While investigating an infidelity case, an unconventional private detective discovers a far-reaching conspiracy in the magical world of 1950s Hollywood -- and in this film, the word "magical" is meant literally. Director Paul Schrader's comic mystery, originally made for cable, is set in an alternate universe where witchcraft is commonplace and magic just another modern convenience. The magic trend is particularly prominent in Hollywood, where detective H. Phillip Lovecraft is considered unusual for preferring to do things the old-fashioned, non-magical way. Still, Lovecraft is successful enough to be hired by famed movie star Kim Hudson, who suspects that she's being cheated on by her husband, wealthy producer N. G. Gottleib. It seems like a cut-and-dry case, until Gottleib winds up dead, the victim of a magic spell. Lovecraft's subsequent investigation finds this murder is part of a conspiracy centering around a secret, magic-run brothel and somehow involving Senator Lance Crockett, a McCarthy-like conservative leading a popular campaign to outlaw magic. When Crockett frames one of Lovecraft's friends as the witch responsible for Gottleib's death, it is up to Lovecraft to reveal the truth before his friend is burned at the stake.
by Judd Blaise synopsis