That ol’ black magic

His books have moved away from the horror genre. but Clive Barker saves his scares for the big screen. He talks to Alan Morrison as his latest film. Lord O/‘lllusions. is released on video.

Given the dully derivative horror fare that somehow manages to get a cinema release. it's often frustrating for fans when a work that shows far greater imagination ‘premieres‘ on video. Not that the straight-to-video tag is solely for lesser quality product - narrow-minded views of what is ‘marketable‘ in cinema terms keeps a lot of quirkier. more intriguing works off the big screen. it‘sjust that larger-than-life effects scenes aren't done justice when cramped within the confines of your telly. Clive Barker has never been one to let a climax pass off with a whimper. While his novels have increasingly moved away from the gory delights of the Banks- ()l‘li/mul short stories into realms of philosophical fantasy. Barker the filmmaker has kept in touch with the horror genre as director of Hal/raiser. Night/need and now Lord (2/ Illusions- (he’s also had executive producer credits on the Hal/ruisw' sequels and the two ('umlrmun movies). it would appear that. while the hooks tend now to dwell on transformations of the spirit. the lilms still play

around with the malleability of human llesh forever

enshrined in Ht'llruiwr's nightmarish Cenohites. ‘The nature oi'cinema is so much more physical]

Barker argues. 'Cinema is about surface. But there’s something very frustrating that drives me back to the arms of the books. A couple of special effects shots in /.m'(l ()I lllll.\l(ill.\' literally took tls months to get riL-‘ht. and I‘d think. “If this was a book. I would have written a paragraph. reworked it three times and that would be it.” But I'm a populist. and it‘s important to do work that finds its way to a large audience of people.‘

Inn! 0/ lllll.\'llill.\. described by its creator as 'a real noir horror movie'. features the Harry D‘Amour character who pops up in the ttmels The (hull Aml Serra! Show and lirt'rri/li'. Taking the world- w'earincss of a Raymond Chandler private detective into the domain of The X-l-‘i/vs. l-larr)’ Played by Qlltiilllllll Lou/rs Scott Bakula —- linds himself up against a bunch of nutty cultists who want to resurrect their evil leader. The darkest forces of

‘The nature at cinema is so much more physical. Cinema is about surtace.’

magic clash with the showbiz. world of illusion as Barker throws in some Grand Guignol set pieces that would make Dario Argento proud.

‘Scott is litter. he doesn‘t have that sallow. woe- bcgone expression. but he inhabits the role heautil'ully.‘ says the director. comparing the screen creation with the figure in his books. Surely. though. when Barker sits down to write the promised linal instalment of his trilogy. he’ll find it more difficult to keep the image of Bakula out of his mind's eye‘.’ ‘l've wondered and worried about that.‘ he admits. ‘lt will delinitely colour my idea of Harry and I will have a different idea about who he is because now I‘ve seen the inside of his apartment on a movie set and I‘ve heard Scott's voice. We‘ll just have to see how that plays out.‘

While he‘s got literary projects knocking around his head that will take years to realise. there's no sign in the near future of Barker getting back behind the camera. Whichever way he decides to let his dual careers progress. it's certain that his ideas will always

. .~ 1 lord 0i Illusions: ‘a real noir horror movie’ challenge the easy confines of the mainstream norm. ‘l was at a screening recently showing Hellruiser.‘ he recounts. ‘and somebody said. "You deal a lot with outsiders.“ Well. yeah. as a gay man. l‘m bound to write about outsiders. l'm bound to talk about the way the world is outside of the enclave of the straight. white. Christian community. l've never been inside the picket fence. and my characters. by and large. don't belong inside the picket fence either. This kind of fiction is a natural place to investigate the areas of our secret selves.’ er/ ()l'lllrisions is relmserljm rental on Illt’ MGM/U/l Hmm' Enm'minmwn label/mm ["11 lo.


the careers oi many a iaded star are littered with ‘prestige’ projects that went belly-up, and thus it proves to be with this plodding liberal conscience drama, obviously intended to prove that Sharon Stone’s award-winning pertormance in Scorsese’s Casino was no iiuke.

She’s Cindy Liggett, death-row inmate awaiting execution tor the irenzied slaying oi her no-good junkie boyiriend, and a hopeless case, you might think, until iiob Morrow’s young idealist lawyer comes along to evaluate her tor the potential State clemency that would reduce her sentence to tile imprisonment. Although world-weary co-worker Bandy Ouaid reckons it’s an open-and- shut case - and there’s pressure irom

above as governor Jack Thompson’s re-election hopes prompt the tirmest law and order stance - the process oi

The last Dance: ‘decent4hearted but resoundineg conventional aflalr’

psychological assessment slowly reveals a more sensitive and troubled soul than the prisoner’s aggressive

outward stance would suggest. But time is running out, and the political omens aren’t good.

Stone does her best white trash posturing in a decent-hearted but resoundineg conventional ailair that looks as square as a W problem pic beside ‘I’im Robbins’s Dead Man ._ _ Walking. She isn’t terrible, but the . ' script can do nothing tor her but a ' tamiliar litany oi abusive childhood and destructive relationships, while Morrow lacks the spark he had in Hui: Show. Beresiord’s handling is respectable enough, but even he must have been embarrassed by the clunky manipulations ot an absurd iinal reel confrontation with the death chamber itseit. Maybe they could call it [lead Gal Walking instead, but it wouldn’t be any livelier. (Trevor Johnston)

The last Dance (18) (Bruce Bereslord, 08, 1996) Sharon Stone, Iieb Morrow, Randy maid. 105 mins. From Fri 16. General release.


The List l6-22 Aug l996 97