Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

October of Horror #6: Warlock (1989)

Posted by Trixter on October 6, 2018


(For an explanation of what these posts in October are, see the parent post.)

Synopsis

A warlock flees the Puritan era to modern day, looking for the three halves of the Dark Grimoire:  The Devil’s Bible that can undo all of creation.  A witch hunter from the same era gets help from a young modern woman to track the warlock and try to stop him.

Opinion

15 minutes into the film, I got the sense that this wasn’t really a horror film, but more along the lines of medieval fantasy.  Turns out I was right:  If you’re expecting scares, revulsion, and dread, you won’t find it in Warlock.  But does that make it bad?  On the contrary, I found it very entertaining.  There is a surprisingly small amount of outright scenery chewing; everyone plays it straight, which works.

While I never got the feeling anyone was truly emoting (Julian Sands as the titular character looks the part but never really feels the part), what was entertaining was learning all of the witch lore:

  • You can cripple a witch’s foot by hammering their footprint
  • Witches hate salt, and are both hurt and bound by it
  • Witches can fly by making a potion primarily out of the fat of a young boy
  • Witches cannot set foot on hallowed ground

…and so on.  Everyone knows vampire lore, but not everyone knows witch lore, and I found that maintaining my interest throughout the film.

Bonus points for a played-straight appearance by reliable 70’s and 80’s B-movie staple Mary Wolonov, who delivers exactly what was necessary for the character.

Recommendation

For some fantasy fare that is sideways from science fiction and lighter than horror, you could do a lot worse (like the two Warlock sequels I’m dreading).

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