Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Best Halloween Movie You've Never Seen

From a time when HBO didn't suck. 

Cast A Deadly Spell.

This film is a loving and clever tribute to Tinsel Town film noir, H.P Lovecraft (before he became a Thought Criminal) and The Maltese Falcon.  This flick is China Town meets Big Trouble in Little China.

It's a classic that never got a chance to be a classic.  

Phil Lovecraft is a hard boiled kind of PI, in a 1940s world where magic is real.  Sure magic comes with a price, but so does Social Security.  Our great grandkids will figure something out when that bill comes due, so why worry about this?  

Phil Lovecraft was a cop who didn't look the other way when he should've and now he's having to get by as private dick to pay his rent and his rent is overdue. 

His old boss Lieutenant Bradbury (I love every part of this movie) meets him at the scene of an arrest.  Sadly it's his client, which means that Phil ain't getting paid (see the aforementioned rent) but that turned out to be the least of ole Phil's worries.  Ya' see something big was coming and that something was bad.  It started that very night and it started with a dame.  Cause it always starts with a dame...

If you aren't interested...I pity you.

Phil Lovecraft easily meets Raymond Chandler's description of the fictional detective from the Simple Art of Murder.  Class is now in session.



"In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor -- by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things.
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He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man's money dishonestly and no man's insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks -- that is, with a rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness.
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The story is this man's adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in."


Class dismissed.

I will be frank with you.  The action scenes don't meet modern standards. And neither do the special effects but there is an old school charm to them as they were mostly live shots.

The cast is absolutely great.  Fred Ward, Julianne Moore (when she was at her hottest), Clancy Brown and David Warner.

They all brought their A game.

When I first saw it.  I was desperate for more.

Sadly, I got it.

There was a sequel to it that was just fucking awful in everyway it could be. It went hard Left and all of the charm (as well as Fred Ward) was banished.

SJWism killed that franchise in it's cradle.  HBO buried the film, I am certain out of Lefty embarrassment.

But your Dark Herald has dug deep into the bowels of YouTube to retrieve it for you my beloved readers.

Enjoy.




Not the dame I mentioned earlier.
Lets be very clear about that one.




6 comments:

Felix Bellator said...

Glad to find another fan of this excellent work. Delightful crossover of film noir and Lovecraftian horror. It is Chinatown for that genre.

owlish said...

Loved this movie. Didn't really like the sequel. Now I guess I need to go back and watch it, see exactly how it failed.

Emmett Fitz-Hume said...

Love this film. I was 15 or so when it came out on HBO and it was my introduction to Lovecraft. My father explained to me who the detective was named after and down to the library and down the rabbit hole I went.

Initially, I wanted to watch it because Remo Williams was in it. Fred Ward makes everything he is in better.

Had no idea there was a sequel. I am now morbidly curious. Enough to maybe watch it.

Cataline Sergius said...

@Emmett

The plot of that one is McCarthyism.

Witches are suddenly viewed as subversives and are being blacklisted.

All of the charm of the original is completely missing in that polemic. Also Fred Ward isn't playing Lovecraft, Dennis Hopper is.

Emmett Fitz-Hume said...

@Cataline

Well, if the McCarthyism/Witch angle weren't enough to ward me off, the presence of Dennis Hopper would be. With the exception of his brief scene with Christopher Walken in True Romance, I can't stand watching him. Thanks.

Brick Hardslab said...

The second one was boring. The first was better than we deserved