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Vestron Blu-Ray Review: The Warlock Collection

Warlock 1989

Warlock finds a male witch transported from the distant past to present day. Upon arrival, he discovers that a witch hunter has jumped to the future with him. The warlock is in hot pursuit of several pages from The Devil’s Bible, which he needs to bring on the un-creation of the universe.

The second installment in the series finds the titular character back in the present day, attempting to collect a series of stones so that he might be allowed to let Satan loose on the world.

Warlock III: The End of Innocence sees a different male witch targeting a young woman visiting her family estate. But, in order to take her soul, he must garner the permission of all of the woman’s friends.

As is often the case, the first installment in the series is the standout effort. Each subsequent entry beyond the first is worse than its predecessor. By the third film, there’s not a lot to get excited about. But, I’ll touch on that more in a moment.

Steve Miner’s (Friday the 13th: Part II) direction coupled with a fast-paced script from David Twohy (Pitch Black) make for an enjoyable viewing experience. Some of the editing techniques are a little dated and the performances are a little hammy at times. But all of that is forgivable. Warlock delivers likable characters in Kassandra (Lori Singer) and Giles (Richard E. Grant). Their relationship is authentic enough that the audience comes to care about them a great deal. And Julian Sands is perfectly wicked as The Warlock. He walks the fine line between witty and campy and he walks it well. Sands certainly has a few groan-inducing one-liners but he manages to pull them off.

The storyline in the first film is entertaining and intense. The whole film a game of cat and mouse but power dynamics are constantly shifting, making everything that much more interesting.

Although not everything about the film holds up to the test of time, the practical effects certainly do. There are plenty of brutal, stomach-churning sequences that will be sure to satisfy even the most discerning gore hounds.

Warlock

Warlock: The Armageddon is not a bad film. But it is certainly unoriginal. Kevin Rock and Sam Bernard essentially just took David Twohy’s screenplay and restructured it with the pages of The Devil’s Bible replaced with stones and Kassandra and Giles reimagined as star-crossed teenage lovers. If you can get past that, it’s certainly watchable but it is somewhat of a disappointment that more care wasn’t taken to ensure a greater departure from the storyline of the first film.

The budget for this follow up effort was substantially lower and it shows. The digital effects are laughably bad by today’s standards and they weren’t even particularly convincing at the time of the film’s initial release.

The less that is said about Warlock III: The End of Innocence, the better. It is somewhat of a sequel in name only. Julian Sands does not appear in it and Bruce Payne (Dungeons and Dragons) is playing a completely different character that is only tied into the previous films by virtue of the fact that he is a Warlock.

Ashley Laurence appears in a starring role but she’s really not at the top of her game. The actress turns in a much weaker performance than she did in her memorable turn as Kirsty Cotton in Hellraiser. Laurence’s character in The End of Innocence is bland and hard to warm up to. However, none of her costars are particularly memorable, either. So, much of the blame for that lies with screenwriters Bruce David Eisen, and Eric Freiser.

Picking up the collection is worth it for the first film, alone. The second and third are something of a bonus and their inclusion certainly satisfies the completist in me. As with every previous Vestron release, I am blown away by the care that was taken in putting it together.

As usual, this release is jam-packed with a bevy of special features and bonus content. Included are a series of interviews, two director’s commentary tracks, vintage featurettes, and much more. The picture and audio quality on all three features are a dramatic improvement from previous releases.

WICKED RATING: 6/10

Director(s): Steve Miner, Anthony Hickox, and Eric Freiser
Writer(s): David Twohy, Kevin Rock, Sam Bernard, Bruce David Eisen, and Eric Freiser
Stars: Lori Singer, Richard E. Grant, Julian Sands
Release: July 25, 2017
Studio/ Production Co: Vestron, LionsGate
Language: English
Sub-Genre: Supernatural

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Written by Tyler Doupé
Tyler Doupe' is the managing editor at Wicked Horror. He has previously penned for Fangoria Mag, Rue Morgue Mag, FEARnet, Fandango, ConTV, Ranker, Shock Till You Drop, ChillerTV, ComingSoon, and more. He lives with his husband, his dog, and cat hat(s).
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