Warlock Collection

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6.8

Fair

Warlock Collection
Warlock Collection

Vestron adds another set to their Collector's Series. Although the sequels may not live up to the first film, the price for the set makes it well worth picking this up!

Release Date:Genre:, Rating:Publisher:,

“Boston, 1691. After the Warlock (Julian Sands) escapes witch hunter Giles Redferne (Richard E. Grant), he is hurled three hundred years into the future where he wreaks havoc in modern-day L.A.”

Warlock

At first glance, Warlock seems like your typical horror film. You have a malevolent character that kills his victims in horrific ways as sacrifices to fuel his black magic. What the film aspires to be is something so much more, not limiting itself to a single genre, involving aspects of fantasy and science fiction to tell this highly entertaining story of a chase through time with the fate of all existence at stake.

The most enjoyable aspect of the film has to be the performances from the principal characters, Julian Sands, Richard E. Grant and Lori Singer. Playing the parts of a fish out of water story, Sands and Grant wonderfully pull off characters thrust into a strange, new world of wonderment while locked in an age-old battle of good and evil. I’ve been a fan of Julian Sands for years, easily recognizable in smaller roles but always bringing dedication and class to each part. This sophistication heightens every scene with the Warlock, especially the more gruesome scenes, including his sly grin and devilish laugh right before he murders a small boy. The writing is surprisingly good as well, complete with several humorous moments injected into the story.

As incredibly hokey as some of the scenes may seem on paper, including the curse that ages you twenty years in a day, all these spells and dark art practices are done extremely well on screen with a certain believable wonderment that leaves you enthralled, wanting to see the next spell the Warlock casts, or which protective charm Redferne will utilize in defense. The only thing that doesn’t age well with the film are some of the effects. While the practical and make-up effects are very impressive to this day, and still look good, it is visual effects such as the flying, and the conjured fire that look incredibly dated. While these certainly aren’t the worst, there is something so much creepier seeing the Warlock hovering above ground on a harness than the alternative.

The first Warlock film is a lot of fun, establishing itself as a must-see in the fantasy/horror genre. Vestron gives this film an amazing treatment it deserves, easily the best of the set!

Video

Warlock is presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen 1.85:1. The transfer on this film looks exceptionally good. Although color levels can look at bit muted in some scenes, overall, the transfer is clear of any defects or blemishes of any kind, with a manageable grain level. The only downfall to this great clarity is some of those visual effects look worse, but those moments are few and far between.

Audio

The audio is presented in the original 2.0 stereo. Overall, levels sound good on the track, with no defects or problems noticed. Easily one of the best things about the film is the Jerry Goldsmith’s score, which is wonderfully done; it’s creepy, and very memorable.

Special Features

Vestron has provided an absolutely stunning list of extras for this set, most notably this first film. Including a large amount of new material, they also include several vintage featurettes and interviews, giving a wealth of information from cast and crew.

On this disc you’re going to see:

  • Audio Commentary with Director Steve Miner
  • Isolated Score Selections/Audio Interview with Author Jeff Bond
  • “Satan’s Son” – Interview with Actor Julian Sands
  • “The Devil’s Work” – Interview with Director Steve Miner
  • “Effects of Evil” – Interview with Make-Up Effects Creators Carl Fullerton and Neal Martz
  • Behind the Scenes Footage
  • Vintage Interview Segments with Cast and Crew
  • Vintage Featurette with Carl Fullerton and Neal Martz
  • Vintage Featurette with Visual Effects Supervisors Patrick Read Johnson and Robert Habros, Animation Supervisor Mauro Maressa, and Matte Artist Robert Scifo
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Video Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery

Warlock: The Armageddon

“The Warlock (Julian Sands) returns to try and free his father from the fiery chains that imprison him- and is challenged by two warriors with supernatural powers.”

The second film in the set, the sequel to Warlock which in fact has nothing to do with the first one whatsoever, opens in modern day as a solar eclipse marks the 900 year cycle in which Satan’s unborn child comes into the world, seeking rune stones which will unleash Hell on Earth.

Charged with protecting the stones and stopping the ritual are a group of Druids, granted special abilities and knowledge from God ensure that evil doesn’t prevail. As The Warlock embarks on a cross country road trip collecting the stones from unsuspecting owners, young Kenny Travis (Chris Young) discovers his family connection with the Druids, and must learn how to use his newfound abilities before The Warlock comes to collect the final stone.

As with almost every low budget sequel, almost everything endearing about the first film is lost with Warlock: The Armageddon. The character of The Warlock, for example, has no resemblance to the character in the first film. Instead of a charming, sly witch who enjoyed the game of cat and mouse he played with his pursuers, we are subject to a two-dimensional, bland carbon-copy who creates mild entertainment with each brutal murder he commits. With what he’s given, Julian Sands does his best to preserve the feel of the first film, but unfortunately the characters are so badly written there is no spark left.

Although some of the Druid scenes and mythology are interesting, the training scenes in which Kenny learns to use his telekinetic powers are blatant rip-offs of Star Wars in which Luke trains to be a Jedi. The music is almost identical to the famous theme, except one minor note change at the end to ensure they can’t be sued.

One redeeming quality of the film is the make-up and practical effects. There are some very impressive scenes, including many gruesome deaths. Unfortunately, the film relies more heavily on special effects than the first one, which look horrid. Despite this getting a theatrical release, the effects are more what you’d expect from a 90’s straight to video film, which is probably what this should have been.

Warlock: The Armageddon was a disappointment for me, which is unfortunate since this is the last time Julian Sands plays the role. That being said, there are quite a few memorable and impressive sequences in the film, but as a whole, the film just cannot come together in a cohesive manner.

Video

Warlock: The Armageddon is presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen 1.78:1. The transfer on this film has several issues, including a large amount of scratches and imperfections throughout. The majority of the film has a fairly clear and sharp look, however, in every scene that includes a special effect there is a softness to it that almost makes it look blurry. The filmmakers experimentation with video effects does have a few interesting outcomes, including several scenes of forced focus with two characters in different locations. Although the blurred line between the actors shows how the effect is accomplished, it is still an interesting stylistic choice that adds something different.

Audio

The audio is presented in the original 2.0 Stereo. There isn’t anything too spectacular about the track, no level issues or problems noticed. The score can sound impressive at times, and at other times, as I mentioned earlier, seems to be a blatant rip-off of the Star Wars theme.

Special Features

On this disc you’ll see quite a few extras for the film, most of which are vintage featurettes and interviews with the cast and crew. Julian Sands does discuss his thoughts on returning to the role in this film a bit on the new interview located on the first disc, and does give some interesting insights on why he agreed to come back, and why he chose not to for the third film.

For this film you’re going to see:

  • Audio Commentary with Director Anthony Hickox
  • Vintage Making-Of Featurette
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage
  • Extended Vintage Interviews with Actor Julian Sands, Director Anthony Hickox, and Actress Paula Marshall
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery

Warlock III: The End of Innocence

“After Kris Miller (Ashley Laurence) moves into the abandoned 16th-century mansion she received as an inheritance, she is visited by a Warlock (Bruce Payne) with some unfinished business: stealing Kris’s reincarnated soul.”

Six years after the second film, Warlock III: The End of Innocence makes one thing clear: there is no sequel that could venture farther from the original source material as this film does, and leave the audience in complete disbelief, not due to the thrilling story and continuation of the beloved character, but due to the lack of any conceivable enjoyable moment in an hour and a half period of time.

How this film is even considered to be in the same universe, let alone the same dimensional space as Warlock is beyond me. While the first film has the story traveling through time, and the second, although painfully inadequate in comparison, at least has some great horror moments where the Warlock destroys everyone in his path, the third film is more like a cheesy Halloween attraction where a group of people cautiously make their way through a haunted house but laugh at how fake everything is.

Warlock III: The End of Innocence is basically a haunted house film, which in no way represents the intentions of the character in the original film. Warlock had a grandiose quality to it, as the Warlock sought to rule the world and unleash Hell on Earth. In this film, as far as I can tell, the overall goal is to trick a bunch of college kids and kill them, while he pretends to be an architect.

If there was any doubt, let me just say this: there is absolutely nothing enjoyable about the third film. It is a poor bookend to a character that had a great start, but slowly declined given the poor management of the content.

Video

Warlock III: The End of Innocence is presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen 1.78:1. The transfer looks good at times, given the more video quality that it has opposed to the other films in the set. Fortunately there aren’t many, if any, special effects scenes. Most are done with practical effects, which do look pretty good. The second film suffered from an increase in softness when it came to the effects sequences, but we don’t see that problem here.

Audio

The audio is presented in the Original 2.0 Stereo. There are no noticeable defects or problems noticed with the track, nor does anything stand out as exceptional. It is bland all around, including some almost soft-core sequences out of nowhere that make you shake your head in disbelief.

Special Features

Surprisingly, the cast and crew decided to comment on the film during production, which you can see in these vintage interviews that are included with this set. While I will never understand the excitement they feel, it does let you appreciate, although briefly, the power of filmmaking no matter what the outcome.

For this film you’re going to see:

  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage
  • Vintage Interview Segments with Cast and Crew
  • Trailer
  • Video Sales Promo
  • Still Gallery

Vestron adds another great series to its small but highly collectable Collector’s Series. Although the second and third films aren’t quite up to par with the first, the price for this set is in line with many of their stand-alone sets, making this well worth picking up. In my eyes, the first film is definitely worth picking up, with the other two films becoming an added bonus to the care and consideration that was shown the first film which continues to be a cult classic!

Good

  • Great first film, well worth the money for the set.

Bad

  • Bad sequels.
6.8

Fair