Warlock Collection Blu-ray (Vestron Video Collector’s Series)
Directors: Steve Miner, Anthony Hickox, Eric Freiser
Writers: David Twohy, Kevin Rock, Bruce Eisen, Eric Freiser
Cast: Julian Sands, Lori Singer, Richard E. Grant, Mary Woronov, Chris Young, Paula Marshall, Joanna Pacula, Bruce Payne, Ashley Laurence, Boti Bliss, Angel Boris, Rick Hearst
Rated R | 295 Minutes
Release Date: July 25, 2017
In the Warlock series, a 17th-century warlock (a man who practices witchcraft) is transported to the 20th century, where he looks to end all of creation, because of Satan and stuff. For the first time, the horror-fantasy series is available on Blu-ray from Lionsgate’s Vestron Video Collector’s Series label. The two-disc set includes all three films, restored and remastered, plus never-before-seen special features.
1989’s Warlock, directed by Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Part II & III, House), stars Julian Sands (A Room with a View) as a man-witch who is taken captive in Boston, Massachusetts in 1691 by witch-hunter Giles Redferne (Richard E. Grant, Bram Stoker’s Dracula). He’s sentenced to death for his Satanic shenanigans, including the bewitching of Redferne’s bride-to-be; but, before the execution, Satan appears — fashionably late as always — and frees the man-witch and transports him to 20th century Los Angeles. Giles follows the warlock through the time portal and bumps into Kassandra (Lori Singer, Footloose), a waitress who has been cursed by the warlock. Together, Kassandra and Giles must stop the warlock before he unmakes all existence. It’s sort of like The Terminator, except the killer robot is a witch, and Kyle Reese is a witch-hunter who looks like a Highlander.
Directed by Anthony Hickox (Waxwork, Waxwork II: Lost in Time), 1993’s Warlock: The Armageddon is a sequel in title only that, despite Sands returning as the warlock, has nothing to do with the first movie. We’re told that, in ancient times, Druids prevented the rise of Satan’s son using six magical runes that create light to vanquish the darkness. In the present, Kenny (Chris Young) and his girlfriend, Samantha (Paula Marshall), discover that their parents are Druids because of course they are. Things get weird when Kenny’s father, Will (Steve Kahan), kills his son so he can be resurrected with Druid magic to become a Druid warrior. Kenny, the Druid Warrior, must learn how to use his magical powers and stop the warlock before he collects all six rune-stones. It’s like The Infinity Gauntlet, except Thanos is a tall, gaunt British man rocking a bleach-blond bob.
Warlock III: The End of Innocence is a 1999 direct-to-video sequel that doesn’t have anything to do with the first two entries. The film, directed by Eric Freiser, stars Bruce Payne (Solarbabies) as the warlock and Ashley Laurence (Hellraiser) as Kris, a college student haunted by visions of her past life. Kris, her boyfriend Michael (Paul Francis), and their friends Scott (Rick Hearst), Lisa (Angel Boris), Jerry (Jan Schweiterman), and Robin (Boti Ann Bliss) spend the weekend at a spooky old house Kris has inherited. The warlock shows up pretending to be an architect interested in the historic mansion. The warlock turns all of Kris’ friends against her, with hopes of completing an ancient ceremony where he will use Kris to mother a race of evil, or something.
Here’s the thing: none of these movies are that great. The first film is the most competent, and it’s fun to see thespians like Julian Sands and Richard E. Grant ham it up in a cheesy horror-fantasy movie. The sequels, however, are mostly dull, generic ’90s horror sequels that offer little in the way of entertainment, even if you’re looking for a “So Bad It’s Good” double feature. What’s interesting about Warlock III is that Bruce Payne might be a better warlock than Sands – he’s far more menacing in the role, making the most of a script that deals in tropes and clichés.
Overall, The Warlock Collection (Vestron Video Collector’s Series) is only for the most hardcore of fans – completists who absolutely need all three Warlock films on high-definition Blu-ray, or simply can’t miss an entry in Lionsgate’s Vestron Video Collector’s Series lineup. The first entry is worth a look, but I’m not sure it’s worth the suggested retail of $39.97 that the collection is priced at. Still, the new transfers and special features may be worth it to fans looking to upgrade. Restored and remastered, the set features 1080p high-definition transfers from the original film elements with the original 2.0 stereo audio. The aspect ratio for Warlock is 1.85:1 while Warlock: The Armageddon and Warlock III: The End of Innocence are presented in 1.78:1.
The Warlock Collection comes with an exhaustive amount of newly produced bonus materials. For Warlock, there is a new audio commentary with director Steve Miner, as well as isolated score selections and an audio interview with composer Jeff Bond, as well as several new featurettes, including Satan’s Son – an interview with Julian Sands; The Devil’s Work with Miner; and Effects of Evil with makeup effects creators Carl Fullerton and Neal Martz.
There are vintage interview segments with the cast and crew, vintage featurettes with Fullerton, Martz, and visual effects supervisors Patrick Read Johnson and Robert Habros, as well as animation supervisor Mauro Maressa and matte artist Robert Scifo. There’s also your standard assortment of trailers, TV and radio spots, storyboard and still galleries, and a behind-the-scenes footage compilation – and that’s just the first disc!
Disc 2 features an audio commentary with Warlock: The Armageddon director Anthony Hickox, a vintage making-of featurette with behind-the-scenes footage, extended interview segments with Sands, Hickox, and Paula Marshall, in addition to trailers, TV spots, and a still gallery for the second film. For Warlock III: The End of Innocence, there’s more behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with cast and crew, as well as a VHS sales promo video.
The Warlock Collection is now available at Amazon (which has it for less at $24.69). Find reviews of previous Vestron Video Collector’s Series releases here!