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Golden Shadow Pictures presents
Lucinda's Spell SE (1999)

"I bet none of those other nasty witches will have a spell like mine."
- Lucinda (Christina Fulton)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: February 27, 2003

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

MPAA Rating: R for (nudity, adult situations, violence, extreme language)
Run Time: 01h:42m:12s
Release Date: November 15, 2002
UPC: 823931000624
Genre: black comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- BB-A B+

DVD Review

My original review of ADV's prior release Lucinda's Spell was an inauguration into the world of indie icon Jon Jacobs, and the collection of independent films released through Zero Pictures, now on DVD from Golden Shadow Pictures. While my first exposure to Lucinda was eye opening, revisiting it here for the newly released, full-fledged Special Edition made me realize just how entertaining this film really is.

Jacobs plays Jason, better known in the Wiccan world as the First Horn, last descendant of Merlin, and the most powerful warlock alive. He holds the future of witchcraft in his genes, and as the Eve of Beltane approaches, must find a suitable partner to spawn the next generation of his kind. It's Mardis Gras time in New Orleans, where the witches of the world have gathered to compete for the honors of mate, in a show of magic that will win the attention of the First Horn. His arrival is also noted by a local voodoo priest (Leon Herbert as Maddison), who is looking to extract the First Horn's blood, rumored to be able to transform lead into gold. His henchmen are charged with bringing the warlock to him intact.

Witchcraft doesn't pay very well, so young Lucinda earns her keep as a prostitute, fulfilling her customers' varied and often freakish fantasies. Her interest in Jason goes beyond the power and prestige of being his partner, for she has already been gifted, unknown to him, with a son by the First Horn. Missteps in her youth have her son in an orphanage, but Lucinda dreams of a day when her family will be reunited, so the stakes are high in the battle for heir to the bloodline. Her biggest competition lies in Beatrice (Shana Betz), easily the most powerful witch around, who has taken an extreme dislike to Lucinda, and decides to skirt the official rules by casting a spell on Jason, which alters his perception of Lucinda's face as heinously disfigured. Her nemesis isn't her only problem though, as Lucinda's enthusiasm for creating the ultimate potion causes her to overlook some vital elements in the recipe, which lead to some unexpected results. With the hour of reckoning fast approaching, Lucinda will have to summon everything she's got to pull her life back together, against incredible odds.

Lucinda's Spell works its magic on many levels. There is flair and imagination in the staging and cinematography. The style of the film is flamboyant, sexy and fun, never taking itself too seriously, while maintaining an even pace through its odd storyline. The characters are over-the-top, the Mardis Gras atmosphere permeates throughout, and the finale is satisfyingly devilish.

While its crass and sometimes extreme language and bizarre excesses may be off-putting for some, they add an edge and rawness that make it stand out in a crowd. While Jacobs gets his share of the spotlight as the much sought after wizard, Christina Fulton steals the show, playing the role of Lucinda to the hilt, with a ditziness that rivals the kitsch of her costuming. Absurd and hilarious sequences abound: Lucinda's espousing the sexiness of her bum, fumbling through the potion she is trying to create, or explaining to a belligerent night clerk the true nature of solicitation are but a few of the highlights. While provocative in its presentation, there are also some nice subtleties at times, and Lucinda's underlying mission gives her a welcome humanity. It's not hard to see why this went over so well at the alternate Cannes festival, and this camp spectacle should play well with audiences looking for something with a bit more bite than the usual.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: This disc features the same transfer as the ADV release, which is pretty good for a nonanamorphic presentation. Colors are vibrant when called for, and black levels strong. There are a few places that look a little too highly contrasted or a bit on the dark side, but these are probably production issues. Print defects are minor, grain is rendered well, and the only real issue is abundant aliasing in a few scenes. While it would be nice to have a new anamorphic version at some point, I expect this is the best we'll get for the foreseeable future.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanishyes
Dolby Digital
4.0
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: English audio is presented in 4.0 surround (no center channel). The same as the previous disc, it is a very immersing track with a good deal of separation and directionality, often placing the music in the rear channels. Frequency range is full, with great bottom-end in places. There is some edginess on dialogue at times, and a little over sibilance here and there, but overall this is good for an indie. This release adds a Spanish stereo track, previously unavailable.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
11 Other Trailer(s) featuring Lucinda's Spell, Dogstar, The Invisibles, The Wooden Gun, Pheonix Point, Hero Lover Fool, Mic and the Claw, Welcome Says the Angel, The Girl With the Hungry Eyes, The Blue Door, Rage, Prometheus Bound
6 Deleted Scenes
7 Featurette(s)
Storyboard
Feature/Episode commentaries by director Jon Jacobs
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Jon Jacobs short films: Sleepwalker, Metropolis Apocalypse, Moonlight Resurrection
Extras Review: This new special edition combines all of the film-related extras found on the previous ADV release supplemental section, with a collection of new and notable supplements.

The commentary track by writer/actor/director Jon Jacobs covers technical details, character background, and trivia about the film.

In Three Wishes (5m:37s), Jacobs describes some of the magic involved in making the film to an audience at one of the premiere parties.

The Behind the Scenes segment (2m:50s), directed by co-producer Tarwyn Tattersall, goes on set, where Jacobs shares some of his philosophy on the film, and Christina Fulton talks about having a part written for her.

The TV spots section houses a trio of E! Entertainment pieces. The first two were featured on the previous disc and cover the film's premiere. Sex on the Riviera (07m:26s) showcases the talent and promotional efforts put into the Cannes You Dig It film festival, the alternative side of Cannes. Wild on Italy, (04m:09s) showcases Lucinda cast member Stephania Swinney, posing for a nude glass sculpture by Italy's famed Lucio Bubacco. A new E! News spot (1m:29s) on midnight movies compares director Jacobs to cult legends David Lynch and John Waters, both of whom made the leap from cult films to the big-budget mainstream.

Seven deleted scenes are now available, including the original storyboard sequence for the film's opening.

What is perhaps the bonus prize of this DVD are Jacobs' three short films, clocking in at 23m:38s combined. All three were shot by cinematographer David Tattersall, who would go on to lens for heavyweights Steven Spielberg (Young Indiana Jones), Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Majestic) and George Lucas on the Star Wars prequel trilogy. His skill with the camera is evident from the first entry, 1988's Metropolis Apocalypse (9m:13), which presents a moody, black-and-white montage of Central London in the style of Godfrey Reggio's landmark, Koyaanisqatsi. Jacobs provides a narrative voiceover, reciting a work by renowned poet Randala, set against a score by Paul Inder.

Its successor, Moonlight Resurrection, again excels in its visuals, this time featuring Jacobs as a ghoulish character stalking the nighttime streets. This film marks Jacobs' first co-production with Zero Pictures founder, Michael Kastenbaum. The titles on this short are misframed, and cut off on the left side. [Jacobs explains that this is due to time constraints during production.]

The third entry is Sleepwalker (1993), shot in color and cut by Terry Rawlings, who has edited of dozens of major motion pictures. While originally designed as a teaser for a feature film, Jacobs wrote this sensuous entry to also work as a self-contained piece.

The 5m:26s advertisement for Project Entropa, found on other Zero Pictures DVDs, is here, as well as trailers for Lucinda's Spell, Dogstar, The Invisibles, The Wooden Gun, Pheonix Point, Hero Lover Fool, Mic and the Claw, Welcome Says the Angel, The Girl With the Hungry Eyes, The Blue Door, Rage, and Prometheus Bound.

My only criticism of the disc is that the menus default to play after a few seconds, or switch back to the main menu. Also, there is a forced 30-second Zero Picture promo at the start of the feature, which can be bypassed with the chapter button, or by playing from the chapter menu.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

I'll admit to being a bit guarded in my initial encounter with Lucinda's Spell, but on revisitation it has worked its magic, as a crudely funny, offbeat spectacle, and perfect showcase for Christina Fulton's scene-stealing persona. Now presented in what can truly be called a "special edition," this cult gem is adorned with all the trappings. If the wealth of on-disc extras isn't enough to satiate, the DVD is also available bundled with Jacobs' The Book of Omens: The Magical True Adventures of a Self-Made Movie Star, a chronicling of his life during the three years it took to bring the film to life.

For those who don't need the extras, a movie-only version is available alongside the theatrical cut of Jacobs' feature directorial debut, The Girl with the Hungry Eyes (also starring Christina Fulton) on the Vampires & Witches double feature DVD.

Sex is magic.

 


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