Vestron Video brings all three — yes, three — ‘Warlock’ films to special edition Blu-ray!
The Warlock trilogy, if you can really call it that, ran from 1989 to 1999, and while each has high and low points they remain a fun peek into the decades’s horror scene. Recognizable faces, a mix of cool practical and dated optical effects, and a loose structure make for an entertaining blast from the past. Vestron Video’s latest Collector’s Series release, number 11 for those of you keeping track, collects all three on two Blu-rays. The new supplements diminish as you go along, but there’s more than enough here to justify a purchase for fans.
As the 17th century comes to a close an evil-doing warlock (Julian Sands) sits in chains awaiting execution. His captor, Giles Redferne (Richard E. Grant), is seeking both justice and revenge, but before he can claim either a devilish portal sweeps the warlock three centuries into the future to modern day Los Angeles. Giles follows befriending a waitress (Lori Singer) who reluctantly joins him in his efforts to stop the warlock from undoing the world.
Director Steve Miner‘s filmography moved frequently between horror/comedy and hits/misses over the years, and Warlock remains one of his many memorable titles. It’s a fun piece of horror/fantasy injected with both personality and charm via both a silly at times script and a pair of game lead performances by Sands and Grant. It’s an entertaining riff on the usual lady witch formula, and Sands has a ball as the evil villain who doesn’t hesitate before committing all manner of foul acts. Grant has the goofier role as he wonders at a world filled with modern technologies, and they form a fantastic balance between them. Thrills, laughs, and late 80s sensibilities make for a good time.
Vestron Video’s new Blu-ray continues the line’s trend of offering these films the best they’ve ever looked, and the supplements include trailers, stills, behind the scenes footage, and the following new/old extras:
- Commentary with director Steve Miner
- Isolated score including audio interview with author Jeff Bond
- Satan’s Son: An Interview with Actor Julian Sands [25:04] – Sands discusses his childhood desire to be an actor, this film’s production, and how fans still approach him asking to be cursed.
- The Devil’s Work: An Interview with Director Steve Miner [16:18] – Miner talks about casting the film, the production itself, and some scenes they had to cut including a bit where Mary Woronov’s naked breasts had eyeballs for nipples.
- Effects of Evil: Interviews with Make-Up Effects Creators Carl Fullerton & Neal Martz [16:24] – They share memories of the production’s ups and downs along with their relationships with the cast and crew.
- Vintage interviews [40:28]
- Vintage make-up featurette [5:50]
- Vintage visual effects featurette [5:51]
Warlock: The Armageddon
The warlock (Sands again) is reborn — quite literally as he pours forth from a possessed woman’s lady parts — and immediately set out to once again destroy the world. This time it’s rune stones that hold the key to humanity’s demise, but the warlock isn’t prepared for mankind’s plans for fighting back. A secret order has been passing skills and abilities down their bloodline preparing for just such a day.
Miner hands over the directorial reins to Anthony Hickox (Waxwork, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth) for this follow-up, and the result is every bit its own mixed bag. The wacky and wonderfully messy practical effects step up with some creative visuals and death scenes, and the warlock’s rampage offers plenty of fun. The film lacks a counterweight though as Chris Young‘s teen hero can’t match the screen presence or personality that Grant brought to the first film. Sands is instead allowed to run roughshod over everyone else, which admittedly feels like a weak criticism, but the vacuum is evident.
The set’s second disc features both sequels, and the extras for this film include trailers, stills, behind the scenes footage, and the following:
- Commentary with director Anthony Hickox
- Vintage making-of featurette [7:43]
- Vintage interviews [5:41]
Warlock III: The End of Innocence
A young woman (Ashley Laurence, Hellraiser) inherits an old, rundown house and decides to visit it with some friends before its walls are torn down. Unfortunately for them all the warlock (Bruce Payne, Passenger 57) has designs on the woman’s soul. Over the course of the night he works his way through her friends in an effort to prove that her worth rests only with him.
I’m not quite curious enough to Google this, but there’s every possibility that this film was made as its own beast before being tagged into the Warlock franchise after the fact. Not only does the story bear no resemblance to previous films, but neither does the warlock himself. And no disrespect to Payne, but this evil wizard is more smarm than charm. The film’s also far smaller — a fact brought home by it being set in a single location for almost the entire running time — and feels cramped with the lack of visual variety. The bright side though comes in a series of creatively gory and violent ends and of course, the presence of the lovely Miss Laurence. It’s the weakest of the three films by a magical mile, but it’s still bonkers enough to offer genre fans some fun.
The third film’s extras’s are slight and include only older supplements like a trailer, stills, behind the scenes footage, and the following:
- Vintage interviews [43:19]
Buy the Warlock Collection on Blu-ray from Amazon.