The Warlock Collection (Vestron Video) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots

Warlock is definitely a product of the 80's (even though the film wasn't released until 1991) Lots of witchcraft going on and the effects remind us of the 80's. The film is really good and I can recommended it wholeheartedly. The sequels, on the other hand, are awful. The second one has some good ideas hampered with bad acting and horrible effects. The third film is bad, but better than the second film.







THE FEATURES 

Warlock: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2


Warlock Title Card

Commentary with Director Steve Miner

Isolated Score Selections Featuring Audio Interview with Author Jeff Bond

Satan's Son: An Interview with Julian Sands (25m 4s, HD)


Sands is very open with talking about the film. He was told that he would be playing opposite Sean Connery, but Connery didn't want to do the film. He seems to genuinely like his time of the first film and, although a bit less, his time on the second as well. He talks about being offered the third Warlock film, but turned it down because he didn't like the script. Sands comes off as a really nice guy who loves what he does for a living and isn't afraid to take a genre film every once in awhile.

The Devil's Work: An Interview with Director Steve Miner (16m 18s, HD)

Minor talks about the process of making the film and some of the hardships that they encountered. He also speaks very fondly about working on the film. He says that he was adamant that they cast two British actors as the leads. He also says that if the film had been made five years later that he would have used CGI instead of the rotoscoping that was done for the magic effects.

Effects of Evil: Interviews with Make-Up Creators Carl Fullerton and Neal Martz (16m 24s, HD)

Fullerton and Martz talk about their time working with the legendary Dick Smith. We also learn that they hate the old age make-up used on Lori Singer. There is also a lot of behind the scenes footage of the effects being tested and put into action.

Theatrical Trailer (1m 54s, HD)

Video Teaser (32s, SD, 1.33:1)

TV Spots (2m 41s, SD, 1.33:1)

We get five TV spots that are not that much different from each other.

Behind the Scenes Footage (17m 35s, SD, 1.33:1)

Fly on the wall footage mixed with some interviews conducted by the camera operator.

Still Gallery (9m 7s, SD)

Selections from the film's score plays over production stills, screenshots from the film, and various posters.

Vintage Interview Segments with Cast and Crew (40m 28s, SD, 1.33:1)

Some more footage with the actors talking about the characters and some behind the scenes footage.

Vintage Featurette with Make-Up Effects Creators Carl Fullerton and Neal Martz (5m 50s, SD, 1.33:1)

Vintage Featurette with Visual Effects Supervisors Patrick Read Johnson and Robert Habros, Animation Supervisor Mauro Maressa and Matte Artist Robert Scifo (5m 51s, SD, 1.33:1)

Warlock: The Armageddon ⭐⭐

Warlock: The Armageddon Title Card

Commentary with Director Anthony Hickox

Theatrical Trailer (1m 50s, SD, 1.33:1)

TV Spots (1m 14s, SD, 1.33:1)

We get 2 TV spots

Vintage Making of Featurette (7m 43s, SD, 1.33:1)

Looks like something that we would have see on E! Entertainment Television or Entertainment Tonight before they became gossip shows.

Still Gallery (4m 10s, SD)

Selections from the film's score plays over production stills, screenshots, and posters

Behind the Scenes Footage (4m 57s, SD, 1.33:1)

Extended Vintage Interviews with Julian Sands, Anthony Hickox, and Paula Marshall (5m 41s, SD, 1.33:1)

These are the same interviews done for the vintage making of, just longer, but not by much.

Warlock III: The End of Innocence ⭐⭐


Warlock III: The End of Innocence
This is the only time that the film doesn't have the roman numeral three in the title
Trailer (2m 22s, SD, 1.33:1)

Video Sales Promo (45s, SD, 1.33:1)

Behind the Scenes Footage (14m 6s, HD, 1.33:1)

A nice little fly on the wall piece showing us some scenes being shot. Everyone seems to be having fun.

Still Gallery (3m 44s, SD)

Selections from the film's score plays as behind the scenes photos, screenshots, and posters play on.

Vintage Interviews With the Cast and Crew (43m 19s, HD, 1.33:1)

All of the main cast and some of the crew are interviewed in little 2-3 minute chunks. Basic press kit fodder.

THE PACKAGING ⭐⭐ 1/2

Front Cover and Slip Cover for The Warlock Collection

First things first: the slip sleeve is nice. It features artwork from The Dude Designs and it is pretty good. I have seen better pieces done on other releases, but this one has to encompass three films and does it in a nice fashion. The artwork features the two Warlocks as well as Redferne are featured. There are some call backs to scenes from the films, but not as many as one would think with this busy of an artwork piece. At the top of the slip is the silver Vestron Video banner along with Collector's Series.


The back of the slip gives us a brief synopsis of each film as well as a special features breakdown for each film. Tech specs and each film's rating close out the back of the slip.

The front cover of the blu-ray case is the same exact artwork that is found on the slip. I wish that Lionsgate had done up a cover that incorporated each of the film's theatrical posters. You would think that Lionsgate would hear what the fans want, but, more than likely, they know that we are going to by it anyway, so they don't care. The silver banner at the top is gone as well.

The back cover takes away all the info about the special features and replaces them with the poster credit box that appears at the bottom of movie posters. Not much to see here.


Both blu-ray discs feature the exact same artwork as the slip and front cover, which seems kind of dumb considering that both the discs look EXACTLY the same. The only thing that differentiates the two discs are tiny lettering on the left of each disc informing us whether it is Disc 1 or Disc 2. There is also the same small lettering at the bottom that tells us what films are the that disc.

Both discs are REGION A (locked)

RANT: I am tired of companies like Lionsgate thinking that they can do the bare minimum and get away with it. Sure, the first film comes with some really good special features, but the first thing that we see when we get the blu-ray in our hands is the slip (if it has one). Now, the slip here is nice, but it could have been a lot better. The next thing that we see is the front cover art. Ok, so they are the same. This usually means that there is some reversible cover art to be had. Nope. Just a plain white reverse side. Then the discs both have the same cover art. That means that this collection has the same artwork on four items in this collection. This is ridiculous. They want to charge an arm and a leg for these blu-rays and them skip out on the packaging. I am not asking for something like what Arrow Video does for their Limited Edition. What I am asking for is variety and the notion that you care about what you are selling us. This release's packaging is some of the laziest packaging I have seen in a long time. At least companies like Warner Bros and Paramount make the discs look different. 

THE PICTURE

Warlock ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

A demon lady tells the Warlock his future

All three films are give the 1080p treatment here and they all have their pluses. The first Warlock film looks the best despite being the oldest film. I chalk that up to the that care and talent was put into the first film, unlike the other two. The transfer has a film-like feel to it and the colors (especially in the outdoors scenes) pop off the screen. You can tell that there was no remastering done here as there are many instances of dirt, scratches, and debris, although they never intrude on the enjoyment of the film.

Warlock: The Armageddon ⭐⭐ 1/2

The Warlock wants a kiss from his mum after being born as a fully grown adult

I was not very happy with the transfer for the second film. The transfer is very dated as nothing pops off the screen here and grain shows up in chunks at times. There are many effects shots in the film and their seams show all over the screen. That being said, there is a fair amount of detail, especially in close-ups, and the practical effects still look good.

Warlock III: The End of Innocence ⭐⭐⭐

a man lies dead on the ground after playing chicken with a ladder

The third film in the trilogy is given a better transfer, although I think that is because there are nearly as many effects shots here. The film takes place mostly in one location so there isn't much to the look of the film other than different shades of gray. Detail is nice in close-ups, but falls apart pulling out any further, although the few practical make-up jobs look very nice here. The visual effects even look better here.

THE SOUND ⭐⭐⭐


man ingests cheetos that come out of a man's arms

Each of the films is given the film's original 2.0 track and they are lossless. I found that the first film has the best sounding track with the effects being nicely divided between the two channels. The second film has a lot going on, but some of it sounds clunky and not well mixed. This is most likely inherit to the source, but it makes the film sound really cheap. The third ones fares better. It isn't an effects heavy film, so the track handles everything nicely. All three tracks present the dialogue clean and crisp and there are no distortions to be found.

THE FILMS

Warlock ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

The Warlock does not like attics

In Boston of 1691, a warlock is sentenced to death, but escapes magically into the future (our present), followed doggedly by the witch hunter. There he is searching for the three parts of the Devil's Bible, trailed by the witch hunter and the woman whose house he landed in. They must stop him, as the book contains the true name of God, which he can use to un-create the world.

I really liked Warlock the first time I saw when I rented it from the local video store. I found the story to be ok, but it was the two time travellers, The Warlock (Julian Sands) and Redferne (Richard E. Grant). Both actors seem to be having fun with the material and don't seem to come off like the material is beneath them.

The film travels the whole U.S., but we only see a little bit of it. I thought that the film was going to be a road film, but thankfully it wasn't.

The direction by Steve Miner (Friday the 13th 2 & 3) is top notch and helps keep the film from falling off the deep end. I have always thought that Miner was a good director, until the 2000's when he started directing some of the worst films to come out of that decade.

The effects, while dated, are nice. They aren't in your face, but they add to atmosphere that the film is trying to hold on to.  I do like the meltdown of the Warlock at the end. It is really the only gory scene in the film and was pleasantly surprised to see it.

The only major thing that I did not like about this film was Lori Singer. I am not familiar, but going off of this one film, she isn't very good. She can get by with her acting, but not much more. She was pretty annoying, as much as you would think a character like this would be. Thankfully, Richard E. Grant takes over some of the scenes, so that we don't have to hear her complain about what is going on.

Warlock is a really fun film that takes us by surprise by some of the things that happen along the way. The acting is better than the material needed and that is always welcome. I watch film like this and wonder what a Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street film would be like if it had half the acting that is going on here. This is a film that horror will eat up.

Warlock: The Armageddon ⭐

man lies topless on the ground with a woman who is NOT topless.

Every six hundred years, a great evil has the opportunity to escape and unleash Armageddon. A group of five stones has the power to either free the evil, or banish it for another six hundred years. An order of Druids battles with a Warlock determined to unleash his father upon the world. 

The sequel to Warlock, this film features the return of the evil warlock (Julian Sands) who is on a quest to search out and obtain a set of six magical runestones needed to summon the Devil to Earth. However, a group of powerful druids have become aware of the sinister plans afoot, and it is up to them to defeat the warlock and prevent Armageddon.


I remember when this came out in 1993. I had seen the first film on HBO (or one of the other cable stations) and I really wanted to go see this sequel in the theaters. But alas, it was not to be. Something happened that prevented this from happening, so I had to wait for the film to hit VHS. It didn't take long and I have to say that I am glad that I didn't waste the money in theater.

This is a pretty bad film. Story-wise, the film is pretty decent. I like that there is a group who are the only ones who can stop the Warlock. I also like Sands in the role of the Warlock. I always felt that he could have been been allowed to do more in the first film. Here, he is given the opportunity to really sink his teeth into this role and he is wonderful in it. (not that he wasn't wonderful in the first film. I just felt he could have done more) He is the bright spot on this film.

The things that I don't like about this film are many:

-The druids have to have two warrior druids to lead the way to battle. The two that are chosen are the kids of two of the druids. This is not bad. What is bad is the acting of the two actors playing the newly chosen warrior druids. Chris Young and Paula Marshall are not believable here. Young, who would go on to star in one of my favorite films from the 90's, PCU, fares a bit better than Marshall, who was in director Anthony Hickox's previous film, Hellraiser III. Marshall was still trying to find her footing as an actor and I think that she just doesn't have what it takes for this film. She comes off as more annoying rather than a normal person faced with a giant task as saving the world. Because these two take up a big portion of the film, the film suffers for it.

-The blocking of scenes is not very good. Everything about many of scenes feels awkward. The pacing of scenes feels awkward, the way that some of the actors move feels awkward, the editing feels awkward. There is a big sense of awkwardness throughout the entire film. Even some of the more seasoned actors move and act in very strange ways, like they being moved like puppets. That is the best way that I can describe the way that things work (or don't work) in this film.

-The effects are just plain awful. I am talking about the visual effects here. The practical effects are good. The visual effects are a wonderment of awful that needs to be seen to be believed. I like all the visual effects were rendered in standard definition (like another visual effects heavy film from Trimark, Leprechaun 4: In Space). Because of this, the effects look very much out of place. Anything that flies in this film (which is a lot of things) look blocky and unconvincing. There is a shot of the Chris Young character floating. The background looks fine, but Young looks, not out of focus, but at a lower resolution than the rest of the stuff in the scene. It is like when the resolution drops on a YouTube video. It goes from being crystal clear to being very fuzzy. That is what a lot of the visual effects look like.

These things hurt the film. If these had been corrected, then the film would be a lot better than it is. As it is now, the film feels worse than a lot of straight-to-video films from the same time period. In fact, most of the Full Moon films from the early to mid 90's look and feel better than Warlock: The Armageddon looks and feels. I place a lot of the blame on the budget, which was pretty low, but I also have to place a lot of the blame on Anthony Hickox. This is a director who isn't very good. His films mostly come off as looking very cheap. The one film of his that didn't was Hellraiser III and that was because he had a decent script and budget at his disposal. If the company had gone with a different director, I think that the film would have fared much better.

Warlock: The Armageddon could have been a good film. Julian Sands is great as the Warlock and the story sets itself up for a lot of good scenes, but the direction and visual effects don't mend well and this leaves the film cold and uninviting. Basically, the film is not much fun. Watch the first film again instead of watching this.

Warlock III: The End of Innocence ⭐ 1/2

the Warlock measures a room to see if his fridge will fit

A college student unexpectedly finds that she has inherited a derelict house. Accompanied by a group of friends, she goes there to clear it of heir-looms before the structure is demolished. Almost immediately, she and her friends are targeted by a powerful warlock who is very interested in her bloodline.
Warlock III is better than the previous entry, but not by much. The film is lifeless, boring, and sleep-inducing. Nothing happens for the first hour of this film. When the Warlock does make his entrance he just shows up at the house where the main characters are. Since he was killed in the last film, how does he come back. In Warlock: The Armageddon, we see him being rebirthed into the world. Here, he just shows up. There is no grand entrance.This is the villain of the film and you can't even give him one more scene to show how he came to be in this film?

Speaking of the Warlock, Bruce Payne, who takes over for Julian Sands because he didn't like the script, has some decent sized shoes to fill and barely makes a dent. Payne is not the best actor in the world, but he has played a villain in the past and he was good at it, but here it seems like he took a muscle relaxant before filming. He is just there. He doesn't really register as a threat other than getting into people's head and moving some furniture with his mind. In Payne's defence, I don't think that very many actors would have been able to make this Warlock menacing or evil. There is just not enough for an actor to use to make a good villain.

The effects here are miles better than the effects in part 2, but again, that isn't saying much. There is a scene where the Warlock freezes a girl and then shatters her into tiny pieces. The effect works because they only use it once and they don't overshoot it. The Warlock also rips out a man's throat in gory detail. These effects, while really cool, do not save the film from being bad, but better than part 2.

Warlock III would have been better if the filmmakers had actually tried. This film is very lazy in its approach to a horror film. It is like if Gus Van Sant's character from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but instead of the filmmakers too busy to direct a film because they are counting money, the filmmakers a going through back issues of Fangoria trying to figure out what to do next. This is not a film that was directed, it was made and the director's name was attached to it. There are some cool things in this film, but it is a borefest so it isn't even worth it.

OVERALL ⭐⭐⭐

The Warlock is mad at God and God doesn't care.

The three Warlock films are a crazy bunch. The first film is a genuine good film with good performances and an interesting villain. The second film is one of the worst films of the 90's and even Julian Sands as the Warlock can't save it. The third film has some neat scenes, but it also doesn't capture the spirit of the first film.

This blu-ray is ok. The first film is given the love it deserves while the other two are given scraps. The A/V quality on all the films is good, but it is very apparent that Lionsgate doesn't care about this set of films. I would say that they don't care about the whole Vestron Line to begin with. That being said, if you are a fan of any of these films, then this collection is for you. If this is a blind buy, your money is better suited somewhere else.


You can find more screenshots from each of the films on pages 2 and 3. Be aware that these screenshots contain spoils

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