Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The Horror Of...Halloween Night, Warlock (1989)

It's getting dark earlier, and it makes October nights all the more lovely for getting down to horrible fun in front of your favorite screen. And among the 80's Must See's, Warlock should make the list.

It's a fun and odd little film. It's a mix of horror, fantasy, and time travel. In some ways it's almost The Terminator in reverse.

This film is directed by Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Part 2, Friday the 13th Part 3, House, Halloween H2O, Lake Placid, Eureka, The GatesSmallville, Stitcher, and Day of the Dead - 2008).

It was written by David Twohy (Critters 2, Alien 3, and The Arrival). Twohy had a very different idea at the start. The film would have focused on a Warlock who is cruely persecuted in his own time and then find that the 20th century was just as cruel. That idea didn't end of being popular with the producers who instead wanted to take the film in a different direction.

The film stars Julian Sands (Arachnophobia, DexterGothic, The Doctor and the Devils, GothamWitch Hunt, Smallville, Blood TiesStargate SG1, The Phantom of the Opera, Rose Red, and Heidi 4 Paws) as the troublesome Warlock. He's a 17th century magic user in the service of evil. He's on a mission. End. The. World. It's nice to have goals.

On his trail, and out to end his blight is Giles, played by Richard E. Grant (Bram Stoker's Dracula, Doctor WhoJekyll and HydeA Christmas Carol, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Corpse Bride, The Little Vampire, and The Hound of the Baskervilles),

He is a witch hunter. Giles is out to end the Warlock and protect Boston and the world. If he must dive through portals, fly on planes, or step over his own grave, he will stop the Warlock. Or he'll die.

He isn't looking his best, even for the late 1600's, but he lost his fiance to the Warlock's wicked powers. This is a personal quest for him.

And one up Satan's backside.

To help Giles, he gets the aid of Kassandra, played by Lori Singer (Footloose, VR.5). She happens to be living in the house that the Warlock lands in while fleeing Giles. He quickly turns on all in the home, and leaves her with a curse.

This helps move her to join Giles in chasing down the Warlock. Along the way she has to learn a lot about evil magic users and how to take them down.

I have been reading that the makeup people did have trouble with Singer, as she fought about the prosteetics they wanted her to wear as she was aging through the film. Different pieces they wanted her to wear were vetoed by her. It forced the makeup people to find ways around.

I am left wondering if this lead to her not staying aged up for the entire film. Maybe they needed to shorten the time for that plot thread.

But let's see how the movie did fold out.

 The movie opens up near the end of the 1600's, in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Warlock has been captured and locked away in a special tower. It includes some markings that I guess help keep him trapped.

The Warlock is bound with chains and locks on his thumbs and toes that bind him.

But while Giles is pleased he will soon see the Warlock executed for what he's done to his beloved, the Devil has other plans. He opens a time funnel to suck the Warlock away. (Seeing time tornados makes me wonder if this is secretly tied to Doctor Who. Is the Devil really Fenric?)

The Warlock is taken and dropped into the 20th century. Los Angeles.

His mission is to find the broken pages of a dark work. The Grand Grimoire. It's a Satanic work with a certain word held inside. The name of God. God's true name. With that name you can shatter and unmake Creation. End of the world, man!

What! Not even bound in human skin? Pass.

The Warlock doesn't travel alone. Giles leaps through with him, but not as near him as he'd like. But he is soon on his trail, meeting and freaking out Kassandra.

She wants nothing to do with either time traveler. But the Warlock decides to play mean, cursing her to start aging to death. So she decides to work with Giles to take down the Warlock and end the curse.

And she does get off lucky, with a curse that could be quashed. Some allies they make have more permanent wounds.

"Why did I follow that video link?"

Meanwhile, the Warlock checks in with his boss to get directions to get the book fragments.

So Giles and Kassandra head off on a scavenger hunt across the country.

"Go on a trip, they said. Meet now people, they said. This is NOT what I had in mind."
They even get to ride on a plane with a weather vane spear. He even gets to carry it in the airport. Ah, the 20th century, right?

And along the way, Kassandra gets to learn the witch hunting tricks, and we get to see all the tools.

The whole locking the thumbs and toes thingy.

Driving nails into a witches footprints.

"One set of foot prints in the sand, hmm?"

And this doohickey.

And then they have their run ins and fights. Each determined to stop the other.

Kassandra even gets to learn about how dangerous salt is to a witch. And it's brutal if you get it in their bodies.


"What do you mean I'm too sexy to be the Cryptkeeper?"
In the end, she's left alone. It's up to her to safeguard the book fragments from any future Warlocks.

And she comes up with a devilish plan.

"Oh! The Terminator. Now I see it."
A man chases an indestructible agent across time (to the future) to stop it from destroying humanity, leaving the ongoing responsibility in the end.

Warlock is a fun movie, with some scary moments, tense, moments, fun moments, and just might be the thing to enjoy this Halloween.

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