The Warlock CollectionOverview -
Warlock (1989): In 17th-century New England, witch hunter Giles Redferne (Richard E. Grant) captures an evil warlock (Julian Sands), but the conjurer eludes death with supernatural help. Flung into the future, the warlock winds up in the 1980s and plans to bring about the end of the world. Redferne follows the enchanter into the modern era and continues his mission, but runs into trouble in such unfamiliar surroundings. With the help of a young woman (Lori Singer), can Redferne finally defeat the warlock?
Warlock: The Armageddon (1993): He's back and meaner than ever! Satan's only son, the "Warlock", is plotting even greater mayhem in this spine-tingling, pulse pounding shocker! The Warlock's single goal is to free his father from the fiery chains that imprison him and unleash Satan's wrath upon the world. The only ones who can prevent complete world destruction are two warriors who alone possess the supernatural powers to challenge the Warlock and stop the inevitable Armageddon. They must outsmart and defeat the Warlock before the prophesied eclipse, sending Satan and his son back to Hell.
Warlock III: The End of Innocence (1999): Over 300 years ago, a demonic Warlock tried unsuccessfully to sacrifice the offspring of a witch in an attempt to create his eternal bride of darkness. But his plan failed and he was banished, until now...
Determined to learn more about the family she never knew, Kris Miller decides to spend her weekend in the abandoned 16th century mansion that was left to her as an inheritance. Haunted by disturbing visions and nightmares, Kris attempts to flee the eerie mansion, until the unexpected arrival of her college friends eases her fears and persuades her to stay. When their weekend getaway is interrupted by a mysterious stranger claiming to be interested in the house, they are deceived by his suave exterior. But his architect guise soon gives way to his inhuman agenda as he preys on each of Kris' friends, manipulating their vulnerabilities and weaknesses with individualized, horrific . Yet his true unfinished business lies with Kris..
Trapped in a living hell, Kris must escape the Warlock or become the ultimate sacrifice for the satanic race.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
Back in the early 1980's a young filmmaker named Steve Miner took over directing duties on the Friday the 13th franchise, which led him to the other horror film House. During this time, a string of time travel movies came out, particularly Terminator and Back to the Future. Miner too decided to make a time travel movie the only way he knew how to. You take Julian Sands and make him the son of Satan and transport him from the 1600s to the 1980s, which gives you Warlock.
The film is actually quite fun in a silly 1980's way. None of it is scary really, but there is some good folklore and enough plot devices that are exactly the same as The Terminator, that I'm surprised James Cameron didn't step in. In 1691, a witch-hunter named Giles Redferne (Richard E. Grant) is understandably upset with this man-witch known as the Warlock (Sands). This Warlock is about to be put to death for his crimes, but before blood is shed, Satan creates a portal to send his Warlock son into the future.
Luckily, Giles jumps into the time traveling wormhole too and is transplanted in Los Angeles in the 1980s. From here, it's the Terminator chase game in hopes that Giles and his new friend Kassandra can track down the Warlock before he destroys the world. The film is interesting enough in that it takes a solid plot device that worked a couple of years prior, but added a mix of demonic tropes and fun performances by Grant and Sands. There are some suspenseful moments, but nothing too frightening by today's standards. The visual effects are rather bad, even for its time, which will make you laugh rather than wow you. Warlock is still silly, yet a fun blast from the late 1980s.
You would think that, when the original Warlock film made half its budget back at the box office, there would not be a sequel. There was, though, and it's called Warlock: The Armageddon, which is a sequel in title only and does not reference the original film in anyway, although Julian Sands returns as the Warlock, hellbent on destroying the world with his father, Satan. Anthony Hickox took over directing duties, having previously directed Waxwork I and II along with Hellraiser III. He even brought actor Zach Galligan (Gremlins, Waxwork) along for the ride.
Long ago, the Druids kept Satan and the Warlock at bay with several magical rocks. Things happened, the Druids died, the rocks were lost, and evil awaited to be reborn. Cut to 1993 where a young couple is in love, who both just happen to be part of a long lineage of Druids. Some woman gives birth to Julian Sands, dies when she sees Julian Sands, then talks to Julian Sands as Satan.
Meanwhile, the two young lovers must confront their Druid history and become the warriors they were meant to be in defeating Satan and the Warlock, in addition to finding the magical rocks. Again, Sands is great in the role of the Warlock and there are some entertaining moments of gore, but other than that, it's a rather flat story. At least this film went over its budget of $3 million, but you wouldn't know it by watching the film. There are too many cliche'd plot points that run dull and the fact that there is zero mention of the first film is no fun at all.
The third Warlock film is titled Warlock: The End of Innocence. This one went straight-to-video on a $2 million budget and, once again, had nothing to do with the previous two films. Julian Sands didn't even return as the Warlock in this one. Director Eric Freiser cast Bruce Payne as the Warlock this time, which Payne brought a much sinister feel to the role, which was nice. If you forgot who Bruce Payne was, get out your old copy of Passenger 57 and look to see who Wesley Snipes took out at the end of the movie. That's Bruce Payne.
Freiser also made this 1999 film in the vein of a haunted house story with a Warlock, now named Covington, which is a different take on this film series. Warlock: The End of Innocence centers around a college woman named Kris with a group of friends who love to partake in drugs, sex, and rock n' roll. Kris inherits a big, creepy house in the middle of nowhere, which leads Kris and her friends to move into the house for a while. Soon enough, the Warlock known as Covington shows up in the house and starts to torture Kris and her friends in a style that resembles the movie Se7en in hopes to sacrifice Kris's soul to a companion in hell to mother a ton of evil spawn to destroy the world. It's all very charming.
Meanwhile, we get to see a subplot from the 1600's that might involve the present-day Kris and a childhood doll that connects to the two timelines. Unfortunately, much of this is told in the early scenes of the film, which deflates the reveal towards the end of the end of the movie. I applaud Freiser for taking the film series in a different direction that has some good gore and very good plot devices, however it never lives up to a truly scary film, even though Payne's Warlock might even be better than Sands' portrayal.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
The Warlock Collection comes with two 50GB Blu-ray Discs from Vestron that are Region A Locked. There is no insert or digital download code here. The discs are housed in a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. Disc One houses the first film and related bonus materials, while Disc Two is home to the second and third films along with relevant bonus materials.
All three Warlock films come with a 1080p HD transfer with the first film being presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio and the other two in 1.78:1. Even though the first Warlock film is the oldest film here, it might look the best out of the bunch, which leads me to believe that Lionsgate's Vestron Video gave this film more love and time in the video and audio department than the other two.
Warlock looks quite good, but is not without its flaws. Detail is quite sharp and vivid throughout, showcasing Julian's long golden locks flowing in the wind, as well as some great makeup effects and textures in the clothing and on the actor's faces. The visual effects look quite bad though, in that they just haven't aged well, which can look fairly flat. The nice layer of grain never fluctuates too much and gives that nice nostalgic feel to the film. Colors are well balanced too, but are not too bright, given the tone and color scheme of this dreary film. That's not to say that certain reds, blues, and greens don't pop, but it's rare. Black levels look mostly deep and inky and the skin tones are natural with very little to complain about.
The following sequels don't look quite as good as the original film though, even though they are more recent. Colors on the two sequels look a bit vague and muted, which gives The Armageddon and The End of Innocence a darker tone and palette. Primary colors are not bright or robust either. There also seems to be an orange tint to the second film throughout. Black levels can be inky at points, however, in other darker sequences, the black levels look a bit muddled and grainy. Speaking of the grain, both sequels fluctuate with heavy grain from start to finish, which is somewhat distracting.
Skin tones look natural. Detail is mostly sharp, however, wider shots and scenes with low-lighting conditions are soft. The early CGI effects of these sequels also don't bode well for a detailed video presentation, whereas the the practical effects show great gory details and textures on the actor's faces and bodies. Also in the sequels, there were some instances of scratches, warps, dirt, and debris, which didn't show up on the original film. Still, after all these years, these films look pretty good, despite their flaws.
The Warlock films all come with a lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix and sound very good for being stereo tracks. With all of the magic, action, and scarier moments, I would have hoped for a 5.1 mix to add that background noise, but this 2.0 mix does the job well. Sound effects have depth that capture the highs and lows of the gory sounds and big storms that brew in the background.
The ambient noises come through with nature sounds and people talking in the background. Some of the best sounds come in the third film that takes place in the dank, large halls of the creepy mansion. The echoes and reverb, when the actors talk, sounds excellent here. The score always adds to the tension in each scene as well. Dialogue is always clear and easy to follow along with and free of pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills.
Trailers (HD, 5 Mins.) - A collection of trailers and TV spots.
Vintage Behind the Scenes Footage (SD, 18 Mins.) - Cast and crew interviews along with on-set footage on the making of the film.
Vintage Interviews with Cast and Crew (SD, 41 Mins.) - Most of the cast and crew are interviewed here, which looks like to be the full EPK interviews.
Vintage Make-Up Featurette (SD, 6 Mins.) - An all too short behind the scenes look at the makeup and creature effects.
Vintage Visual Effects Featurette (SD, 6 Mins.) - This is also a brief look at how the visual effects were added in post-production.
Still Gallery (HD, 9 Mins.) - Photos from the set and poster art.
Disc Two (Armageddon)
Vintage Making of Featurette (SD, 8 Mins.) - A standard EPK of interviews and behind the scenes footage.
Behind the Scenes Footage (SD, 5 Mins.) - A couple of scenes from the film are shown how they were done.
Extended Interviews (SD, 6 Mins.) - The two main actors and director give interviews about the film.
Trailers (SD, 3 Mins.) - Trailers and TV spots for the film.
Still Gallery (HD, 4 Mins.) - Production stills and promo art for the film.
Disc Two (The End of Innocence)
Behind the Scenes Footage (SD, 14 Mins.) - Another couple of scenes with some on-set footage here.
Vintage Interviews (SD, 44 Mins.) - More full length EPK interviews with the cast and crew, which give some insightful information on the film.
Trailers (SD, 3 Mins.) - Trailers for the movie.
Still Gallery - Promo art and production photos.
This Vestron Collection of all three Warlock movies is finally here with tons of extras, both new and old, along with new HD transfers and audio options. The video portion still has some issues, but this is probably the best these low budget films have ever looked. As for the movies themselves, the Warlock films have conjured a small cult following. There are some great aspects to the films, but also some cheesy issues as well. Mostly though, the films are entertaining enough with some good gore and bad visual effects, along with a different film and cast each time around. If you're into the Warlock movies, this is definitely for you. For Fans Only!
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