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In 1931 H.P. Lovecraft wrote his classic tale of alien horror, "The Whisperer in Darkness". Lovecraft is now considered one of America's foremost writers of horror fiction, standing alongside the likes of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe.
In 1948 Los Angeles, everyone uses magic- everyone except hard-boiled private detective H. Phillip Lovecraft, who refuses for "personal reasons." Lovecraft is hired by a mysterious rich man to recover a stolen book, the Necronomicon. Investigating, he finds that the book holds the key to taking over the world by magical means, releasing the "Old Ones". (Contains several in-jokes to H.P. Lovecraft's horror fiction and also the hard-boiled detective genre.) Written by
Ken Yousten <email@example.com>
Fantastic mesh of hard-boiled noir, and Lovecraftian mythos.
I first saw this when it premiered on HBO in '91. With a Who's Who cast of character-actors, this first-rate production by Gale Anne Hurd (of James Cameron/Terminator fame) and directed by Martin Campbell (soon to direct Goldeneye and Mask of Zorro)is a brilliant mesh tribute to the works of HP Lovecraft. With a firm tongue-in-cheek, the viewer is taken along on the latest case of H. Phil Lovecraft, private detective in a 1948 Los Angeles where "everybody does magic". A relatively new happening, magic is real...everyone uses it, except Lovecraft. Fred Ward turns in one of his best performances to date as the hard-boiled detective, wise-cracking his way through every situation. Julianne Moore is spot-on as Phil's ex-girl, the sultry songbird in his former partner(Clancy Brown)'s club. David Warner is perfect as Lovecraft's effete client, Amos Hackshaw. It's a sharply-written noir tale with more than a few Cthulhu references, and adds some more generalized fantasy for spice. Pay attention to the details, this is where the picture really shines- from the everyday applications of magic, to the snappy banter between Lovecraft and pretty-much everyone, it's an enjoyable escape from reality-TV. The creatures are passable, not the best by today's CGI standards, but certainly not the worst seen in some straight-to-video bombs. The writing is stylish and inventive, with some really ingenious scenes/situations. Martin Cambell's direction takes you right along with Lovecraft, with some brilliant cinematography. The casting is terrific as well. I was never bored. One of my top-20 favorite films. I can't wait for a DVD version, if it ever appears. A terribly disappointing, not-so-great sequel called "Witch Hunt" was done in '94 with a completely different cast & director.
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