Cast a Deadly Spell

1991 television film directed by Martin Campbell

Cast a Deadly Spell is a 1991 comedy horror detective film set in a fantastical 40's where magic is used by everyone, and a hard-boiled detective investigates the theft of a mystical tome.

Directed by Martin Campbell. Written by Joseph Dougherty.

Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft

  • [voice-over] Bradbury was right... there's bad and there's bad. But what I walked into when I left that night made all the magic and witchcraft I'd seen up 'til then look like a sideshow. My name's Lovecraft... and I'm the guy who knows. Just about the only guy who knows it all... who's still breathing. It started that night and it started with a woman. It always starts with a woman.
  • [voice-over] I was tired as hell, but I could afford to be tired now... now that it was over. Over for a lot of people... for Locksteader, Willis, Hackshaw and Borden... and all over for Connie. I needed it to be morning... I wanted to hear doors open and cars start and human voices talking about baseball and the weather. I wanted to make sure that there were still folks out there facing life with nothing up their sleeves but their arms. They didn't know it yet, but they had a better shot at happiness and a fair shake today than they did yesterday. 'Cause today... I've got the Book.

Amos Hackshaw

  • [summoning Yog-Sothoth.] From the wells of night to the gulfs of space. Ever the praises of great Cthulhu and Tsathoggua and of Him who is not named. Ever praises of abundance to the black goat of the woods, Shub-Niggurath, the goat with a thousand young, for thou has seen the dark universe yawning, the lost place where black planets roll without aim. Too long have thou dwelt in that cold captivity beyond the mercy of time. The way is clear. Return. And rule. Yog-Sothoth is the key and the guardian of the gate. He knows where the Old Ones have trod Earth's fields and that they will tread once more. Sorcerer. Emissary. Changeling, outsider. Thou art the whisper in the dark, for a million years the voice in man's ear, seducer, shaper of foul deed and betrayal. All was prelude and preparation. We empty our hearts in your name. Teacher! Master! Complete us! The things inside become the things outside! The waiting ends and the journey begins! Consume the darkness between the dimensions! Cross the gulf with a single stride! Here on this threshold is placed a gift. This is my gift. Come forth and receive it! Stars align! Space folds! A thousand worlds merge in a single instant! Crack the band of formlessness! Take shape and come forth!


  • 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.


Amos Hackshaw: Do you realize how long they've waited for me? Centuries! Millennia!
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: How long is that in dog years?

Amos Hackshaw: [Lovecraft has just proved that he uses no magic talismans] It's true... no tokens, no fetishes... nothing. You really don't use anything... any magic, that is.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Just like I told you on the phone.
Amos Hackshaw: You don't believe in magic?
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: I believe it, just don't use it.
Amos Hackshaw: Why?
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Personal reasons.
Amos Hackshaw: And they are?
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Personal.

Olivia Hackshaw: I'm serious!
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Then why do you wear that hat?

Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: [to his female client, whom the police have just arrested] Sorry, angel, but I don't play the sap for anybody. Bad for business.
Det. Otto Grimaldi: Hey, Lovecraft... too bad you're losing out on your fee! With a client like this, maybe you already collected... up front, if you know what I mean.
[she glares at him, then decks him with a punch that knocks him to the ground]
Det. Morris Bradbury: [arriving on the scene] Get up, Grimaldi... people'll think you've never been socked by a dame before.

Det. Morris Bradbury: [Lovecraft shows Bradbury a voodoo doll] What's this?
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: It's the murder weapon. Well, Bradbury, at least she found a nice clean way to bump him off.
Det. Morris Bradbury: Time was you had to look a man in the eye before you could kill him... you owed him that.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Yeah, now with the miracle know-how you can do it by tying six knots in a piece of string. Ain't modern living grand?
Det. Morris Bradbury: Magic... gives me the shakes what you can buy in this town.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Well, they said it would make things easier.
Det. Morris Bradbury: And it has.
[they watch the body being loaded into the ambulance]

Det. Morris Bradbury: Phil, this doesn't have to be a trip to the dentist. Like I say, we've got no beef with you. Fella's partner goes bad, goes on the take, that happens. You are square with us... just because Harry Borden-...
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: I don't need a history lesson!
Det. Morris Bradbury: Someone's throwing lesser demons at you, black magic from the Pit of Asagoth, and you don't even carry a rabbit's foot!
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: I can handle it.
Det. Morris Bradbury: Well, I'm not worried about you, Phil... I'm worried about the people who might get in the way.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: How is it?
Det. Morris Bradbury: Bad.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: It's always bad.
Det. Morris Bradbury: There's bad and then there's bad. Something's coming, something ugly. And it's guys like me got to clean up the mess. Now I got enough to worry about, Phil, so do us both a favor... watch your back.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Thanks.

Connie Stone: I heard something about you at the club.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Such as?
Connie Stone: You don't use magic.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: You heard right.
Connie Stone: How do you expect to get out of dumps like this if you don't start playing the game?
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Seems to me we've already had this discussion.
Connie Stone: Everybody uses magic.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: I don't.
Connie Stone: What have you got to show for it? Fly-specked office, a broken-down car and an ugly necktie, that's what all this integrity buys you. Damn it, everybody's got to compromise.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: That's what I keep hearing.
Connie Stone: And what makes you so special?
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: What makes me special is that I'm my own man. When I started out, I said there were things I would do and things I wouldn't do. Lot of guys start 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 ideals out of their pockets and get on with the job of sticking it to their neighbor before they stick it to them. That's the way it's done. To which I say "nuts." My collar may be a little frayed, maybe I need a shoeshine, but nobody's got a mortgage on my soul. I own it, free and clear.
Connie Stone: I'm not gonna apologize for my life.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Didn't ask you to.
Connie Stone: I'm happy the way things are.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Glad to hear it.
Connie Stone: You've got to look ahead. You can't drag around the past. There's nothing you can do about it.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Sounds like you have a real good grip on things.
Connie Stone: [a few moments of silence] Why did you have to walk back into my life?
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Why did you walk out of mine?
Connie Stone: Because you're a wiseacre son of a bitch who doesn't know which way the wind is blowing.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: And?
Connie Stone: And did you really remember the sound of my breathing?
[Lovecraft takes Connie in his arms and they kiss]

Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: [referring to Borden's zombie enforcer] What happened to your regular leg-breakers?
Harry Bordon: Progress.
Tugwell: Zombies don't eat, don't complain...
Harry Bordon: Don't get ideas.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Don't they start to smell after a while?
Tugwell: They're good for three months, depending on the weather. Then they begin to rot.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Then what?
Harry Bordon: Then you get some more. Thirty bucks a head, come fresh from the West Indies, six to a box.
Tugwell: Like bon-bons.

Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: You'd better take that blouse off.
Olivia Hackshaw: Oh... why?
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: You can't get blood stains like that out after they set.
Olivia Hackshaw: Well, after the hunt I usually just take all my clothes off and burn them. You have to be naked for the ceremony.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Oh yeah? What ceremony's that?
Olivia Hackshaw: Tribute to Diana, Goddess of the Hunt. Would you like to watch?
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Thanks, but I'm supposed to get my teeth cleaned this afternoon.

Det. Morris Bradbury: [in Bradbury's office] I used to hate your guts... you know that, don't you?
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: You told me often enough.
Det. Morris Bradbury: Now you're about the only man in this town I can trust.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Gosh, Bradbury... I didn't know you cared.
Det. Morris Bradbury: It's just you're the only guy now walking around without a magic wand up his ass. I got vampires in West Hollywood, salamanders coming out of the fire hydrants in Santa Monica, black rain, red rain, hail the size of your fist.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Magic is the way of the future. You wouldn't want to buck the future, would you, Bradbury?
Det. Morris Bradbury: If this is the future, [he slams his office door shut]
Det. Morris Bradbury: I'll take vanilla.

Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: [ordering a drink at Borden's club] Bourbon. Show it some water, but be discreet.
Bartender: [grins] Like an orchid in the moonlight.

Amos Hackshaw: The wheel has turned. Yog-Sothoth knows the Gate. That is the promise of the Necromnomicon. Open the Gate, let the Old Ones back in and they will make you a god.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Ooohhh, you get to be a god. What does Harry get?
Harry Bordon: Tell him.
Amos Hackshaw: For services rendered, Mr. Borden gets to be Ruler of the World.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: What kind of world?
Amos Hackshaw: A world of the unburied dead, and a sky dark with ashes. A blasted, maimed planet. But he'll be the most important person in it.
Harry Bordon: How do you like them apples partner, huh?

Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: [referring to Amos Hackshaw] But you know the thing that kills me is how out of the whole phone book he had the dumb luck to pick you. Maybe it wasn't luck, partner... maybe it's fate.
Harry Bordon: Thought you didn't believe in that stuff.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: What I don't believe in is unfinished business! Took this to get us face to face so we could settle accounts!
Harry Bordon: Oh, we'll settle up, you bet we will. No more Lovecraft, no more waking up with the shakes thinking about you hovering over me like some goddamn angel. No more.
[he grabs Lovecraft by his shirtfront and pulls him nose-to nose, snarling] You're going to be dead, Lovecraft! I'm gonna be on top of the world! That should settle things once and for all about who was smart and who was a chump! I'm gonna be immortal... and I'm gonna wear your head for a watch-fob!

Connie Stone: [Lovecraft joins her in the car's back seat after it's all over] How's the hand?
Connie Stone: Broken. What's going on?
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Just missed the fuck that saved the world.
Connie Stone: I miss everything. I even missed being a god. [pause] What happens now?
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Grimaldi takes you in for killing Borden.
Connie Stone: [pause] We were a hell of a team, you and me. We still could be.
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Maybe someday.
Connie Stone: Phil?
Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft: Yeah?
Connie Stone: Kiss me before I faint.


Wikipedia has an article about: