Friday, September 25, 2009

No Craft Like Lovecraft Pt.4 Magic Hour

Cast A Deadly Spell(1991)
Directed By Martin Campbell

Fred Ward plays Los Angeles gum shoe H. Philip Lovecraft, in a 1940's where everyone uses magic in their daily lives.Its a film noir fantasy where the men lite cigarettes by summoning flames in their hands, faded Hollywood starlets sell themselves for cheap glamours to hide their age and decay, and Zombie butlers, construction workers, and goons can be freshly imported from the West Indies. Lovecraft is hired to find a book for a rich new client, something called "The Necronomicon", and he has to find it by mid-night two days time. Lovecraft doesn't do magic though, not that he doesn't believe it works but for personal reasons he doesnt like to discuss in typical "hard boiled" fashion.He rents out an office next to a known and venerated witch, a Mrs. Kropotkin, who gives him magical and spiritual advice when the traditional detective work runs dry. Along the way he develops a relationship with a young Julianne Moore playing a lounge singer and the main squeeze of the citie's "big magic".He also has run ins with what is supposed to be a demon in a white suit (a reocurring character in "Witchhunt" a sequel staring Dennis Hopper as Lovecraft). "Cast A Deadly Spell" is an amusing detective, horror, fantasy, comedy flick, and a welcome lighthearted addition to the Cthulu Mythos. I had vague memories of seeing this on HBO as a kid, which I had half doubted were real until finding this again. The special effects are decent for the time, and used to minimal effect. Not a great movie, but an enjoyable effort that feels like this would have been the beginnings of a good TV show, or at least the kind I would have watched back then.

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