[[quoteright:258:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Cast_a_deadly_spell_5609.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:258:[-[[SoBadItsGood If your eyes look upon it]], [[GoMadFromTheRevelation you will surely go mad!]]-] ]]

''Cast a Deadly Spell'' is a 1991 horror/noir movie made for Creator/{{HBO}}. It was directed by Martin Campbell and written by Joseph Dougherty.

It's 1948. The plot follows HardboiledDetective [[Creator/HPLovecraft Harry Phillip Lovecraft]] (Fred Ward), in a fictional universe where magic is real, monsters and mythical beasts stalk the back alleys, zombies are used as cheap labor, and everyone, except Lovecraft, uses magic every day. Yet, cars, telephones and other modern technology also exist in this world. There's some implication that magic only recently gained widespread use for whatever reason. Lovecraft is hired to recover the Necronomicon, stolen by persons unknown -- although their motives probably aren't: the book contains the rituals needed to awaken and summon the Outer Gods. Complicating Lovecraft's investigation is his former partner, now a crime boss, who is also looking for the book.

A sequel, ''Witch Hunt'', was released by HBO in 1994; Dennis Hopper replaced Fred Ward as Lovecraft. It more directly parodies the 1950s Red Scare with a counter-revolution against magic use.
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!!''Cast a Deadly Spell'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* AffablyEvil: [[spoiler: Connie]]
* AllMythsAreTrue: Everything from {{Unicorn}}s to [[CthulhuMythos Yog Sothoth]].
* ApocalypseCult: The BigBad plans to use the [[TomeOfEldritchLore Necronomicon]] and a [[VirginPower virgin]] [[HumanSacrifice sacrifice]] to summon Yog-Sothoth and the rest of the CthulhuMythos deities, which would devastate the world.
-->'''Lovecraft:''' What kind of world?
-->'''Hackshaw:''' A world of the unburied dead, and a sky dark with ashes. A blasted, maimed planet.
* AwardBaitSong: "Why Do I Lie?" by Darlene Koldenhoven.
* BadassInANiceSuit: The bad guys all wear such nice suits...
* BlankBook: The fake Necronomicon.
* BrownNote: Tugwell writes one up in an attempt to assassinate Lovecraft.
* BuryYourGays: [[spoiler:Mickey and Larry/Lilly.]]
* CampbellCountry
* TheChanteuse: When we first see Connie Stone, she's singing a song in Harry Bordon's nightclub.
* ChekhovsGunman: Detective Grimaldi's romantic interest for Olivia eventually becomes useful when she is [[spoiler:offered as a sacrifice for Yog-Sothoth]], but is then refused when [[spoiler:the monster realizes that she is no longer a virgin.]]
* ChewingTheScenery: Hackshaw
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Lovecraft asks if Lilly met Mickey at "a fag party."
* DieselPunk: 1940s technology with Lovecraftian magic.
* TheDragon: Tugwell, to Bordon.
* DungeonPunk: Lovecraftian magic with 1940s technology.
* EldritchAbomination: Attempting to summon Yog-Sothoth, who in turn will summon the rest of the Outer Gods.
* EvilFormerFriend: Bordon used to be Lovecraft's partner when they were on the police force.
* EvilIsNotAToy: Lovecraft's take on magic.
* FauxAffablyEvil: Bordon
* FemmeFatale: What would a FilmNoir pastiche be without one? [[spoiler: It's Connie.]]
* {{Gayngster}}: Another FilmNoir staple. Mickey and Larry fit the bill.
* GripingAboutGremlins: They cause problems in vehicles, just like "real" gremlins. Their design is an obvious {{homage}} to Creator/JoeDante's [[Film/{{Gremlins}} films]].
* GroinAttack: To a gargoyle. And it works!
* HardboiledDetective: Lovecraft, complete with narration.
* HollywoodVoodoo: The opening scene has a voodoo doll as a murder weapon. Voodoo-style zombies are also used as cheap labor.
* {{Homage}}: The gremlins are obviously based on those from the film ''Film/{{Gremlins}}''
* HotWitch: Hypolita Kropotkin
* JustDesserts: [[spoiler:Hackshaw is eaten by the creature he summons.]]
* KitchenChase: After a restaurant owner tries to put a written curse on him, Philip Lovecraft goes after him into the kitchen to return it. The curse manifests when a demon comes out of a pot on a stove. Lovecraft joins forces with a cook to defeat it.
* LovecraftOnFilm
* MinorCrimeRevealsMajorPlot: A stolen book leads to a plan to destroy the world.
* NiceHat: This being the '40s, most everyone wears nice hats.
* OccultDetective: Lovecraft is specifically chosen because he ''doesn't'' use magic.
* OurDemonsAreDifferent: A big slug-thing with a long, insect-like tongue.
* OurGargoylesRock: Hackshaw employs an animate stone gargoyle as a spy and occasional assassin. It's immune to bullets, but not a GroinAttack.
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: Mostly they hang out in West Hollywoood.
* OurWerewolvesAreDifferent: They're the reason DaChief hates full moons.
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: Zombies are shipped in from the West Indies to serve as manual labor and muscle. They last about three months before they rot away.
* PaperMaster: Tugwell
* PerpSweating: Lieutenant Bradbury does this to Lovecraft when he won't cooperate with him.
* PrettyInMink: Connie has a mink coat.
* PublicDomainArtifact: The Necronomicon.
* RunningGag:
** Phil accidentally giving people Mrs. Kropotkin's business card for her dancing school rather than his own.
** People makes jokes about Phil's loud tie.
** Mrs. Kropotkin takes every opportunity to bemoan the fact that if she had any sense, [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere she'd be packing up and heading to Miami]].
* SaveTheVillain: [[spoiler:Lovecraft tries to save Hackshaw when he gets grabbed by Yog-Sothoth at the end. His grip slips.]]
* ScaryBlackMan: Being a zombie makes it [[EverythingsDeaderWithZombies even worse]].
* ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules: Insert the word "magic" in there somewhere as well, and you have Lovecraft in a nutshell.
-->'''Connie Stone:''' Dammit, Phil, everybody's gotta compromise!\\
'''Lovecraft:''' That's what I keep hearing.\\
'''Connie:''' And what makes you so special?\\
'''Lovecraft:''' What makes me special is I'm my own man. When I started out I said there were things I'd do and things I wouldn't do. A lot of guys start out like that, and a lot of them sell out along the way. But the more who fall, the easier it gets. "See, look, everybody compromises, everybody cheats, everybody uses magic." So they empty their ideals out of their pockets and get down to the job of sticking it to their neighbors before they stick it to them, because that's that way it's done. To all of which I say nuts. My collar may be a little frayed, and maybe I need a shoeshine. But nobody's got a mortgage on my soul. I own it. Free and clear.
* SearchingTheStalls: As Mickey is trying to escape Tugwell in the train station, he goes into the bathroom and tries to hide in the last stall. Tugwell uses a magic spell that lights a fiery trail to him and blows him out of the stall.
* ShoutOut
** Lovecraft calls a gargoyle "Creator/LonChaney."
** Also, Lovecraft's former police chief is named [[Creator/RayBradbury Bradbury]].
** And [[Creator/HPLovecraft Harry Phillip Lovecraft]] himself is named after a certain horror writer whose influences can be detected in this story.
** The nightclub is called "[[Literature/TheDunwichHorror The Dunwich Room]].
* SmugSnake: Bordon and [[spoiler:Hackshaw]], since their plan horribly fails at the end.
* SpannerInTheWorks
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: Connie's defence of her life takes on this edge after Lovecraft's ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules speech:
-->'''Connie:''' I'm not gonna apologise for my life.\\
'''Lovecraft:''' I didn't ask you to.\\
'''Connie:''' I'm happy the way things are.\\
'''Lovecraft:''' Glad to hear it.\\
'''Connie:''' You gotta look ahead. You can't drag around the past. There's nothing you can do about it!\\
'''Lovecraft:''' Sounds like you got a real good grip on things.\\
'''Connie:''' ''[Breaking]'' Dammit, Phil, why'd you have to walk back into my life?\\
'''Lovecraft:''' Why'd you walk out of mine?
* TooSpicyForYogSothoth
* UnSorcerer: Lovecraft, who has sworn off the use of magic.
* UrbanFantasy: 1940s Los Angeles with magic.
* UtilityMagic: People are seen using magic to light their cigarettes and retrieve files.
* VirginPower: Olivia uses her "power" to hunt Unicorns. Also, the Old Ones can only be summoned by using a virgin as part of the ritual.
* VirginSacrifice: The BigBad's plan requires one.
* YouHaveFailedMe: [[spoiler:Bordon to Tugwell.]]
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