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ADV Films presents
Lucinda's Spell (1999)

"Sex is magic."
- Lucinda Bale (Christina Fulton)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: February 15, 2002

Stars: Jon Jacobs, Christina Fulton, Shana Betz, Leon Herbert, Angie Green
Other Stars: Alix Koromzay, J.C. Brandy, John El, Fatt Natt, Brother Randy, Ajax Davis, Judy Garwood, Bliss Davis, jay Poggi, Tina St. Clair, Sophie Pegrum, Samantha Mehra, Stephania Swinney, Sarah Fox
Director: Jon Jacobs

Manufacturer: IFPI
MPAA Rating: R for (nudity, adult situations, violence, extreme language)
Run Time: 01h:46m:12s
Release Date: October 04, 2000
UPC: 702727013829
Genre: black comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

ADV brings one of their few live-action programs in the form of Lucinda's Spell, a film from actor/writer and independent director Jon Jacobs. Re-teaming with Kristina Fulton (as Christina), his cowriter and costar from The Girl with the Hungry Eyes, he had pitched Lucinda's Spell as a sequel to Ken Russell's Whore, because its central character is a prostitute; stylistically though, this would be closer to Russell's Salome's Last Dance, while creating its own bizarrely rendered spectacle in this magical black comedy.Jason (Jacobs) is a wanted man. As the last living descendent of Merlin, he is the key to the future, and for the ladies gathered in New Orleans, they will have him any "witch" way they can. It is nearing the Eve of Beltane, a time when the First Horn must find a mate and sire an offspring. Jason's bloodline must be passed on to an heir, so the time has come for all witches to unite in the ultimate "spelling" bee, for she with the strongest magic earns the right to become Jason's partner. But the ladies of the coven aren't the only ones after him—a local voodoo priest (Leon Herbert as Maddison) knows Jason's alchemic blood can turn lead into gold, so he has hired a pair of killers to bring the granddaddy of warlocks to him, minding they don't spill too much blood.Then there's Lucinda (Fulton). She services the needs of her clientele with her sexual specialties as a prostitute, but she is also of Wiccan ways, and has her own reasons for capturing the First Horn, for they have met in the past. Her son was the result, but he is now in an orphanage, and Lucinda hopes that she can raise the boy with his father. Lucinda's wish for reunification has nothing to do with the power she can wield, unlike her arch nemesis Beatrice (Betz), arguably the strongest witch in the running, but also the wickedest. Against the rules, she enchants Jason with a little "alteration of perception" spell, which deludes him into seeing Lucinda's face as massively disfigured. But Lucinda's troubles don't stop there. She isn't the brightest witch on the planet, and in her haste to come up with the perfect spell, overlooks a few of the necessary ingredients that will make it work. With time running out, can Lucinda conjure the magic that can outdo her competitors and win back her man? Lucinda's Spell was a hit at the alternate Cannes festival. Director and star Jon Jacobs conjures a battle of wills, as the ditzy but good intentioned Lucinda fights the forces of evil that are lusting after the ultimate power. The film should find a cult audience, as it is very quirky, mixing magic, violence and a little sex. The pacing is fair, and the atmosphere unique, but this will be hit-and-miss with audiences, primarily due to some extreme language and the somewhat freak show presentation. The story is an interesting premise, and the execution has style. There is ample comedy throughout, from the pratfalls of the assassins to Lucinda's over-the-top mannerisms and accoutrements. The costuming mirrors its Mardis Gras surroundings, and the characters are similarly grotesque, each in their own way. Lucinda is extremely kitschy, both in style and language. Her opponents are equally vulgar. There is a good use of atmosphere, lending the film some ethereal qualities in places, and primalism of the pagan ceremony is delivered with flair and imagination. Those who may be offended should note that the director makes sure the nudity (which is not as frequent as the advertising suggests) is equal for males and females. For those with a taste for camp, Lucinda's Spell may be just what the witchdoctor ordered.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in nonanamorphic 2.35:1, image quality is quite decent for an independent release. The transfer conveys the many hues in the production well, colors are vibrant, though places seem a little on the dark side on occasion. Contrast also seems a bit high, but this is most likely a source issue. Detail is good, there is some aliasing here and there, but print defects are negligible. For a film of this type, this is about what I would expect outside a major studio release.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 4.0, with front and rear left and right channels. This is a strong soundtrack, with great frequency depth, and an encompassing mix. Surrounds are well utilized, and there is good directionality. This track kicks ass.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
3 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Jon Jacobs
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: ADV presents a nice supplemental section, starting with a full, running commentary by writer/actor and director Jon Jacobs. Covered are: technical details, background on the characters, and a host of other information surrounding the film. Occasionally a little dry, for the most part this was an entertaining listen.We also get a trio of video clips starting with a 2m:50s making-of, where Jacobs and Fulton discuss how Lucinda's Spell was conceived as a vehicle for Fulton, then a pair from E! Entertainment's coverage of the film's premiere. The first, Sex on the Riviera (07m:26s) showcases the talent and promotional efforts put into the Cannes You Dig It alternative to the venerable Cannes film festival. The second, Wild on Italy, (04m:09s) is showcased by Lucinda cast member, Stephania Swinney's posing nude for a glass sculpture by Italy's famed Lucio Bubacco.A 2m:12s promo reel features a montage of clips from Zero Pictures films, Pheonix Point, The Wooden Gun (directed by Jon Jacobs), The Blue Door, Welcome Says the Angel, Lou Lou, Dogstar, Self Storage, Hero Lover Fool, The Invisibles, Prometheus Bound, Mic and the Claw, Rage and Lucinda's Spell.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

A love it or hate it affair, Lucinda's Spell possesses the trappings of a cult favorite. Big on style, with a twisted subject matter, the content will either impress or offend. The acting is good, the soundtrack enhancing, and the presentation here is a solid effort. This gets a guarded recommendation, as it will not be for all tastes.


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