Saturday, June 17, 2023

The Big Guns


Seeing that I've been listening to Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins' Rabbit Fur Coat again lately, I figured I'd post my favorite track from the album (maybe from Lewis' career, although that's a tough pull from a looong list). Little did I know I would search for it on youtube and find them performing the song on Lettermen! Combining two of my favorite things, and proving Dave has immaculate taste in music.


K is traveling to see a friend this weekend, so it's me and the cats for a few days. I'm planning on using the time wisely: I've set a deadline of this coming Tuesday for the first draft of the novel I'm writing, so primarily focused on that after I punched out yesterday. When I retired for the evening, I popped open a Three Floyds Zombie Dust (thanks, Alex!) and fired up a flick I hadn't seen in... well, I think I saw Clive Barker's Lord of Illusions back in the day, but now I'm not so sure. Anyway, WOW! Here's the Red Band Theatrical Trailer from the year it released, 1995 (I didn't even remember there was such a thing as Red Band trailers back then):


So Hellraiser came out in '87, Nightbreed in '90 and Lord of Illusions in 1995. Then, as the story famously goes (and Barker has no problem talking about), the fickle, backstabbing nature of the studio system filled him with despair and he tapped out. 

What a goddamn shame! I mean, this isn't an observation probably millions of Horror fans haven't said previously, but those are three damn good films!

I've known Hellraiser since I was young. Nightbreed is one I didn't connect with when I saw it in High School, but then kind of rediscovered about ten or so years ago, thanks to friends who couldn't believe I didn't hold it in particularly high regard. But Illisions, as I stated above, if I saw it back in the day, I discarded it in the same way I discarded Lawnmower Man, a flick I was briefly obsessed with around the time it came out on video, and which I haven't seen since (and think it's probably better if I don't revisit that one).

Anyway, I think the casting of Scott Bakula threw my memory off. Nothing against the man; I was never a Quantum Leap fan (although the one episode I remember watching, where the devil shows up in the guise of Dean Stockwell's character was pretty cool, I have to say), but beyond that, there are plenty of instances of big-ticket Horror flicks in the early 90s casting TV actors to the film's detriment. 

1990's It I'm looking at you. 

In Illusions, though, Bakula does a really good job as recurring Barker character Harry D'Amour. His chops are plenty, and his presence doesn't feel like television casting. Plus, the entire film has such strong visual and narrative crossover with Nightbreed that the two films feel as though they could have been made back to back. 

Barker's imagination is so lush and unique; there are no other Horror movies like the three he wrote for screen and directed. Also, the way he incorporates the Occult always endears his work to me, film or prose. In Illusions, I was particularly excited by his use of Tarot; the scene that is set up by Harry turning over the Ten of Swords and how that pays off later at Swann's illusion just blew my mind. It's simple, but you just don't see the Occult used that way in Horror Movies that often. 

In thinking about that Ten of Swords scene before writing this page, I stumbled on this very cool video on the Rue Morgue Youtube Channel:

She goes way into it, with the full spread, which I hadn't even considered. This is exactly what I'm talking about - the lengths Barker uses the Occult for narrative purposes are beyond anyone else I can think of save, Kenneth Anger, who doesn't really have the same idea of 'narrative' as Barker.  

Lord of Illusions - happy to have found you. I believe this is the start of a long-lasting relationship. Now I'm tempted to rewatch Nightbreed again, however, I just realized I need to cancel my Showtime sub soon, and Cronenberg's Existenz is on there and it's been quite some time for that one, too. 


QOTSA - In Times New Roman
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - PetroDragonic Apocalypse
Realize - Machine Violence 
The Obsessed - Lunar Womb
 Secret Chiefs 3 & Traditionalists - Le mani destre recise degli ultimi uomini
Turquoise Moon - The Sunset City


• Ace of Wands - Achievement of Earthly designs 
• Princess of Swords - A chaotic battle
• IX: The Hermit - Focus; isolation; determination

Not difficult to read at all. If I want to finish my first draft by Tuesday, I have to battle my distraction (chaos) and isolate myself. In keeping with that, I think I'll stop there, post this, and get to work!!!

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