|Title:||Cast a Deadly Spell|
|08.20.06||Alamo Downtown|| So... back to Lovecraft. The 9:45 show (which also had a line out the door and into the parking lot) was a collection of shorts shown at the Portland HPLfest in various years. One of the included pieces, another adaptation of Pickman's Model, was actually a Master's thesis film from a UT student who was in attendance. It was made in 1981 on 16mm so there were some glimpses of the Austin of that time.|
Honestly, I didn't go for these shorts. Some were better than others, but... ugh. So many were that same black and white DV look... with amateur voiceover or film school sound scares and things of this nature... either that or it's bad CG with bad sound mixes and big-breasted trees dancing... Granted, there's a whole section of Lovecraft's work, the dream stuff, that I never really went for. So I think a few of these shorts (the one I probably liked the best was called The Canal) fit that vibe pretty well I thought... but there weren't any in the bunch that I really flipped for.
So the midnight movie was Cast a Deadly Spell, which is awesome. It was an HBO movie made in 1991 and produced by Gale Ann Hurd. I vividly remember this coming on and them marketting it with "From the creators of Terminator 2..." and watching it and... it's kind of a hard sell. The tone of this movie makes it pretty hard to market... but I think on its own terms it's very fun. I really liked it when I first saw it... saw the sequel with Dennis Hopper and eric Bogosian (which wasn't as good and not nearly as Lovecraftian) and was really pumped to see it again, especially in a theater!
Basically, Fred Ward plays a private detective named Phil Lovecraft. The basic premise is a throwback to noir except what if magic was real. So you have cops lighting their cigarettes with flame from their palms, Police detectives interrogating werewolves, actual little puppet gremlins wreaking havoc on car engines, blood rain, unicorns, hexes, vexes, and minor demons all incorporated into the tough talking hat brimmed world of 40s noir.
Understandably, it's not a tone that everyone will go for. But for those that like these two genres (noir and lovecraftian horror), i think it's a real blast. One of the best ideas is using zombies as slave labor and bodyguard muscle. There's a great scene where it shows a crew of zombies building a house... it just makes perfect sense in this particular world.
Another part of why this movie is cool is, in addition to Fred Ward, the main heavy is played by Clancy Brown and the femme fatale is played by Julianne Moore. Awesome, right?
Another little detail that surprised me when I saw this again was that Lee Tergesen, known to everyone whose seen an episode of Oz as Tobias Beecher, had a small role that's very ironic when you think about stuff that happens to him in Oz.
One thing though... I could've SWORN that there was a scene where a ghostly incarnation of Nina Simone sings in some room... I guess I'm thinking of the sequel though... I can't imagine HBO cutting that scene out for any reason.
So that ended the night. Really fun day at the movies... Ia Ia Cthulhu ftagn!