Friday, June 22, 2012

bad/awesome flixxx review: The Lord of Illusions (1995)

"I was born to murder the world." - Nix

"You ever watched a man die? If you watch very closely, you can sometimes see the soul escaping. And if you're very quick, you can catch it." - Butterfield

"I've got so much power to give you, Swann. All you have to do is beg." - Nix

"Oh, yeah. I signed on for all of them in my time. Catholic, Hindu, Moonies. You can't have too many saviors." - Harry

now THIS is a pretty sick flick. I had been going light, checking out things on my "never seen" list. Things that weren't necessarily bad or awesome, or both. Just "must see"- "kind of both" type deals. But here we have genuinely awesome yet somehow still bad movie. Equally strange in both areas with a cast of "oh yeah that guy's". A low note on Clive Barker's pole, only because its not as famous as say HELLRAISER, but don't discount this as anything less than an amazing piece of time well spent. The totally beautiful Famke Janssen, ol "Quantum Leap" Scott Bakula, the head military school guy from "Malcolm in the Middle", and the fake brother of Daniel Day Lewis from THERE WILL BE BLOOD all star in THE LORD OF ILLUSIONS!!!

Ok, so the first five minutes of this flick had me hooked. Its the best first five minutes of a movie I've watched in a super long time. There's this dude named Nix out in the desert in 1982 who has a cult willing to die for him. He says he has "the power" and tells them that they should start calling him "the Puritan". The dude is tossing a fireball back and forth. They have a kidnapped girl chained up and some kind of huge monkey, the kind with a painted looking face and a big ass. The Puritan is sicking the monkey on the girl and the cult peeps are smearing blood on their faces. Then we see this car hauling ass toward the compound where they're all holed up. This really creepy young dude named Butterfield with mismatched eyes runs to warn Nix that someone named Swann is coming. Swann & some other EX cult peeps think Nix has gone too far and are coming to rescue the girl. They bust in with guns and split up to confront Nix. Swann finds him and he swoops down from the ceiling and touches Swann making him see his friends as monsters. He drops his gun though and the girl picks it up and blasts Nix through the chest. Then Swann gets this weird magic mask and screws it onto Nix's face and then they bury him in the desert so deep no one will ever find him. Butterfield escapes.

Ok, so fast forward to 1995 and there's this PI named Harry who has a backstory about investigating the occult. He's seen some heavy shit, and a buddy offers him a job that is on the lighter side to get him out of the city and out of his own self contained psychosis for awhile. So he goes to investigate this insurance fraud dude and follows him to a fortune teller. The dude runs out of the place like he saw a ghost almost knocking Harry down, so Harry goes in to investigate. He sees the fortune teller strapped to a chair and stabbed almost to death with a shitload of knives, and then this crazy strong UGLY mongoloid dude runs out of the corner and they have a knockdown dragout fight. We figure out that the fortune teller is one of the ex cult dudes. And then after Harry beats up the mongoloid, we see a dude who is a grown up Butterfield questioning the fortune teller. The mongoloid gets up and Harry throws him out the window where we think "well, that dudes dead". Butterfield runs off as he must often do. The fortune teller warns Harry that the Puritan is coming. Harry tells the cops but they think he's crazy because even the mongoloid is gone from where he fell.

Swann is now a famous magician that does nightly shows in LA, and when he finds out that his bud was killed, he sends his creepy looking assistant to hire the guy that found his bud (at the suggestion of his hot wife, who turns out to be the kidnapped little girl- CREEPY...). So the hot wife puts Harry on the case and invites him to see her husband perform. Swann is performing a new escape trick that night and he fucks it up and gets impaled and dies. Doing some investigating and suspecting foul play, Harry finds the mongoloid and Butterfield under the stage. They try to fight him and Harry fucking guts the mongoloid and he actually finally dies (I believe on accident). So, Harry goes to the "Magic Castle" in LA, which is now an old hotel (in real life). He questions and provokes all the magicians pissing most of them off except this Asian one named Billy Inferno. Billy tells him he thinks Swann was using REAL magic he learned from Nix instead of the normal illusions associated with the trade of "magicians".

So Harry looks for the rest of the people that Swann and Nix used to hang out with. He visits this one girl who was with them in 82, mentions Nix, and she runs out in the street and gets hit by a car. Then he goes back to the wife and questions her till she spills the beans about the whole thing. Then he fucks her. So then a man on fire attacks him, and Harry thinks something is up with Swann's weird assistant. So he checks his coffin and finds out that the body is a fake. Then he sees Swann at his own funeral and follows him into a drainage ditch. Swann is pissed cause Harry banged his chick so he keeps attacking him with magic, but then Harry is like, "come on man, we have to stop this Nix guy...", and so they team up. Butterfield beats up the weird assistant and kidnaps the wife. He convinces the assistant to show him where Nix is buried and then he fucking digs him up and takes that mask off. He takes him back to the old house in the desert and the old gang of cult freaks show up to help resurrect Nix. Harry and Swann show up to try to rescue the chick. Nix tells all the freaks to break glass and get down on their knees and get ready to hear his wisdom. Then he floats with the chick and turns the ground to quicksand and the freaks melt down into it, and then he turns it hard again, killing and trapping them in place, exclaiming that Swann is the only one worthy of hearing his wisdom. Harry in the nick of time saves the chick before she's dropped in a hole, but then Butterfield comes after them. Harry fucking wastes him. Then Swann tells Nix he'll be his dude but Nix is like, "bullshit" and then he gives Harry the monstervision. The chick grabs Harry's gun and shoots Nix through the head and he turns into a demon. Swann & Harry shoot magic at Nix and he falls into the hole brimming with lava. Swann dies, and Harry and the chick escape before the whole house is sucked by a tornado into the ground forever. Should you watch this? Totally. Its on Netflix instant right now. Make it happen. Alakazam!

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