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Cast a Deadly Spell [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Fred Ward, David Warner, Julianne Moore, Clancy Brown, Alexandra Powers
  • Directors: Martin Campbell
  • Writers: Joseph Dougherty
  • Producers: Gale Anne Hurd, Ginny Nugent
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Hbo Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: August 21, 2001
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302233941
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,058 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

A noir thriller set in 1948 L.A., pits Detective Harry Lovecraft against a cast of horrors in his search for a stolen book of ultimate mystical power. ' 'Imagine ?Who Framed Roger Rabbit?? with witches and zombies instead of toons.' ' (USA Today.) ' 'A great way to spend an evening.' ' (Entertainment Weekly)

Customer Reviews

There is a cult following for these two films and Lovecraft in general, do it!
John T.
It has great everything - acting, writing, special effects, directing - please put this out on DVD!
Riann
I have the VHS version and would snap up the DVD yesterday if it were available!
Nancy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Spikewriter on June 15, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
This is definitely a parody of both the paranormal genre and classic hardboiled detectives, but it is done with tremendous style and grace. From the landlady who puts a spell on the cards she gives Fred Ward so they always come up first when he reaches for one of his own to the casual assumption that everyone in Hollywood uses magic, this an entertaining film worth seeing if you catch it on TV.

It'd be better if the geniuses at HBO would release it on DVD because I'd snatch it up in a minute.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By no longer a customer on June 14, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Whether you are an "in the closet/out of the closet" Occultist, you'll love this film spoof of the occult in general, and HP Lovecraft in particular. The scene where Fred Ward has a conversation with a real estate agent who praises the fact that her homes are made with "the finest Thaumaturgy" and builder zombies falling in the background will split your gut...no pun intended. Anyone will enjoy this film; but Occultists will howl. Plus, Old Cthulhu never looked so good...
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Janis Cortese on March 2, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
It's not incisive or heavy and it won't inspire debate, but this movie is an absolute blast nonetheless, and a nice illustration of the fact that a movie doesn't have to be vapid pablum to work as light, fun, happy entertainment. Even the violence isn't anywhere near as gory as it could have been. In general, you'll hit the rewind button 90 minutes after starting the film and be pretty pleased at the way you just spent those 90 minutes.

The story is engaging and fun, Fred Ward (who I've had a soft spot for ever since "The Right Stuff") is perfect as the inexplicably sexy roadworn gumshoe, perfect casting. David Warner plays his standard "Hi, I'm Bob Evil" type of role and does a lovely job at it.

This could have been a lot schlockier than it was if it hadn't been played so straight, but as it is, with the actors playing it *absolutely* straight, you get to enjoy the movie on a variety of levels: just suspending your disbelief and letting yourself fall into the story, and enjoying the general fun of watching it all played so straight. One little wink at the camera would have ruined it.

It's called a comedy, but I'm not sure it is -- it's just that the way the film comes together just has you chuckling out of delight more than laughter.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kevin J. Loria VINE VOICE on January 15, 2011
Format: VHS Tape
A made for HBO tribute to 40's pulp fiction and Lovecraft's mythos, this Detective Lovecraft , like the protagonist in Hammett's Maltese Falcon, is looking for an 'item' the Lovecraftian twist here has that item being the Necronomicon. The story is set in a Chicago of the 40's in which magic and the conveniences of the period are merged, everyone uses magic, except Phillip Lovecraft. I gotta think that Jim Butcher was inspired to create Harry Dresden after seeing this, although Dresden is less reluctant to work magic.

Hope this comes to DvD soon, the sequel as well, a recast WitchHunt, with Hopper as Lovecraft.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Oberon Zell on August 4, 2010
Format: VHS Tape
I LOVE this movie! There was also a marvelous sequel, "Witch Hunt." What will it take to convince HBO to release both of these on a double DVD? I know all Lovecraft fans will buy it!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By SolitaryPhoenix on June 25, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
This deserves a DVD, whether on it's on own, or with a few of similiar, lower-profile films. Why don't the production companies look to see what films people actually *want* to buy, instead of what they think people want to buy? If it's a 'cult' film, they can put a few together; most people tend to like the same type of films, the same actors; it's not brain surgery people! We'd probably have a lot fewer bargain bins at Walmart if they did this! Please, move into the modern world, give us a DVD. :)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John Parker Marmaro on July 15, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
This is such a great, fun movie-- an HP Lovecraft-Dashiell Hammett-hybrid to beat the band: in an alternate universe 1940s Los Angeles, magic is ubiquitous, and everyone uses it: from cops to criminals, from building contractors to restaurateurs. Except one: P.I. H. Phil Lovecraft, wonderfully played by Fred Ward. His landlady (Arnetia Walker) runs a dance school-- and is a Licensed Witch. His ex-flame (Julianne Moore in an early outing) has taken up with his ex-police partner, now a mobster, who dreams of using magic to dominate the world. The great British actor David Warner plays a rich man who is after his stolen copy of The Necronomicon, that grimmest of grimoires. He wants Phil to find it for him, and incidentally protect his virginal daughter, a devotee of the Goddess Artemis/Diana. It's a world where zombies are used as heavies and physical labor, where hits are placed by passing runes (an hommage to the classic horror film, Curse of the Demon) and sending demons to do dirty work is commonplace, with vampire streetwalkers and werewolves in the hoosegow, --- it's quite an interesting concept! There is also a great deal of humor, tongue-in-cheek and otherwise: Phil evades a demon sent after him by kicking it in the crotch, for example- as unpleasant to a demon as to a human, apparently! A well acted, unique premise! Now, HBO Video should get up off their corporate butts and release this delightful film on DVD!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 22, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
I love this movie. It's a quirky mix of hard-boiled detective and occult fantasy. It's funny and clever. I wore out my old VHS copy years ago and would love to have it on DVD.
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