nix becomes this frail, rather pathetic creature. In one of the final scenes, Dorothea asks the metaphysical question, "What are you?" and Nix says, "I'm a man who wanted to be a god and changed his mind." And I like that. I like the fact that he is just a man. He wanted to be something more but he gave up on this useless endeavour. He's murdered all his acolytes, his devotees, and now he's alone in the dark. I actively went after that, even though it was flying in the face of what the audience expects."

Clive Barker - Lord Of Illusions

By Nigel Lloyd, SFX, No 16, September 1996

"We're not skimping on the viscera - [Lord of Illusions is] a pretty strong movie. It also has a lot of the qualities which will endear it to an audience that wouldn't be so keen on the viscera flying. I think we're making a class act which has eruptions of weirdness and violence. This environment is sort of like a little corner of hell. And I like that combination. The picture has a big budget look and feel to it - it's beautifully performed and photographed - but then you've got a lot of this nastiness which you normally don't get with pictures like this.
"This isn't an homage to 1940's detective movies like 'Angel Heart' was. This is not going to be a movie full of immaculately backlit women with a lot of smoke. This is not going to be about Venetian blinds and ashtrays with cigarettes left burning with lipstick on 'em. What we have, though, is a hip, interesting, brave Everyman who is drawn in the Heart of Darkness over and over again because of some karmic thing which he has no power over. I think that will be fun to watch.
"I wanted to make a movie that scared the fuck out of people. The short version does that better. Ironically, the people who didn't like the movie said, 'This movie is too fucking weird' or 'I was scared shitless. I don't like this. I don't want this done to me.' Now as far as I'm concerned, even though they didn't like the movie, they at least didn't like it for the right reasons. Nobody said, 'The movie didn't affect me.' "

Barker's Bite

By Anthony C. Ferrante, huH, Issue No 12, August 1995

"Nix is a villain I think we can relate to; he's not unlike Charlie Manson. Halfway through shooting this picture, somebody came in with a newspaper with a headline about these mass deaths in a cult in Switzerland. I don't think we even yet know quite what happened there. The craziness of Waco, the craziness of Jonestown, the Manson stuff - Nix is the embodiment of the charismatic leader who says, "Follow me to death," which is something that's part of our culture. So I thought, Supposing we had a villain like that, but instead of this guy just being somebody who can weave words and make promises, he genuinely has a greater power? That, to me, is scary and interesting.
"There are two huge special effects gags in the movie. In one of them, Nix calls all his cultists together and causes a storm in the room in which they're standing. Production art by ? of Swann's 'death' The rain comes down with such force that it turns the ground beneath them to mud and they're all sucked to their deaths. It was a mess! But the biggest logistical challenge was the magic-show accident in which Swann dies. We had this huge stage set with dancers and 10 swords hanging above him-and he's going to get skewered by eight of them. He's going around and the swords are going around, and the dancers are dancing and there's a thousand people in the audience. We shot it at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, which was very cool because it's a place with a real history; it's where I first saw Copperfield, in fact. And there we were, staging this magic act which goes horribly, disastrously and bloodily wrong!
[are cast bothered by the content ever?] "Oh. Yes! And crew members, too. We have a scene with an 11-year-old girl and a baboon at the beginning of Lord of Illusions that got the crew very squeamish. But that's part of what I do. Pushing a little bit further than anyone else is how I came into this business; I got my reputation by going places other people haven't gone. And I don't want to stop doing that. It isn't always going to be about horror: It can be as much about fantastical journeys as it can be about frightening ones."

Clive Barker's Lurid Fascination

By Dan Lamanna, Cinescape, No [ ], January 1995

"In Lord of Illusions, I got to do all kinds of shit that I wanted to do. The bondage stuff in there, the girl and the ape, all kinds of shit. It's very funny because Frank Mancuso was head of MGM/UA at that time, and he didn't like the movie at all. There was one shot of a dead child on the floor, and he said, 'This shot will never appear in an MGM/UA movie.' As it turns out, it did, because I took it out, and then when he wasn't looking, I put it back in. I knew he'd never bother to see the film again."

Fuck The Canon

By Dennis Cooper, LA Weekly, Literary Supplement, 31 August - 6 September 2001

"I've travelled 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, I 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 . It therefore seems perfectly appropriate that Harry finds his way onto the cinema screen, where his world can intersect with that of the grand guignol horror movies I've had the pleasure to create hitherto. This self-willed collision of genres - horror movie and detective film - caused the studio some headaches when I first screened 'Lord of Illusions'. They wanted a simpler picture, with less emphasis on the noirish mood. I reluctantly made some excisions, on the understanding that the director's cut would be available on tape and laser disc. So here it is. The complete, unexpurgated 'Lord of Illusions'. I think the picture is much stronger in this version than in its theatrical incarnation: the characters richer, the plot clearer, the atmosphere darker. Thanks to the vision of my colleagues at United Artists, this cut was not cobbled together after the fact. Simon Boswell scored this version. We mixed it, dubbed it and timed it. In short, we did everything but put it on the big screen. Ah well... This is, quite simply , the definitive 'Lord of Illusions' - the version by which I wish the work to be judged. "

Lord Of Illusions - Liner Notes

Unrated Director's Cut, 1996

On Nix, Dorothea clasped close to him. He revolves as he floats over the chasm below them.
On the Cultists, listening to their lord with love in their eyes.
A slit opens in the middle of Nix's forehead, above the bridge of his nose (this is an image we saw in the prints in the library), and from it comes a wave of darkness. As Nix revolves, the darkness strikes the ground around the Cultists.
At first they don't realize what's going on. They think this is some kind of bizarre blessing.

NORMAN : What's happening?
NIX : (to unseen cultists) I have to give something back. So I'm giving you.
They're starting to scream now as they sink into the loose sand. They struggle, of course, but the earth seems to be hungry for them. They are dragged down, thrashing as they sink.
BARBARA : (sobbing) Why? Why?
NIX : You're not worthy. None of you. Only Swann was worthy. You just waited like lambs.
Harry appears in the doorway. Nix, still swinging round, has his back to Harry.
NIX : Well I'm not your shepherd.

Draft Four - 7 June 1994 (revised 28 June 1994)

"The screenplay in this particular case is derived from a short story. It's derived from a character I've been writing about for a very long time, so I had a very clear idea of what kind of movie I wanted to Early poster design make. I wanted to make a movie which was part detective picture, part horror movie. I wanted the horror to be as intense as I could possibly make it - as far as the MPAA would allow me to go. I wanted the detective elements to have reference to the kind of noir movies that I like. One of the things you have in your head when you're writing a script, or I have in my head when I'm writing a script, is some very specific pictures, and only a handful of them, which are by no means enough to spread throughout a movie. I had four or five images in my head which were starting places for scenes: the look of the magic show - Swann's spectacular - which we've staged at the Plantages; the look of Nix's lair; the cultists' house; the look of the Bel-Air mansion where Swann and his wife, Dorothea, reside and actually Harry's apartment - that was a late addition, but that would be another one where I had a clear idea.
[re. Bakula] "He's the Harry I've had in my head for 8 years - no word of a lie. When he stepped on set, in costume for the first time, which happened to be into his apartment, the set for his apartment, I thought, 'This is wonderful - this is the man I've been writing about for 8 years,' and that's a real thrill to see an actor so beautifully embody somebody that you've been writing about for such a long time - it's a real thrill. I have to say, they used to say that thing on posters: 'So and so is so and so.' Well, Scott Bakula is Harry D'Amour, and it really sends a shiver down an author's back.
"For all of us it was a question of making the picture in the most rational way possible. That required storyboarding the entire picture - which I'd never done before. The only things I'd storyboarded were special effects sequences. But here we were going to storyboard the whole show, that way we would have a clear idea, from day to day, 'cos we knew the days were going to be difficult days because we had so much to do in a short time, because time is money and we didn't have a lot of money. The thing we were going to try and do was pull off a movie that looked like $20m for half that - and that required organisation down to the last degree, and that also required me to know every morning exactly what we needed, there wasn't going to be time for me to play the indulgent director, there wasn't the money for that. So that meant planning the whole thing from the boards and keeping to the boards more or less, which is pretty much what we did.
"You write the script and you put it in the hands of your art director and dressers and so on and you talk and you work through possibilities. I mean, there's an exploratory phase to all of this as well, where you look at other movies and you look at research Nix KNB EFX sketch photographs and gradually, something comes together. In a movie, you are in a collaboration; from the moment you put 'The End' on the final page of the screenplay thereafter it becomes a collaboration. You're in a collaboration with your producer, you're collaborating with your actors, you're collaborating with the special effects people, your designers, your PP, your editors and it's very important for me to articulate as clearly as possible what I need, because that's the only way of making a modest amount of money seem like a lot more.
"I think of special effects as being an alternative reality. I think it's very important not to think of special effects as special effects. When the man comes on with the prosthetics, if you spend too much time saying, 'Boy, that's a really great 6 hour application of prosthetics,' I think you're going to signal to the audience something phoney. This is not a movie which is going to spend time admiring special effects artists' skills - extraordinary as they are - part of what they're bringing to the picture again is their own kind of reality. And I said to all the special effects houses working on this picture, all of whom I've known and admired for many years now, I mean we've got the crème de la crème working on this picture, I want to treat what you do as reality.
"When I met Daniel Von Bargen, the actor who plays Nix, in New York, I told him how much I wanted him to play the part, and he said, and it was a stunner, he said, 'I don't think I can do this,' and I said, 'Why not?' and he said, ' Well, because it's a very dark role and I think I'm going to find it difficult to enter into this drama and not end up feeling like I'm drowning in it.' Once Daniel came on set, as Nix, surrounded by his cultists, in this huge set, which represents his compound, surrounded by images of death and destruction, strange writings on the walls, incantations. Any chance I had to lighten the tone was really tough and when we got into that set it was near as dammit impossible not to feel that.
"You know, I can look through the movie and I can say, you know, every two or three minutes I'm saying, 'Geez, why did I do that? Why did I do this?' Well, the answer is you know, I got 50 things right and thirty things wrong and that's a pretty good batting average for me! You make your work and you move on - and you do that whatever medium you work in."

The Making Of Lord Of Illusions

Sci Fi Channel documentary included on unrated laser disc, 1996

"When we see young Butterfield, we see this young, rather sexy lad who's obviously Nix's catamite, he's Nix's bumboy, he's shares Nix's bed. Swann on other hand is this wild card, he has looked into the Abyss, the way Nix has looked into the Abyss. Whereas Butterfield is a very attractive lightweight, Swann has this dark undertow which is one of the reasons why Kevin is so perfect for the role. He has this dark undertow which matches Nix's. I think one of the things Kevin does brilliantly and - you quoted me in the article - about him having this quality of having looked into the Abyss. Kevin gives me the impression that he is at any single moment wavering on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Genius and madness walk very close in him, and I think that's very powerful and, for somebody like Nix, very attractive."

Explorer From The Far Reaches Of Experience

By Kim August, Pharr Out! 1998

[re. deciding against a May opening because of the stiff competition from big budget movies] "All those movies cost upwards of $60 or $70 million, and, good as our movie is, I just thought we'd be trampled to death in that kind of company. So, we decided to wait until those guys had run their spectacular course and toward the end of the summer, probably in August, when they've basically done their business, we can come out with our picture. Though I think that is a very sensible course, I'm a little frustrated because I want the world to see my movie! I'm very excited about it. I've geared myself up for showing [Lord Of Illusions] to the world earlier than this and now I have to be a little patient.
"My enthusiasm never ran out, but God, my energy took a dive, but, I don't know anybody who directs movies, who wouldn't say that about the filmmaking process. It's almost a universal truth. Particularly if you've written the thing and you're also producing or co-producing, as I was in this case. A lot of responsibility lies on your shoulders and we were really trying to push the envelope on the genre. I mean, we weren't taking about a guy with an axe in a dark house. We were putting things on the screen things that hadn't been seen before and nuances that hadn't been felt before and that means you've got to be watching really, really closely and working really, really hard to pull off something fresh, without all the money in the world.
"The good news about this is that the movie is strange and tough and dark. I guarantee you've never seen a horror movie like this. That was always my stated intention. We talked about that right from the very beginning: give audiences something they haven't seen before. The challenge of that is that you can't fall back on the tried-and-true. You can't sit back and say, 'Well, ok we'll do this whole section of the movie like George Romero would.' I couldn't sit there and say to my DP, 'Ok' well you know this stuff, it's been done here, here and here.' We were constantly trying to make it fresh and new. And, that uses up your energy. It uses up your imagination; it uses up your wits. At the end of the day I was literally looking at three sets of dailies.
"The analogy has been made by directors over the years that the moviemaking experience tends to be fairly apocalyptic, you know you feel as if you're either tied to the tracks with a train coming at you 200 miles an hour or you're actually on the 200-mile-an-hour train heading for a brick wall. Whatever it is, it's always about the sense of time and urgency: can I do that, can I do this within budget or can this be done in the time scale?
"I'm sitting here now, writing my next book. The movies are done, Candyman II is out and Thief is doing very nicely. It's all proceeding on its way, but in the middle of it, you cannot see the wood for the trees. And, that's when you're glad you organised the thing and when you're glad that you did the preproduction sketches and storyboards, because at least that means on a Monday morning when your head is turned to custard, you can at least look at the story boards and say, 'Ah, ok, now I remember! Once upon a time in a distant land... .'"

Lord Of Illusions

By Michael Beeler, Cinefantastique, Vol 26 No 5, August 1995

...other comments

Harry drives. Swann takes a throatful of brandy. Then he stares at Harry.
SWANN : So what did Dorothea tell you?
HARRY : About what?
HARRY : The reviews were good, if that's what you're asking.
SWANN : But you think I'm an asshole.
HARRY : So you read minds too.
SWANN : (a warning) I can do a lot of shit, D'Amour. But you know that. I like playing with people's heads.
HARRY : Is that the best you can do?
SWANN : It's important to distract them from their banality for a few minutes. It's like a public service. It doesn't mean much in the end. They're all going to die.
HARRY : And you're not?
SWANN : Oh, I was going to discover the secret of the universe. That's why I liked Nix. He promised me all these explanations.
HARRY : And he didn't have them?
SWANN : He had something. He showed me how to bend the rules. A little levitation. A few fireworks.
HARRY : Is that all?
SWANN : No. (a beat) At the end... when we had him cornered, he got into my head. He showed me what we really look like, when the veneer's gone. Jelly. Shit.
HARRY : And you believed him?
SWANN : I saw it with my own fucking eyes! See, that's his best trick. No illusions. Just the truth. (he looks at Harry) Are you ready for that?
Harry grabs the brandy bottle from Swann.
SWANN : Hey!
Harry drinks.
SWANN : Thought not.

Draft Four - 7 June 1994

Jo-Anne Sellar : "Usually on the films I've done, you have to get a name actor to get a green light. This movie was greenlit based on Clive, so it was nice that we could go without having to get a name actor in every role. It allows us to have free rein to cast the right people instead."

The Conjuring Of Lord Of Illusions Part 1 - Preproduction

By Anthony C Ferrante, (i) Fangoria No 138, November 1994 (ii) Fangoria : Masters of the Dark

Daniel Von Bargen : "I just saw blood and I kinda turned it down the first time I read through it - oh my goodness - and I'd just kinda skimmed through it, I must admit, and then after talking with Clive, for a good while, I just began to think of it differently. I didn't know what you and I know now about what Clive had in mind when he wrote it, and that makes all the difference in the world really - there's a reason for this stuff happening, as opposed to reading your part and - oh, Nix does what? I'm sorry! But now, I like it, it's really kind of fascinating."

The Making Of Lord Of Illusions

Sci Fi Channel documentary included on unrated laser disc, 1996

Daniel Von Bargen : "I originally passed on the script, because most of what I saw was this very far-out, evil guy. It's a pretty interesting place to go, to basically play a renegade evil spirit embodied in a human form... you can't play him maniacally evil - that's too predictable."

The Conjuring Of Lord Of Illusions Part 1 - Preproduction

By Anthony C Ferrante, (i) Fangoria No 138, November 1994 (ii) Fangoria : Masters Of The Dark

Scott Bakula : "Harry D'Amour - a character that Clive's been writing about for 10 years. The challenge for me, to bring a character like this to life, is not just doing my normal character work, but someone that everyone seems to know, that's read Clive, and certainly that Clive knows more intimately than anyone else. It helped tremendously to have the writer saying, 'You're the guy, you're perfect for Harry.' Still I had to come up with my own interpretation of Harry - who he was - and bring this 40's film noir detective into the 90's and make him seem fresh and new and relevant to these situations that only Clive could put him in. So, it was a great challenge, and, without patting myself on the back - because Clive would say the same thing - he now writes Harry and thinks of me. So I guess I achieved some sort of success there."

The Making Of Lord Of Illusions

Sci Fi Channel documentary included on unrated laser disc, 1996

Famke Janssen : "I thought, this is going to be a really challenging film to do as an actor, no matter what, just because when you act in a horror film you're gonna have to deal with a lot of elements that are not there on the day when you're shooting. So that was certainly challenging - seeing an empty wall and imaging something to come out of that, or looking in the sky and supposedly something is unfolding in front of my eyes that I don't know exactly what to imagine. And of course Clive knows all these things very well 'cos he wrote it, and as much as he could, he tried to explain these things to me during shooting and I kept insisting, 'I want to know more, be more specific,' y'know, 'What does it feel like?' 'What does it look like?' 'Whatever you can give me, because I'm not in your head, I can't imagine these things.' And, of course, funny enough, by the time I saw all this on film, it was so different than what I'd been imagining at the time, because I am not in his head and I don't have his imagination - I wish I did, because he has the best imagination of anybody."

The Making Of Lord Of Illusions

Sci Fi Channel documentary included on unrated laser disc, 1996

Jo-Anne Sellar : "The thing that I've found I'm most impressed about him as a director, working with lots of other directors before him, he's extremely decisive, he knows exactly what he wants. When he walks on set, it's never 'if', 'but'. It's like, this is what I want from actors, this is what I want from art direction, you know, across the board - and really, it saves an enormous amount of time and basic clarity in every area.
"We have a really good effects supervisor who's brought really good people to the table, like XFX, who are doing all of Nix's makeup, and then KNB who are doing the general, day to day gory stuff. And then Gene Warren, from Fantasy 2, who's doing a lot, well, 90% of the opticals. And it's a really strong package and a lot of people, when they read the script, and then they met Clive, they really went for it."

The Making Of Lord Of Illusions

Sci Fi Channel documentary included on unrated laser disc, 1996

Scott Bakula : "There are definitely some similarities [between Harry and Kolchak, the 'Night Stalker']. If there's a possession or an exorcism, Harry will be there. He's drawn to that environment. The darker forces find those people; they know who they are. He is that person. Clive had this wonderful description: he said, 'Harry is paying off some kind of karmic debt.' I love that. He is forced into wrangling with these forces."

The Big Leap

By Edward Gross, Cinescape, Vol 1, No 11, August 1995

Tom Keogh : "There is a long trail of provocative ideas and themes in this film that Barker never seems to get the chance to explore: generational betrayal, ambivalence over one's destiny, the seductiveness of evil. But while the film feels a little unfulfilled, what's on the screen is extraordinary stuff. Barker is a distinctive visualist as well as a no-holds-barred writer working the psychological swamp of unholy fascination. His most frightening moments in this film are impossible to turn away from, transfixing the audience with its own distorted reflection in a story of false prophesies and mad power."

Lord Of Illusions : Review

By Tom Keogh, 99 Lives - The Video Magazine, 5th June 1997

home search contact Films