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Cast a Deadly Spell (1991)

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In a fantastical 40's where magic is used by everyone, a hard-boiled detective investigates the theft of a mystical tome.


Martin Campbell
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Fred Ward ... Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft
David Warner ... Amos Hackshaw
Julianne Moore ... Connie Stone
Clancy Brown ... Harry Bordon
Alexandra Powers ... Olivia Hackshaw
Charles Hallahan ... Det. Morris Bradbury
Arnetia Walker ... Hypolite Kropotkin
Raymond O'Connor ... Tugwell
Peter Allas ... Det. Otto Grimaldi
Lee Tergesen ... Larry Willis / Lilly Sirwar
Ritch Brinkley ... Owl Wagon Manager
Jaime Cardriche ... Zombie
John De Bello ... Crooner
David Downing ... Thadius Pilgrim
Colin Drake Colin Drake ... Butler Meadows


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". Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

7 September 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cast a Deadly Spell See more »


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


HBO poduced a sequel, entiled Witch Hunt (1994), which takes place in the 1950s during the red scare (magic is substituted for communism). Dennis Hopper played Lovecraft, in place of Fred Ward. Many characters reappear from this film, though some have different backstories. See more »


During the red rain, the gargoyle on Hackshaw's roof is pelted with rain and the hooks of his wings jiggle, as if made of rubber. But we later see that his flesh can withstand Phil's gunfire. Also, getting kicked in the groin affects him, though he has no visible testicles and the rest of his body can withstand gunfire. See more »


Hypolite: If you were sensitive at all, the air would crackle in your ears like wax paper. Things are in flux. The auras are bad. Me, I'm going to Florida.
See more »


Get Happy
Music by Harold Arlen
Words by Ted Koehler
Performed by June Christy
Courtesy of Hindsight Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

"Dark comedy" ... unique and entertaining ........
16 August 2016 | by merklekranzSee all my reviews

Fred Ward is excellent as the 1948 private eye hired to find a stolen witchcraft book, the "Necronomicon". It had to be a unique film that blends noir, monsters, virgins, zombies, and magic into a "black comedy", and that film is "Cast a Deadly Spell". There are at least a bunch of surprises along the way, as our hero tries to locate the book. The sharp tongued dialog is perfect, droll, and often hilarious, as Fred Ward, the only one who doesn't use magic, tries to survive witches spells, gangsters, and solve the case. This movie proves that you don't need CGI, if you have a creative mind behind the script, and some excellent makeup for the monsters. - MERK

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