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Friday, March 04, 2016

Warlock (1989) - Steve Miner


An original idea that never really took off. The film sat on the shelves for years just waiting for me to pick it up. Unfortunately, I always dispatched the thought of watching the movie based on the idea that it would be largely disappointing. I was kinda wrong. It's a nostalgia trip for those that grew up in the late eighties, early nineties. And although it has corny elements. It has an intrigue that holds true. I enjoyed watching this one. 

Giles Redferne (Richard E. Grant) and the Warlock (Julian Sands) are transported into the future from 1691. They end up in 1991. There are some comedy elements to their adaptation to this modern culture. However, the horror starts almost immediately. The Warlock seeks to end the world by using the Devil's bible. While Giles tries to stop him. Almost like a satanic Terminator. Our other protagonist is Kassandra with a K. The young heroine of the film, who gets wrapped up in this crazy adventure. She's like Blossom and Punky Brewster were smashed together. She's a nightmare. 

The movie is a horror movie and buddy film all at once. The film is just as much about the Warlock trying to end the world as it is about Giles and Kassandra driving around and becoming friends. It's like some young adult horror novel series that never happened. It's adorable. 

The Warlock is a neat idea. However, he is flawed pretty heavily by the absence of good special effects. Some points feel comical and others are overtly horrific. It's weird. Maybe it's why this never really became anything bigger. It was an idea that just didn't make it to super-stardom. It didn't hit well with the big crowds. Warlock never made it to the Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers or Leatherface heights. Although he did have some good potential. The magic was pretty neat.  

Watching this, I noticed that I had seen parts of it before. Although I recalled it being a lot scarier than it actually was. This movie has a lot of daylight. Take that how you will. It just sort of tones down the scariness of the whole thing. The makeup isn't wonderful. In fact it's pretty terrible. The early CGI isn't amazing either. However, it's compelling and original. So enjoy it. More people should. 


Director: Steve Miner
Starring: Julian Sands, Richard E. Grant, Lori Singer and Mary Woronov
Style: Witchcraft Slasher
Country: USA
Studio: New World Pictures

Did ya know?

The film was originally completed in late 1988 and was one of the last films completed by distributor New World Pictures when they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The film's trailer was actually shown before early 1989 theatrical releases. Instead of going direct to video, Warlock was picked up and released in theatres by Trimark Pictures in 1991. Its box office success lead to a sequel, "Warlock: The Armageddon" in which Trimark also released theatrically.

The scene in the theatrical trailer involving the Warlock as the satanic messiah was cut after negative reactions from test screenings. The channeler's death was originally much more violent. The scene involved a topless Mary Woronov being frozen after the devil's eyeballs emerged from her breasts. The Warlock then stomps her to pieces to free them. After the wrap up, the scene was redone as what remains in the film.


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