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A Film a Day – Warlock (1989)

Last year I tried to watch at least one film a day. This year I am going to try again.

Should you choose to accompany me on this venture, I am writing regular updates, sharing the films I’ve watched and my thoughts on them. I am based in the UK, so I’ll note if certain films may not be available on streaming platforms in your region. Additionally, I’ll be referencing release dates from

Follow my Film A Day here
Enough preamble – let’s dive straight into my most recent celluloid adventure.

Warlock (1989)

  • Director: Steve Miner
  • Writer: David Twohy
  • Cast: Julian Sands, Lori Singer, Richard E. Grant
  • Watched on YouTube

You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Richard E. Grant salt a whip with his mouth! Then you have Julian Sands as the titular Warlock playing a handheld video game with the kid from Blind Fury only to have the air knocked out of when you find out what happened to the child to enable the Warlock to fly.

This is wonderful, ghastly world of 1989’s Warlock.

I remember watching this when I was but a young pup. Regular visits to the video shop meant my brother and I watched all kinds of films. I always remember this one. The aristocratic-looking Julian Sands on the cover, his blond hair pulled back and a devilish shadow behind him. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect and thought Sands was actually going to be the hero.

Oh how wrong I was. Instead, we got a dirty and disheveled Richard E. Grant as witch-hunter Giles Redferne in the year of 1691, following the Warlock through time to Los Angeles in the 1980s to stop undoing all of creation with the Grand Grimoire. A fantasy horror-themed version of The Terminator danced before our eyes.

I had not seen the film since the 1990s which, as we all know was only about 10 or 15 years ago! I remember wanting to watch it a few years back, but couldn’t find it on streaming or at a decent price to buy and then I forgot about it. However, this week I saw someone mention it in a comment on an unrelated YouTube video and, my interest piqued once more, I searched through the streaming services. Prime Video Had Warlock 2: Electric Boogaloo, or rather Warlock: The Armageddon (A film have never seen, but I will remedy it at some point soon), but of Warlock there was no sign anywhere.

Blu-rays and DVDs were either too expensive or would take too long to arrive. I wanted to watch it now, goddamnit!

Before putting a pin in it, I decided to check out YouTube. Typing in “Warlock Film,” I was delighted to see the full film up there and ready to go.

With coffee in hand and a blanket to fend off the UK chill, I settled in and boy, was it worth it. Directed by Steve Miner and written by David Twohy, Warlock moves briskly without leaving you feeling short-changed or lost. Grant and Sands steal the show, showcasing their brilliance as they embark on a pursuit through time and a cursed Los Angeles.

Grant and Sands are absolutely brilliant. It is so sad how Julian Sands passed away last year. Such a good actor. Both great British actors were cast as the two leads as back in 1691 they would have been English folk fresh off the boat. Once they arrive in, at the time, present-day Los Angeles, Lori Singer joins the chase with Grant as her character is cursed by the Warlock to age two decades a day.

“Tout, Tout, through and about; your callow life in dismay. Rentum, Osculum, Tormentum: a decade twice over a day.”

Singer plays a plucky heroine who joins the fight and proves adept at stopping the Warlock in his tracks with just a hammer and a few nails.

It’s a shame we lost Julian Sands last year, for he delivers a sublime and malevolent performance as the Son of Satan. His portrayal, constantly teetering between charming and seductive to truly evil, keeps you on the edge. The scenes with the psychic woman and the kid, as I mentioned at the start, are truly standouts.

Pursuing him is Richard E. Grant’s Redfern who, despite being a stranger in the strange land of his future, pursues the Warlock with dogged determination and a witch compass. A different kind of role for Grant, especially after his wonderful turn in Withnail & I, but he brings so much depth to what could be a one-note character.

Both male leads elevate the film beyond a typical horror adventure of its time. Granted, the effects may show their age, and the story isn’t groundbreaking, but Warlock mixes up the formula enough to make it a worthwhile watch. While critics drew parallels to The Terminator, the film’s unique blend of elements adds its own flavour to the genre.

I am so glad I dived back into Warlock. Less a slasher movie and more black comedy adventure movie it is definitely worth seeking out. I could see a remake working quite well, but I do wonder who would be able to match up to the wonderful wickedness of the mighty Julian Sands.

For those of you partaking in a daily film regimen, I encourage you to share your cinematic journey in the comments below. Let us exchange thoughts on the films we’ve watched—our impressions, delights, and perhaps the occasional disappointment.

Total Films Watched this year – 17

Happy viewing!

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