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LIONSGATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Steve Miner
Cast:
Julian Sands, Richard E. Grant, Lori Singer
Writing Credits:
DT Twohy

Synopsis:
A warlock flees from the 17th to the 20th century, with a witch-hunter in hot pursuit.

MPAA:
Rated R.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 103 min.
Price: $39.97
Release Date: 7/25/2017
Available As Part of “Warlock Collection”

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Steve Miner
• Isolated Score Selections Featuring Audio Interview with Author Jeff Bond
• “Satan’s Son” Featurette
• “The Devil’s Work”” Featurette
• “Effects of Evil” Featurette
• Behind the Scenes Footage
• Vintage Featurettes
• Still Gallery
• Trailers/TV Spots


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RELATED REVIEWS


Warlock [Blu-Ray] (1989)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 31, 2017)

Although I know I saw 1989’s Warlock back during its release era, I’ll be damned if I remember anything about it. That meant this Blu-ray version offered a good opportunity to revisit the property and see if I forgot about a quality movie.

A prologue set in Massachusetts circa 1691 introduces us to Warlock (Julian Sands), a man with magical powers who gets apprehended by witch hunter Giles Redferne (Richard E. Grant). Before the authorities can execute Warlock, though, Satan propels him ahead to 20th century Los Angeles.

This occurs via a time portal, and the dogged Giles manages to follow Warlock. We follow Warlock’s antics in modern times as well as Giles’ attempts to recapture his evil prey.

Though I don’t remember much about Warlock itself, I do recall one aspect of the film that surprised me: its lead actors. Prior to this movie, Sands and Grant were known for art house fare like A Room to a View and Withnail and I, so they seemed like odd choices for what appeared to be a cheesy fantasy flick.

On the other hand, director Steve Miner offered a completely appropriate selection for a 1980s film of this sort. He debuted with the second and third Friday the 13th movies before he moved to the horror-comedy of 1985’s House and the pure comedy of 1986’s Soul Man.

In this conflict between the serious work of its lead actors and the cheesy horror of its director, Warlock hews more closely to the latter, though I admit Grant and Sands bring reasonable heft to their roles. Sands offers a wry but not campy turn while Grant brings depth to his one-dimensional part, and the two actors make the movie more enjoyable than otherwise might be the case.

Despite their efforts, Miner shows his mediocre colors and can’t bring much spark to the proceedings. No, he doesn’t really hurt the material, as I can’t claim someone else would’ve turned Warlock into a classic, but Miner’s lack of real cinematic skill means the movie never becomes better than okay. Miner was a workmanlike filmmaker and those lackluster tendencies seem apparent here.

As Giles’s guide to the modern world, Lori Singer tends to annoy as Kassandra. She plays the role in such a flighty, dippy manner that we hope she’ll be one of Warlock’s first victims. Alas, she survives, so we’re stuck with Singer’s irritating take on the role.

Warlock also suffers from a clear Terminator influence. While I wouldn’t call it a remake of the James Cameron classic, it borrows an awful lot from the 1984 film and the similarities seem too close for comfort.

That’s especially true because Terminator gave us a much better movie. It’s always a mistake to invoke memories of superior films and Warlock doesn’t compare favorably with its predecessor.

In truth, I can’t call Warlock a bad movie, as it musters decent entertainment value across its 103 minutes. Still, I can’t claim it does much to stand out from the crowd, so it becomes a passable but ordinary fantasy tale.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B+

Warlock appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I don’t expect much from cheap 1980s horror films, but this one looked surprisingly good.

Overall sharpness satisfied. Occasionally I saw minor instances of softness – usually during interiors – but the movie depicted a nice sense of accuracy and delineation.

I saw no signs of moiré effects or jagged edges, and edge haloes failed to appear. With a nice – but not oppressive – layer of grain, I didn’t sense any digital noise reduction here, and other than a couple of tiny specks, the movie remained clean.

Colors tended toward a slightly blue feel, though they seemed fairly natural most of the time. Despite the tendencies of 1980s stocks to give us muddy tones, these hues appeared pretty full and rich.

Blacks offered nice depth and darkness, while low-light shots presented fairly positive smoothness. This became a high-quality transfer.

Given the film’s age and low budget, I got another pleasant surprise from its reasonably good DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack. The soundscape provided nice stereo music and also broadened to use the side channels for effects in a positive manner.

Though these elements didn’t give us a lot of sonic fireworks, the mix managed to use the various speakers in a pleasing way. The components blended together in a decent manner and created a more than acceptable soundscape.

Audio quality also held up well, with natural, concise speech. Music showed good range and richness, while effects appeared accurate and without prominent distortion. Nothing here excelled, but for a nearly 30-year-old horror flick, the mix worked fine.

This Blu-ray comes with a slew of extras, and we open with an audio commentary from director Steve Miner. Along with moderator Nathaniel Thompson, this track offers a running, screen-specific look at the film’s development and release, story/characters, sets and locations, cast and performances, various effects, music, aspects of the film’s release and related areas.

Though we get spasms of information here, the commentary never quite connects. The track tends to ramble a bit and fails to provide an especially tight look at the movie. Miner and Thompson make this a reasonably enjoyable chat, but it doesn’t give us a ton of details.

Another audio feature, we find isolated score selections that also include an interview with film historian Jeff Bond. He tells us about composer Jerry Goldsmith and his work on Warlock.

This means Bond will discuss a cue and then we’ll hear it. Though I suspect fans might prefer to hear the score without interruption, I like the presentation, as I value the direct information Bond provides.

Three interview-based featurettes follow, and we start with Satan’s Son. In this 25-minute, four-second piece, actor Julian Sands discusses aspects of his career and his experiences in the Warlock universe. Though the chat rambles a little at times, Sands still gives us some good thoughts about these subjects.

With The Devil’s Work, we find a 16-minute, 18-second chat with Miner. He covers how he came onto the project, and aspects of the production. Some of this repeats from the commentary, but “Work” still offers an efficient overview.

Effects of Evil goes for 16 minutes, 24 seconds and provides comments from make-up effects creators Carl Fullerton and Neal Martz. They tell us about their work and other memories of the production. Some of this becomes informative but the piece lacks great focus.

In addition to a trailer, a video teaser and five TV spots, we locate behind the scenes footage. This reel lasts 17 minutes, 35 seconds and shows raw shots from the set along with some comments from Miner, writer David Twohy, actor Richard E. Grant and Sands’ unnamed stunt double. It’s an interesting collection.

A Still Gallery offers a running nine-minute, seven-second montage. With 103 images, it gives us a mix of shots from the set, behind the scenes elements and advertisements. It brings us a good collection.

Three “vintage” components finish the package. Vintage Interview Segments goes for 40 minutes, 28 seconds and offers info from Sands, Twohy, Miner, Grant, and executive producer Arnold Kopelson.

The participants cover a mix of production areas and do so in a mediocre manner. While we get a decent array of thoughts, the segments tend to remain somewhat superficial much of the time.

Two Vintage Featurettes ensue. One involves Fullerton and Martz (5:50) while the other features visual effects supervisors Patrick Read Johnson and Robert Habros, animation supervisor Mauro Maressa and matte artist Robert Scifo (5:51).

As expected, both “Vintage Featurettes” examine various effects areas. Neither seems especially deep, but both give us some fun glimpses of the different processes.

Despite good performances from its two lead actors, Warlock fails to coalesce into a particularly memorable experience. It’s not a bad horror flick – especially compared to its 1980s peers – but it fails to come to life. The Blu-ray offers largely positive picture and audio along with a largely satisfying collection of supplements. Warlock offers a watchable but forgettable flick.

Note that this version of Warlock appears as part of a three-film “Warlock Collection”. It also includes 1993’s Warlock: The Armageddon and 1999’s Warlock III: The End of Innocence.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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