3

I'm not asking for an exhaustive list, or even a list at all. The man certainly thinks himself capable of causing some sort of doomsday or apocalypse, but the movie's onscreen portrayal of magic is much more mundane. Absent some sort of widespread existential crisis (billions of people just despairing and giving up), it seems as if conventional weapons would make him dead long before he could complete the job.

Between him and his protoge (Swann), we only see the following:

  • The ability to cause people to see the world around them in "bad acid trip" mode (requires close proximity, even physical contact)
  • Levitation of themselves, and other objects (up to car size/mass)
  • Breathing fire (no farther than 10ft, other limitations)
  • Surviving some wounds that would be fatal in others, but still weakened
  • The ability to astral project as bad 1990s CG
  • Survive buried for 10 years (but still subject to putrefaction)
  • Open a bottomless pit in the ground (but with a bottom)
  • Make it rain indoors
  • Make it a hot summer day indoors

I'm just not impressed. So I'm wondering what it is that I'm not getting... this looks like an Armageddon that the Air National Guard could clear up in about an hour's time. What gives?

4

You've hit the nail on the head. Like most cult leaders (e.g. those without magical powers) he's become obsessed with his own publicity and has started to buy into his own lies about being able to create an apocalypse merely by thinking about it.

Although he does possess genuine magical powers, the reality is that the majority of those powers (and the things he accomplished with them, such as murdering his followers) border on feats that could be accomplished by anyone, irrespective of magical ability.

Barker (on his own website) described Nix thusly;

"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

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