LORD of ILLUSIONS: Lordy what a mess!


But in a good way.


This 1995 film, directed and written by Clive Barker begins as many horror films do with the camera showing us all the creepy things that we know spell “time to go someplace else.”

We’re in the desert and looking at an abandoned Imageone story building. There’s an array of small animal bones, skulls, old broken dolls, dead snakes, etc. A group of people drives up and approaches the building commando-style. Inside, there’s a party going on and it’s obvious these gun-toters aren’t there to bring the dip. As these fun-interruptus types barge in, we see someone sitting on the steps. The androgynous figure is a character named “Butterfield” (Trevor Edmond) who is the biggest baddest fan of “Nix.” Nix (Daniel von Bargen) is a mellow-voiced sorcerer who has plans to sacrifice a young girl. The girl cowers in the corner while a large, nasty baboon bares its teeth and tries to bite her. I think the point of the party and the sacrifice is to kill the world and hang around after and gloat, but I’m not sure.

All the party goers are having a great time.

They’re shaving their heads and looking at each other like good sex is going to happen soon. The head of the commandos is a guy named Swann (Kevin O’Conner). Things get crazy and Nix ends up dead and buried with an iron mask nailed to his head to keep him dead. In the meantime, Butterfield who survives the fracas is getting really mad.

So now we jump fifteen years. Swann is a world famous magician.

A new character is introduced-a detective (who knows the “dark-side” we’re told via a flashback and a newspaper headline) named Harry D’Amour (Scott Bakula) While on another case, Harry stumbles on a murder-in-progress, which happens to be a revenge killing to get back at the people who broke up the party and nailed Nix. Of course Butterfield (now played by Barry Del Sherman) is involved and of course Harry decides to investigate. This takes him to Swann’s Beverly Hills mansion and Mrs. Swann (in name only we’re told), Famke Janssen.

So let’s skip ahead, shall we?

Swann fakes his death; Butterfield is fooled but he still manages to dig up Nix and re-book the party with all the same folks invited and of course they bring their scissors and razors. What fun. Swann ends up in a stand-off with Nix, who is disappointed because he had counted on Swann to help him kill the world and afterwards they could just hang out together. Poor Butterfield is so unappreciated. Harry shows up and of course there’s a stand-off and of course the only people left are the best looking–Scott Bakula and Famke. The world is saved. My guess is both Famke and Scott considered firing their agents after this.

Despite the mess and confusion, mostly linked to the dangling plot lines like –the client who paid Harry to investigate the unfaithful husband, the cool woman cop, the helpful Magic Castle magician who helped Harry find some perfectly irrelevant info, I kept watching.

I think it was because of Butterfield and the party-goers. They were so passionate, so into whatever Nix was selling, it was seductive. The movie came alive during the party scenes and whenever Butterfield showed up. Otherwise I felt as if I was watching some good actors (Bakula, Janssen, O’Conner,etc.) looking like they would rather be having a root canal.  All in all, I’d opt for the movie rather than the root canal, but as far as that party goes, I’m not shaving my head for no one.

Fly me to the DUNE The House Atreides

ImageI loved the prequels but not the sequels.

Like many sci fi lovers I read Frank Herbert’s Dune–a book I loved for its richness and detail with all of the subcultures, traditions and intrigue centered on the spice–the eye-blue-ing, mind-altering and space-bending drug of drugs. Add the aristocracy and royal “Houses” murdering, betrayal, plots within plots and I did little else but read for days. It seemed that sequels were not as compelling and when Herbert died, I assumed a grand story was finally done. Then the “prequels” came out and I was delighted with how engrossing they were. Each House has its own saga leading up to Dune and then, more in prequels to the prequels with three novels detailing the machines. House Atreides was the first Dune novel other than the original that I really liked. Now if they would just come out with a decent DUNE movie . . .  You’d think if they could do justice to The Lord of the Rings that someone could figure out how to bring DUNE to life. The first film was a big mess and the TV miniseries was pretty icky. In the meantime, if you haven’t read DUNE, I hope you’ll take a look.  It grabs you on the first page and like all good fiction transports you to a different realty and DUNE is a really different, layered mystical place. Peter Jackson, fly me to the DUNE please.

James Michener is one of my favorite authors.



When I was a kid, I remember my mother reading Hawaii. That was a time when I was reading everything I could get my hands on and so I read Hawaii, and eventually Centennial, The Source, Texas and I forget–probably others. One of the aspects that I really enjoyed was the way Michener married the stories of everyone who lived there to the land. Not just people, but animals as well. I still remember the story of a little buffalo and he was as layered a character as many of the humans. I see Michener’s influence in my first book, The Demon Rift. Many stories are woven together over a span of time.

Link to used paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Hawaii-by-James-A-Michener/dp/B004HSS12K/ref=sr_1_46?ie=UTF8&qid=1334679176&sr=8-46