Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Horror Of...Cast A Deadly Spell, A Mystery By Night

Ah. Hello, again. Don't mind me. I'm just out enjoying nature, seeking to call the Great Old Ones back to...Oh, you know.

And out, traipsing about where the Byakhee warble, makes one nostalgic. Perhaps for something with a little mystery. And, of course, a proper dose of horrific doom in the works.

So, let's go for something a bit Lovecraftian. Something from the 90's. Something with Fred Ward, Julianne Moore, and David Warner (and a bit of the old Clancy Brown). Yes, let us Cast a Deadly Spell.

The movie was made in 1991. It was a HBO production. The idea behind the movie is to take the noir detective and merge it with the concepts made manifest by H.P. Lovecraft. The result means that it isn't a real full on Lovecraftian tale. It more borrows from the library of work. But, if you know the many movies made that are based on Lovecraft's work, at least this movie isn't trying to pretend to be faithful.

But the movie could almost exist in that universe. You have ancient gods. You have a club named after a rather noted town from lore. You have the Necronomicon (But that really does get around, doesn't it?)

It, in many ways, is like much of the work that followed Lovecraft's. It takes bits and pieces, and creates a new tale. And that is what it seems authors like Lovecraft intended.

The movie was written by Joseph Dougherty. He's written for TV since the 80's. He's more recently been writing for shows like Ravenswood and Pretty Little Liars. He also wrote a TV movie sequel to this movie.

The director was Martin Campbell. He's directed a number of interesting TV shows and movies. He directed Reilly: Ace of Spies and The Mask of Zorro. He's also directed James Bond movies, Goldeneye and Casino Royale. He also gave us The Legend of Zorro and Green Lantern. Eh.

Now days it's hard to find this movie. I have no idea why it isn't on DVD. It should be!

Luckily, it's not impossible to find. Though, if you forget the name and keep thinking of another Lovecraft "inspired" movie...It can be a bit harder. Damn you, Cthulhu Mansion.

Enjoy that great 80's/early 90's Made For TV Movie trailer music. Oh, that takes me back.

Like I mentioned, the movie borrows from Lovecraft. It almost feels like a continuation. The conceit of the movie is that it's 1948, and everyone knows and makes use of magic.

If you want to, you could see this as continuing from "Call of Cthulhu", "Dunwich Horror", and "Shadow Over Innsmouth". After all the run ins with the Cult of Cthulhu by the police, the military attack on Innsmouth, and the devastation of Dunwich, word got out. There were dark forces in the world. Magic was real, and could be wielded. And over the decade or so after, magic became accepted. And by the 1940's, it was commonplace. It became commoditized. It became a natural part of life. Most lives.

And now about the title? Cast a Deadly Spell. It's a great name for a movie looking for a noir feel. It makes one think of Farewell, My Lovely, Lady in the Lake, or Murder, My Sweet. But my mind usually goes towards Philip Marlowe (by Raymond Chandler). And our protagonist will move much like Marlowe. In fact, as you see the plot, you'll likely notice parallels there to novels/movies like The Big Sleep.

Lovecraft by way of Raymond Chandler? Hmm. Now if we could get a movie that took us to Lovecraft by way of Conan Doyle. (Yes. there is at least one book that does this. -- Shadow Over Baker Street And also at least one video game. -- Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened -- It's a great game.)

"So this isn't American Horror Story? Well, that's a plus."
So, as the movie opens, we are introduced to Hypolite Kropotkin. (Geez. Did the scriptwriter have a grudge with this character?) She's atop a building, casting some runes, and sensing that something is coming. And not the nice kind of something, but the dark end of the everything kind of something.

Something is eager to get into our world.

Hypolite is played by Arnetia Walker. She's appeared in numerous TV shows over the years. She's worked a good deal on Broadway in shows like The Wiz and Dreamgirls. Oddly, I immediately remember her from the old early 90's sitcom, Nurses.

She's affecting a thick accent, which I am assuming is one from a part of the Caribbean. She's playing an enjoyable character, who will come and go from the story/ But if she wasn't there, our hero wouldn't get far.

Meanwhile, we meet out protagonist. H.P. Lovecraft. He's private detective. Jaded. Suspicious. And, in need of cash flow.

"Hey, Bradbury? You ever wonder what it would be like
if we were writers, instead of detectives?" "That's crazy
He's just finished his latest case. It's ended with turning his client in to the police. He doesn't play the fool for any dame.

He and the cops show off how tough they all are, with bravado. Then one of the cops, Grimaldi, suggests that H.P. may have slept with his client. This leads her, the client, to deck Grimaldi, and leave him on the ground. (Looks like someone has a low DEX.) Everyone's tough in this town.

The lead detective arrives, and checks with Lovecraft. His name is Bradbury, like the great writer. Lovecraft hands over the murder weapon. A voodoo doll.

H.P. Lovecraft is being played by the ever enjoyable Fred Ward. He's been entertaining us all in so many movies. The Right StuffTremorsTremors 2Remo Williams. He's always an interesting actor to watch. And here he gets to play at being the gruff PI. He's seen it all. And it's hurt him. But he retains a certain decency.

And, yeah. The detective in named Lovecraft. Just in case you aren't going to pick up on all the other references in the movie. Still, no harm. And it could be worse...I could have reviewed Cthulhu Mansion. (You, Are. Warned.)

Bradbury is played by the enjoyable character actor Charles Hallahan. He was in many different shows and movies in his life, including Silkwood. Of note, he also did voice work for the animated series Gargoyles.

"Oh sure. People are always ready to blame the evil magic
Also, In case I forget in another movie, let's cover something here. Voodoo dolls.

They aren't voodoo. Well, they are in New Orleans...You see, the concept of a doll in magic comes from stories and folk practices of Europe. It can be found in the form of items like poppets. Dolls or puppets. And the point of it is to pass sympathetic magic to who the doll represents. Like many European concepts, it was tied to voodoo (and it's variants) because it was known of in tales of European witchcraft. So people assume one magic custom is the same as another's magic custom. And like the worst assumed of European witchery, it was also assumed of voodoo.

Now, among voodoo practitioners in New Orleans it has been embraced. (But it's still not a weapon.) So it does have the voodoo connection, starting early in the 20th century. But it is not a common or long used item.

Noted here, I don't believe in any power of magic or religion. But the history is always worth being aware of.

Bradbury and Lovecraft stand back and lament the state of the world. Things changed. Now people can kill with a doll from a distance. It's so impersonal.

For Lovecraft, it is a matter of principal. He doesn't trust magic. He doesn't like being around it. So he doesn't use it. He's the magic free PI.

Bradbury notes that the police knows that something is coming. They don't know what, but they are worried.

I guess Hypolite isn't alone in sensing things. Makes sense. If the police are dealing with magic crime, they also are also working out how to sense bad trouble brewing. (I guess the LAPD has seers and scryers? And no Tom Cruise charge. Good.)

"Is this the best use of Avada Kedavra?"
As a reminder of how pervasive magic is, Grimaldi gets a cigarette from Lovecraft and than lights it with fire he draws from his hand. As he says, it just makes things easier.

Even with magic your bags end up
in the wrong place.
And that is what we will see off and on in the movie. People levitating bags or bottles around. It makes life easier. (And sometimes too easy, like for kids with spells to smash a neighborhood car.) It is also showy, one might show status, or authority.

So kid's learn a magic spell, then immediately go out and
blow up a car. That sounds about right.

From there we go to the Dunwich Room (A homage to The Dunwich Horror.) Inside a shady deal is about to go down. A courier arrives with a package. He's nervous and sweaty, and eager to get out of the club.

Don't make me pull this mustache off, and get really
The courier is met by a small man in a white suit and hat. And then by the boss, Harry Bordon. Bordon is a tall serious figure, in a white suit with a red flower in his lapel.

Harry Bordon is played by the every lovable/terrifying Clancy Brown. He's always a pleasure to watch on TV or in movies. Highlander. Sleepy Hollow TV series. Earth 2. The Shawshank RedemptionStarship Troopers. Pet Cemetery 2. The Adventures of Buckaroo BanzaiSpongebob Squarepants. Star Wars: Clone Wars. Adventure Time. Gargoyles. The Legend of Korra. He's even been Lex Luther in the DC Animated Series (and other characters). Really, he's all over animated superhero shows. (Currently he's doing the voice work for the Red Hulk.)

The little man in the white suit is Mr. Tugwell. He's played by Raymond O'Connor. He's another veteran character actor. He's been all over the place. Including appearances in Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Babylon 5, Sentinel, Tales from the Crypt, and Halloween 4.

The courier is a nervous wreck. He's in such a rush, he almost runs out without getting paid for his work. But Bordon stops him, and calls Tugwell over with his payoff.

He then tries to leave, running into a towering man behind him. This figures eyes are pale. It's a zombie. The zombie stands frozen. The courier, Mickey Locksteader, slips around the still figure and runs off.

Tugwell then announces that he's going for a walk, and takes the zombie with him.

This is a lot to go through to get your hands on that
Mr. Boogedy pop up history book.
It's only now that Bordon checks his package. It's a large book. It has an odd ornate front. And when he opens the book, it's full of blank pages. It's the wrong package. He's been tricked. He needs Mickey back, alive.

But Tugwell is gone, and can't hear this news. He's too busy tracking Mickey, who's run to the train station.

There a blonde is awaiting Mickey. When he arrives, he can't approach, as he sees that Tugwell has followed him. So he passes the blonde, Lilly. He leaves a note in some newspapers, and then hides in a bathroom stall.

Tugwell then enters the bathroom after Mickey. And the blonde checks the message, and sees that it is a warning. Lilly heads off, stopping at a storage locker for a package. And it looks an awful lot like the one that Mickey gave Borden.

In the bathroom, Tugwell is extremely calm. He's got Mickey trapped.

Tugwell stops and notes the stall Mickey is in. Then he sends a trail of fire along the floor to the stall, blowing it's doors off, and sending Mickey flying out. Mickey staggers to his feet, covered in soot, and begs Tugwell to let him go.

"Oh, god! Have I just become a cautionary tale of train
station bathrooms?"
He pulls out the money he was given, to offer Tugwell. And now he realizes that it's all cut newspaper. Then Tugwell causes the paper to spin into a whirlwind. It spins around Mickey, slicing into his skin. As it tears him apart, Tugwell, checks himself in the mirror, cleaning away any stray blood. And after a minute, it all stops, and Mickey falls to the floor, bloody and dead.

Tugwell exits, whistling and pleased with himself.

Back at Lovecraft's office, things are as you'd imagine. Dingy. Dark.

"Mr. Lovecraft! That tie is so loud it's disrupting my class
next door."
But he receives a visitor. His landlord. It's Hypolite, from earlier. Along with being a wielder of magic, she also runs a dance academy. And from there she rents Lovecraft an office. (You can also see on their joint door that she's a licensed witch. With an Identification Number. Infernal Bureaucracy.)

She's annoyed with him, he's behind on the rent. (The case earlier obviously hurt his bank account.) But she's been rather generous, giving him time to come up with money. But she wants the money soon.

Luckily he has a new client. And he's off to see them.

The Hackshaws.

They live on a nice size estate outside of LA. As he drives on to the estate he has to suddenly stop. A unicorn crosses the road...to get to the other side. heh

Crap! Does this mean I'm a replicant? Or does it mean Lovecraft is?

And then a blonde woman rides by, a bow on her back, and a suspicious scowl on her face.

Lovecraft is pretty blase about it all. Guess if you've seen one unicorn...

"Surely you can trust a man that has played both
Bob Cratchit and Jor-El."
At the house, Lovecraft is let in, and meets Amos Hackshaw.

Amos Hackshaw is played by the wonderful David Warner. David Warner, is a treasure. He's been in so much. The Omen. Time After TimeFrom Beyond the Grave. In The Mouth Of Madness. The Unnamable II. Necronomicon: Book of Dead, Scream 2Time Bandits. Wild Palms. Tron. Tom Jones. Twin Peaks. Babylon 5. Star Trek V. Star Trek VI. Star Trek: The Next Generation. WallanderTales from the Crypt. The Outer LimitsThe Adventures of Brisco County Jr. Doctor WhoHogfatherA Christmas Carol (1984). He did the voice of Ra's Al Ghul in Batman: The Animated Series. He also appeared as Jor-El in Lois and Clark. And he's done voice work for Gargoyles.

Hackshaw stands in a dark room, cautiously watching Lovecraft. The room also has a number of aquarium tanks in it. There seem to be fish in some, but Lovecraft quips about a squid in one of them. Hackshaw says it isn't squid. I wonder what it could be?

When Lovecraft enters the room, Hackshaw demands that he empty his pockets, so he can see what he's carrying. Lovecraft obliges, and shows nothing unusual for a detective.

Hackshaw is still suspicious, and asks to see the area around Lovecraft's neck. After he finally obliges, Amos Hackshaw is genuinely surprised that Lovecraft really isn't carrying any magical items.

But satisfied, Hackshaw explains his problem. He had a chauffeur, named Larry Willis. Hackshaw fired him after he was suspicious that Willis was eyeing his daughter, Olivia. His daughter is important to him. She's his only child, 16 years of age. She's the only remaining connection to his departed wife. So Hackshaw is dedicated to protecting her innocence. Her purity.

When he fired Willis, a book was taken. It is somewhat valuable, but, really, it is more about sentimentality. (...) It is called the Necronomicon. (And even if you've never read Lovecraft's work, you probably have heard that name. ...And if you watch enough horror movies, you also would know it.) He calls it just an old book of esoteric magic.

So the pieces begin falling into place.

While Hackshaw is leery of the price Lovecraft wants, he clearly shows that what he really wants his a detective that isn't interested in or informed about magic. He hires Lovecraft.

This scene reminds me some of the start of The Big Sleep, getting hired to find a missing chauffeur. It familiarity is added to in the next scene, when he crosses paths with Olivia, clad in white.

"Come on. Aren't you buying that
I'm 16?"
She was the women that was chasing the unicorn. And now she has blood all over her shirt. She attempts to flirt with Lovecraft. She also indicates that she searched his car for information on him. She pokes him with the idea she knows things, but won't tell him.

She also goes into a ritual she'll be doing later, to honor Diana, for her hunting of the unicorn. She lays on the seduction thick, and it just amuses Lovecraft. A kid playing at a game.

Olivia is played by Alexandra Powers. She appears in shows and movies going back to the early 80's. She also appeared in the under appreciated shows Brimstone and Fantasy Island (1990's).

"Yeah, I know. Goliath and his clan got the better deal."
When Lovecraft finally leaves, Hackshaw awakens a gargoyle from the top of his home. He sends it out to follow Lovecraft.

Lovecraft heads out to the last address of Willis. There he meets the man that boarded Willis. He's busy dealing with a car that won't start. He convinced that the issue is gremlins. And it is.

Now, gremlins, if you are interested, emerged from myths created by British flyers. Starting between the two World Wars, they began developing stories of creatures to explain there misfortune. These stories grew and spread, particularly during the World War 2. And they gained a foothold in American pop culture (in Warner and Disney cartoons, and in movies like Gremlins).

"*snicker* *snicker* Don't worry it's the 1940's. We can sue Chris Columbus."

Lovecraft convinces the man to let him search Willis's old room. There he finds a note saying to go to Union Station with one bag. He also finds a picture taken at The Dunwich Room. It shows Mickey and Lilly.

This takes Lovecraft to the Dunwich Room. (The gargoyle hovers nearby.)

The Dunwich Room. Come for the cocktails, stay for the HORROR.
Inside, the place is swinging. The big band is playing, a crooner is belting out a song, and the patrons are dancing. Sitting at the bar, Lovecraft eyes the photographer walking around taking people's pictures. He then asks the bartender about seeing Larry Willis or Mickey. He gets no answers.

Then a singer steps out to do a number, one Connie Stone. Lovecraft recognizes the name immediately.

"No, I am not married to Roger Rabbit."

Connie Stone is played by the always engaging Julianne Moore. She's been of plenty of fun movies. Of interest here, she's been in Tales from the Darkside, The Big Lebowski, And Ideal Husband, Evolution, and Children of Men. She is always good at elevating material. And here she gets to play the tough femme fatale. Who knows whose side she's really on. And, seeing as Who Framed Roger Rabbit? came out three years before, it's easy to imagine it may have influenced casting and design.

Clearly from his reaction, Lovecraft knows her well. He looks away her whole song, lost in thoughts and memories.

After the song, he walks up to her. They banter for awhile, being friendly, then catty, to each other.

Connie stonewalls on knowing anything about his case. And then Tugwell and his zombie pop up, and demand that he come talk to Bordon. They make sure he knows it's not a request.

When Lovecraft enters Borden's office, he catches the tail end of an argument between him and his top crooner. The crooner wants out, to go to make records. Bordon fixes this by grabbing his neck, muttering a spell, and disrupting the crooner's voice and making him impossible to understand. A nice curse to end his career.

"You know with this mustache, people have been saying
I look like Errol Flynn." "I thought people were saying
you look like Terry Thomas."
Then Bordon turns to Lovecraft. He asks about how is business is going. It's friendly banter.

The two have known each other a long time. They once were in the police together. After certain events, Bordon went into business for himself. And Lovecraft went off disillusioned to become a PI.

They also talk a bit about Bordon's zombie usage. Sure they rot after so many months, but they don't eat or sleep. They don't turn on you. And they are cheap to buy and ship in. Apparently they get made in the West Indies and shipped in bulk. ...That is creepy to say the least. And if it's legal...Wow. But that is this world, troubling.

I should say on the topic of zombies, that they are mix zombie concepts here. The traditional zombie is a living person that is controlled. The dead and rotting zombies are a newer idea. I'd rather get more into the topic with an actual "zombie" movie. But it's worth noting the difference.

Bordon shows at least a little interest or concern in Lovecraft's life. But it only goes so far. Like when Lovecraft quips about if he's read any good books lately. (A clear fishing trip to see if Bordon is tied to the theft.) Bordon is cool to the idea, covering.

When Lovecraft pushes the question, Bordon has him politely pushed out of the office.

Then Tugwell decides to take another walk. (But he doesn't seem to visit Lovecraft straight away.)

"That's right. You're now 2 degrees away from
Kevin Bacon."
The next day Lovecraft awakens with a hangover, and a visitor. Olivia has stopped in. He takes her out for some food, and information.

She laments her state, cooped up. Her father keeps her locked away, and then spends no time with her. She had to sneak out to see him.

Tugwell sits nearby, watching. (Hey! There you are!) Tugwell writes out some cryptic note for the diner's owner. Then he leaves.

The owner passes the note to Lovecraft, and then quickly heads into the back. Lovecraft, seeing the note, runs after him.

He catches him and holds the paper between them. He asks why he gave it to him. Why did he give him runes? What will they do?

And Lovecraft starts fighting with the owner and one of the cooks. During the fight, the dishwasher picks up the note from the ground and reads over it. (Lovecraft has the sense to know to not read a mysterious note passed him.) This starts the spell up.

The owner grabs the note away, and asks Lovecraft to take it.

Then, a pot begins boiling over, and an ominous red light fills the room. The sides of a large cooking pot buckle, and then a creature begins rising from it.

"Well, it seems that the plot is getting stirred up. Heh heh...What? So it's only okay when it's the
Cryptkeeper does it?"

It jumps from the pot, and leaps at the diner owner. It quickly tears into him.

Lovecraft then knocks the creature into the freezer to trap it. Then the owner stands up, not looking good at all, and falls over dead.

The police come and pull Lovecraft in for some questioning.

Instantly more interesting than
It's interesting to see how this police operate. They have someone dressed like a stereotypical fortune teller, using a Ouija board. And in holding, there's a vampire.

But Lovecraft has seen this all before, and just waits his turn to get questioned.

Look at this and tell me you think the police ever use

"What do you mean, imprinting is
The reason Lovecraft is stuck waiting, the lieutenant is questioning a werewolf. It's an issue run into every full moon. (And depending on how bad the movie your watching is, that can be every night.)

This world is honestly more interesting than many magic worlds we see. We are only seeing the surface, but it would actually be interesting to see this world explored more.
The Bradbury is a friend so he's more concerned about what happen. Who would cast runes at Lovecraft? Lovecraft isn't talking.

"I don't know any magic spells, but I know the words
to end your law enforcement career."
The lieutenant has to get more serious, and push him for answers.

While he's doing that, Olivia is talking to Grimaldi, chatting him up. She's just enjoying the new experience of going to a police station.

Then Lovecraft's lawyer arrives. Trouble is that he doesn't have a lawyer. It is clear that it's Hypolite's lawyer. (He's also her cousin.) He legal speaks Lovecraft out.

I want more of Hypolite and her family.

Hypolite followed his vibrations, and got her cousin. She came to help him, but she's getting out of town. With what's coming, she wants to be out of the way.

"You know the saying, 'When the stars
are right'? That's tomorrow."
She explains to him that the next night will see a planetary alignment that will be bad news. The wrong planets will be in the right place at the wrong time. (Or, the "the stars will be right".) It will be bad. (You know, dogs and cats living together, etc.)

She looks at the sky and grows more troubled. But Lovecraft isn't going anywhere.

He mentions the Necronomicon to Hypolite, and she is disgusted. She explains that that book will bring about the end of the world.

Lovecraft drops off Olivia at home. Hackshaw isn't pleased, but seems happier when he learns that Lovecraft is connecting Willis to Mickey and then to Bordon. He tells Lovecraft to continue.

That's either a gargoyle watching him, or Batman.
As Lovecraft drives home, he spots Grimaldi tailing him. He stops him and tells him off. Then he gets a crazy idea and tells him to keep an eye on Olivia for him.

When Lovecraft finally gets back to his office, he finds Connie waiting. They argue a little, then they get to the romancing.

The next morning Connie starts talking about what she's seen, relating to Lovecraft's case.

She did see a Mickey at the club. She did see a book that he brought to Bordon. And Mickey is dead. He brought the wrong book, and Tugwell killed him. She also met Lilly, but can't say much else.

What do you call a Chekov's gun
that doesn't gets unused?
As he heads out from his office, he sees that Hypolite is still in her studio. Stopping in to check on her, she tells him that she's just about to leave. Before she goes she slaps a bracelet on him. It's a white magic talisman.

She tells him that he's a fool, but a good one. If he's after the Necronomicon, he'll need the protection.

...And, I'll let you in on a little secret. This. Bracelet. Is. Never. Brought. Up. Again.

Come on! It's presented. It's foisted. It's made a key moment in a scene. Lovecraft is suddenly using a bit of magic. This should mean something.

But it's never alluded to. It's never shown to help him, or keep him safe. It. Does. Nothing.

I can only imagine that in an early draft of the script that it saves him from one of the things coming for him later in the movie, but the scene got cut or changed. It's just galling though. I saw this and got interested to see how it would be applied to the plot.


For shame.

Anyway, taking the header of the note he found at Willis's, he heads to Vista Bonita. It's a large tract of land, meant for building homes. It's mostly empty now. But he finds a collection of zombies being used as cheap and incompetent labor in building homes at the center of the tract. They are a mess.

He looks into Mickey's ties. He started the efforts to build a new community through magic. As he learns, we can see zombies breaking things all over, and also falling over, and off tall heights. This is a bad idea. It's clearly a con.

Lovecraft also learns that Lilly was here, and was being called Mickey's sister. He then gets information about the hotel she is staying at.

"Really, you're trying to pull off a Veronica Lake?
In 1948?"
Lovecraft has Connie meet him at the hotel. He has her make contact, so he can meet Lilly, but wants Connie out of the way.

He makes contact, and then coerces Lilly to take him up to the hotel room to talk...Ah, the 40's?

And then, up in the room, he decks Lilly..? I know there's tough, but shouldn't detective do more detecting? Yeesch! Sure, Lilly is tied to a crime, but, come on! Lilly wasn't offering any threat.

But, hey, as he searches the room, he leaves Lilly some booze to have when awake again. Chivalry, etc.

And then he finds the book.

"Well, this sure beats finding a bible in your hotel room."
Lilly wakes up now, confused and scared. Lovecraft walks over, and pulls off Lilly's wig to reveal...Willis. ...Is this supposed to make the decking more acceptable...?

A story about the 40's written in the 90's...Things are different now/then. So it's hard to be sure how to explain this. It isn't made clear who this is. Is Lilly an alternative life, that Willis steps in and out of? Is Lilly who Willis chose to become, and be? Even if this is a noir story, with all the possible pitfalls, I want to be respectful. So, I am going to not change what I am calling this character, Lilly. I am assuming that she is Lilly.

Well, Lovecraft doesn't seem to have any attitude about Lilly. Thankfully, it seems to be taking more of a 90's attitude in this characterization.

Lovecraft worked out the tie between Willis and Lilly. Both full names were anagrams. It explains Willis's ties to Mickey. And, Willis was the only man that Olivia never bothered to flirt with.

Lovecraft gives Lilly the facts, Mickey is dead.

Lilly explains that while she was dating Mickey, Bordon wanted someone to get inside the Hackshaw home. Also, Hackshaw was extremely interested in getting the Vista Bonita land. It seemed to tie into the Necronomicon. Lilly stole the Necronomicon for Bordon, and a duplicate that was made for insurance. Then Mickey planned to sell Bordon the fake, and then sell the real one back to Hackshaw.

Quite a little scam. But we know how that went.

Then Lilly brings up that the Old Ones will come back now, and take the world. Yog Sothoth, Cthulhu, (Name dropper.), and the rest. When someone uses the book, it will open the path for them to return.

And the key to this is Olivia.

Before Lovecraft can learn why, the windows explode into the room. The gargoyle has come for it's due. ...The Book.

"No, really. Why did Goliath never let me in the clan?"
Lovecraft tries to save Lilly, but the gargoyle jumps on her, and kills her. Sigh...Guess we couldn't not have that. Have her survive. Also Lovecraft's gun has no effect on this creature.

Lovecraft tries to keep the book away from the creature, but it chases him around.

And can I just be amused for a moment, as the gargoyle stands annoyed at the fact Lovecraft keeps shooting it ineffectually?

"Really? Have you never seen a Superman serial?"
Lovecraft manages to get out of the room, and runs with Connie. She takes him back to her place. But Bordon is there waiting. Connie called him in.

"...But I don't want to take a walk."
And now that Bordon has his book, he gets into an argument with Tugwell. He killed Mickey too quickly (or right when Bordon told him to). So Bordon has the zombie take Tugwell out for a walk.

This seems tactically dumb. He's just removed all his muscle from the room.

While Tugwell is being drowned, Bordon knocks Lovecraft out. They then take a drive.

Bordon is feeling triumphant. He's bested Lovecraft. He's got the Necronomicon. And soon he'll have Olivia. She's key because she's a virgin. (But I'm sure you already worked that.)

If they don't have a virgin, things go bad.

And tonight is the night, or you have to wait 666 years. ...Sure, why not.

"What? I've also played the Head of the Assassin's Guild,
Jack the Ripper, Ra's al Gul, Gul Madred,
and the Archmage."
Getting to Vista Bonita, they find Hackshaw waiting. He's brought his daughter, gagged.

He's waited her whole life for this moment, when he could sacrifice her. And then he will have access to vast and unimaginable power.

Hackshaw goes on a bit.

With this, he will be made a god. And Bordon will be able to rule the world. Sure, the world will be filled with the dead, and be a ruin, but it will be his.

Bordon gets ready to hand over the book, and Connie shoots him. He drops to the ground, and Connie reveals herself as eager to take his place. Oh, yeah. As a true femme fatale, she's been bidding her time, waiting for her chance to grab the power and glory. The world is going to get screwed over, so she wants to end up on top of whatever comes.

Still, she offers to let Lovecraft come with her, but he refuses the deal.

"How am I supposed to look someone up if they are
And as she readies to kill him, the zombie steps in and crushes her hand. She drops the gun, and Hackshaw gets it. It seems he now controls the zombie (or maybe he could at anytime). He stopped the Lovecraft's murder, as he wants him to see what is coming. (He's getting cocky.)

Then Hackshaw sits his daughter down, and begins looking through the Necronomicon. As he recites from it, you get a nice mix of Lovecraftian figures, Cthulhu to the Black Goat of the Woods.

"Shut your eyes, Connie.. Don't look at it, no matter
what happens!"

The clouds move, the wind rages, and a silhouette begins to cover the moon. (Also, Hackshaw's gargoyle is in the background jumping around and dancing. Someone never got enough attention back in the underworld.)

And then the ground begins to tremble, and break apart.

Eh. What do you expect for California? But have you seen how cheap the land is going for?
And Cthulhu rises.

And what can I say? It's an idea of Cthulhu...by way of Boss Nass and Jabba the Hutt.

"Heh. Heh. Nothing can go wrong now."
And Hackshaw has brought it snacks.

Hackshaw is now ready to receive his reward, for destroying the world. But Cthulhu isn't happy. He picks up Olivia, and then quickly drops her. Hachshaw runs for the book, and is quickly caught.

"Crap! This is just a Dungeon Masters Guide!"

"Yeah, you better save me. I haven't paid you yet."
He begins to be dragged away, and Lovecraft tries to save him.

And, hey, there's the magic bracelet...doing nothing.

"...But I thought you wanted a virgin?"

Eaten by an anus mouth...How classy.
Lovecraft loses his hold. And Hackshaw is consumed.

Lovecraft frees Olivia, who's obviously distraught. It's been a rough night. Dad kept her to be sacrificed. Dad tries to sacrifice her. Dad got eaten by an alien god being.

Then Olivia remembers that Grimaldi was locked in the car. Seems he was drug along.

And we learn that Grimaldi slept with Olivia, sabotaging the ritual. (Another victory for libido.) He saved the world! ...By sleeping with a 16 year old...? Man this movie is rough on you.

Of course now Olivia learns that Grimaldi is married. Kid, your first love usually ends up being an asshole...particularly when it ends up being...Yeah.

Lovecraft then checks on Connie. Her hand's broken, but she'll live. He admits he has feelings for her, still. But, she has to be taken in for killing Bordon (I wonder if there is anything on the books for when almost help in to ending the world?).

Back at his office, Lovecraft finds that Hypolite has already returned. She could tell things would turn out right.

 Lovecraft monologues about things now. He's ready for the day to start. Things should be better now. Safer.

After all, he has the book.

Boy, it makes you curious where they go next. And there is a second movie! And it has nothing to do with anything in this movie...Damn.

This isn't the greatest movie around. But among the shows that HBO was producing back in the early 90's, it is pretty good. (Hey! Things have changed a lot in the last 2 decades.)

This movie gives you it's all, if you want something that looks like the nasty lovechild of Lovecraft and Chandler. It creates an interesting world. It gives you some interesting characters. It takes you on a ride to find our Necronomicon. And it gives us an amazing cast.

True, it's not the most faithful take on Lovecraft, but I am not that bothered. I always like seeing where Lovecraft's concepts can be taken or played with. It probably would have been a more interesting tale with more mythos, but I am happy with what we all get.

As it is, this movie would have freaked H.P. Lovecraft out. The black people in the movie are the most virtuous characters. There's a romance involving an LGBT couple. And that is great to see the mythos used to rise about the deep flaws in the original author.

I just really wish that they'd chosen to work more in this world they made. It's such a ripe environment for interesting little tales. It's a missed opportunity.

So, with one really good movie in this vein around, don't miss an opportunity to take it in, and enjoy it. Sure, there is no DVD out there. But there are ways to see it. Like here:

Next time out, it looks like it's that time of your where we need to look at something with a bit of heart...a lot of blood...and a crack accounting staff...? I'm sure you've never heard of it, but I hope you'll be finding it interesting. It's time for the undead to incorporate....and find love.

Also, if you 'd like another opinion on Cast a Deadly Spell, check out the review by Derek the Bard:

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