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File:Cast a deadly spell 5609.jpg


Cast a Deadly Spell is a 1991 horror/noir movie made for HBO. It was directed by Martin Campbell and written by Joseph Dougherty.

It's 1948. The plot follows Hardboiled Detective Harry Phillip Lovecraft, in a fictional universe where magic is real, monsters and mythical beasts stalk the back alleys, zombies are used as cheap labor, and everyone, except Lovecraft, uses magic every day. Yet, cars, telephones and other modern technology also exist in this world. There's some implication that magic only recently gained widespread use for whatever reason. Lovecraft is hired to recover the Necronomicon, stolen by persons unknown -- although their motives probably aren't: the book contains the rituals needed to awaken and summon the Outer Gods. Complicating Lovecraft's investigation is his former partner, now a crime boss, who is also looking for the book.

A sequel, Witch Hunt, was released by HBO in 1994; Dennis Hopper replaced Fred Ward as Lovecraft.


Cast a Deadly Spell provides examples of the following tropes:

 Connie Stone: Dammit, Phil, everybody's gotta compromise!

Lovecraft: That's what I keep hearing.

Connie: And what makes you so special?

Lovecraft: What makes me special is I'm my own man. When I started out I said there were things I'd do and things I wouldn't do. A lot of guys start out like that, and a lot of them sell out along the way. But the more who fall, the easier it gets. "See, look, everybody compromises, everybody cheats, everybody uses magic." So they empty their ideals out of their pockets and get down to the job of sticking it to their neighbors before they stick it to them, because that's that way it's done. To all of which I say nuts. My collar may be a little frayed, and maybe I need a shoeshine. But nobody's got a mortgage on my soul. I own it. Free and clear.

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