Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Dead Can't Lie, The

(vt Gotham) US tvm (1988). Cannon/Showtime/Phoenix/Keith Addis. Pr David Latt. Exec pr Addis, Gerald I Isenberg. Dir Lloyd Fonvielle. Spfx Michael Kavenagh. Screenplay Fonvielle. Starring Tommy Lee Jones (Eddie Mallard), Virginia Madsen (Rachel Carlisle-Rand), Denise Stephenson (Debbie), J B White (Jimbo). 100 mins. Colour.

Seedy PI Mallard is hired by Charlie Rand to persuade the Ghost of Rand's wife Rachel to stop dogging him. Finding Rachel apparently flesh-and-blood and ignorant of Rand, Mallard becomes sexually obsessed with her. A pattern of scams and counter-scams develops, but of more interest is that it emerges that "Rachel" is indeed a supernatural creature – whether a Lamia or a Succubus is unclear – and has deliberately ensnared Mallard. She begins to manipulate Reality, so that Mallard becomes justifiably sceptical of the status of all his Perceptions, but finally he outwits her – and Rand – and escapes. Originally made for cable tv, TDCL is a sophisticated piece of fantasy dressed in often parodic Chandleresque guise. It can be seen as a precursor of Ghost (1990), and is certainly a better movie. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.