Warlock is the story of… wait for it… a Warlock who was captured in 1691. On the eve of his execution, a magic storm is summoned that propels him 300 years into 1980’s Los Angeles. Luckily, Redferne the witch hunter follows and he and 20 year-old airhead Kassandra (spelled with a K, a fact that the movie continuously hammers into the viewer) team up to try to stop the Warlock’s nefarious plan to destroy the world.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this film. It was campy good fun, with laughs that were more intentional rather than not, and with some genuinely creepy moments. Though, if I had to think about it too long I‘d feel it was more of a supernatural thriller than an all out horror movie.
I was expecting this movie to be more violent than it was. Or maybe it had just the right amount of violence and I’ve been desensitized by horror movie violence. In either case, the violence is tame by today’s standards, with some of the most gruesome acts happening just off screen and left to the viewer’s imagination. It does have some truly violent stuff, but it usually cuts out the middle, only showing the before and after effects and skipping over what would have included the more gory details.
Being from the 80’s, most of the special effects leave much to be desired. The practical, physical effects however are usually fine to look at…
Some of them even look back. Ha!
But the use of overlays and late 80s CGI are also used in full force here. And while some of them don’t look so bad, that doesn’t stop the fact that they’re still early era CGI and come with all the caveats you’d expect.
The makeup department was also pretty hit and miss in general. Some things like the demon makeup turned out pretty well.
And it’s nice to see they use toothpaste in Hell
But Kassandra’s “Oh-My-God, I just aged 20 years overnight” wasn’t quite as believable.
Oh please, you barely look 40. Put some makeup on and you’ll be fine.
One of the things I was really bummed out about were some of the flying scenes. Not all of them, thankfully, but enough to make you cringe. See, I got all psyched when I realized the Warlock was going to be able to fly and had visions of a blond, black-clad badass flying around Superman-style, and instead the movie graced with a truly lame green-screen substitution.
And it looks worse in motion.
I was very disappointed. Thankfully that’s the only time you see him looking so stupid and the rest of the film sticks to traditional wire, close-ups and closed sets for the rest of his evil flightscapades.
But those are really minor quibbles. It’s a fun movie with a good villain who is evilly charming, and quirky heroes who under no circumstances should be working together.
The amazing duo this is not.
I hear the second one is better (and then the third one took a nosedive into crapsville), so I’m looking forward to at least watching Warlock: Armageddon soon.
Warlock is available on a variety of streaming services.
It is also available on DVD and Bluray, as part of three film set.
One thought on “Warlock (1989)”
I’ll date myself even further and let you know I saw this in the theater but aside from that trivia – I had no idea there were sequels – how maybe very exciting…
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