Cast a Deadly Spell

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 886
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Movie Info

This clever and well-crafted production (produced for Home Box Office) goes the distance with its innovative concept, which is equal parts Raymond Chandler and H.P. Lovecraft. Taking place in 1948 Hollywood -- in an alternate reality where magic spells, curses and demons are commonly used and accepted -- the story revolves around hard-boiled gumshoe Harry P. Lovecraft (Fred Ward, looking nothing like his character's namesake and everything like Mike Hammer), the only detective in the business who relies on brains and instinct instead of gazing into a crystal ball or casting runes. This pure perspective is sought out by wealthy eccentric Amos Hackshaw (David Warner), who is trying to retrieve the legendary "Necronomicon" (a key component in the works of the real H.P. Lovecraft). The book is reputed to have the power to release the "Elder Gods" from their cosmic confines and return them to Earth, whereupon Hackshaw believes they will appoint him ruler of all mankind. The chief rival for possession of the book is a seedy gangster (Raymond O'Connor) whose favorite nightclub singer (Julianne Moore) takes a shine to Harry. Followed by a sequel, Witch Hunt, which applies a more sublime (if unnecessary) re-interpretation of the material, and features Dennis Hopper in the Lovecraft Role.

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Fred Ward
as Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft
Clancy Brown
as Harry Bordon
Julianne Moore
as Connie Stone
David Warner
as Amos Hackshaw
Alexandra Powers
as Olivia Hackshaw
Lee Tergesen
as Larry Willis/Lily
Arnetia Walker
as Hypolite Kropotkin
Charles Hallahan
as Detective Bradbury
Ken Thorley
as Mickey Locksteader
Peter Allas
as Det. Grimaldi
Ritch Brinkley
as Owl Wagon Manager
David Downing
as Thadius Pilgrim
Colin Drake
as Butler Meadows
Scott Lincoln
as Bartender
Curt Sobel
as Band Leader
George P. Wilbur
as Owl Wagon Cook
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Critic Reviews for Cast a Deadly Spell

All Critics (1)

Audience Reviews for Cast a Deadly Spell

  • Oct 04, 2011
    HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS MOVIE EXISTED!?!?!?!? Directed by Martin Campbell (Golden Eye & Casino Royal), starring Fred Ward, Clancy Brown, Julianne Moore and David Warner. Cast a Deadly Spell is Lovecraft Noir, complete with hard boiled dialog, grizzled PI's, dirty cops, femme fatales, magic and monsters. Awesome awesome awesome.
    Ken S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 24, 2010
    While the naming of our lead Howard Phillips Lovecraft was pointless and done purely for stunt reasons, as was the presence of the Old Ones during the climax, the majority of the film is actually a very clever, very watchable exercise in droll comedy and love of noir. This feels like something Clive Barker could have written and would have made a terrific early '90s tv series.
    Eduardo C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 05, 2008
    Zombies, vampires, werewolves, gremlins, drag queens. Add H.P. Lovecraft, the Necronomicon and a bit of magic and you've got yourself one odd film noir.
    vieras e Super Reviewer
  • Jan 05, 2007
    It's like HP Lovecraft meets Roger Rabbit... or something. Has all the elements of the classic Film Noir, and some great (and admittedly not so great) monster effects. Worth it for David Warner alone, but Fred Ward's detective, Phil Lovecraft, is right up there with Spade and Marlowe for me.
    Steve B Super Reviewer

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