I Saw A Film!

You know all that outrageous and deadly religious nonsense about witches used as a great excuse for wiping out millions of “undesirable” or “well positioned” (especially but not always) women folks needed out-of-the-way by rotten mediaeval power-players for hundreds of years? Well it turns out they were right and witches are real and driven to undo all of creation. Who knew? I don’t know about you, but that sort of premise didn’t sit great in my craw, but I was willing to give the film a chance to convince me.

Right off the bat we’ve got a couple of my favorites, Richard E. Grant, otherwise forever to be known as Withnail, and Julian Sands from Naked Lunch and A Room With A View, chasing each other through time and across the dimensions of 80’s low-budget horror.

It turns out I saw this back when it came out on VHS and had just about forgotten everything but the impression I had of it, which was generally favorable. I think I was smitten with Lori Singer (Fame, Footloose) but it’s really hard to see how from the more mature angle of reexperience. She spends much of the film in a Star Trek aging process and mostly plays as weak comic relief, saying things like, “Take that fuck-brain!”

So Sands arrives, in the 80s, avoiding his execution in the 17th century, pursued by Grant (doing a fun job speaking in pseudo colonial English, “Tarry not!”), but not before the Warlock (Sands) manages to find some important documents (hidden in an antique table Singer and company just happen to have, riiiiight.) that will give him the magic word (the Judeo-Xtian god’s name) which when spoken backwards (of course) will undo creation. Something witches apparently drool over, but why we aren’t sure. Sands hacks off limbs, murders little boys, flies around like Chris Reeves as Superman and curdles milk. Grant and Singer pursue him into Mennonite territory, hammer at his footprints, and try to spear him with a harpoon. It’s great shit really.

Finally, in Boston, a finale in an old cemetery damned near ends the world as tombstones topple over and they exhume Grant’s tomb, whereupon they find the missing sheets of paper still clutched in the warlock-hunter’s cold dead hands. Good call that!

While it’s a bit insensitive I’m sure no one would be taking this fun silliness to court over its premise. It’s running free on Prime (usa) and while the special effects are well dated our lead actors are still lots of fun to see in their youth.

One thought on “Warlock (1989)

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