Warlock (1989 film)

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American theatrical poster
Directed by Steve Miner
Produced by Steve Miner
Executive Producer: Arnold Kopelson
Written by David Twohy
Starring Julian Sands
Lori Singer
Richard E. Grant
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography David Eggby
Editing by David Finfer
Distributed by Trimark Pictures
New World Pictures
Release dates January 11, 1991 (USA)
Running time 103 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $9,054,451

Warlock is a 1989 American cult horror film produced and directed by Steve Miner and starring Julian Sands, Lori Singer, and Richard E. Grant. It was written by David Twohy. The soundtrack was by Jerry Goldsmith.


The Warlock (Sands) is taken captive in 1691 Boston, Massachusetts by the witch-hunter Giles Redferne (Grant). He is sentenced to death for his activities, including the bewitching of Redferne's bride-to-be, but before the execution Satan appears and propels the Warlock forward in time to 20th century Los Angeles, California. Redferne follows through the portal.

The Warlock is tasked with assembling the three separated sets of pages of The Grand Grimoire, a Satanic book that will reveal the "true" name of God. Arriving in late 1980s Los Angeles, The Warlock is innocently taken in by Kassandra (Singer) and her roommate, Chas (Kevin O'Brien). After killing Chas, the Warlock also murders a fraudulent psychic woman, whose eyes are controlled by Satan and will be used to guide him to the ancient book. Redferne arrives soon after the murder of the psychic. He tries to track the Warlock, using the Warlock's blood on a Witch Compass. Kassandra calls the police on Redferne and he is taken away. When Kassandra sees the needle on the Witch Compass move, she realizes that Redferne was telling the truth. She sees that the Warlock has returned and he finds the first part of the Grimoire in her dining room table. He then inflicts on Kassandra a curse of rapid aging.

The next morning, Kassandra finds that she has aged 20 years, making her 40 years old. She gets Redferne out of jail to help her. Redferne advises her that she needs to get her charm bracelet back from the Warlock to break the spell or else she will die in three days of old age. She decides to join forces with Redferne to hunt down the Warlock. The Warlock then encounters a young boy playing football in a trailer park. Redferne and Kassandra, later come across the same trailer park. Redferne realizes that the boy was killed for his fat (the fat of a male child who has not been baptized can be used to make a flying potion). The Warlock is seen later flying off to find the second part of the book. Kassandra feels herself getting ill as another day passes. She has aged another 20 years, making her 60 years old.

Morning comes and the Warlock has found the second half of the book. An elderly Mennonite man notices the signs of bewitchment when the cream has curdled overnight and his horse sweats in the morning. He then proceeds to paint a hex sign on his barn. Redferne sees the hex sign and asks Kassandra to stop the car. They meet with the Mennonite and urge his family to leave the farm at once. The Mennonite shows Redferne the attic door, which is ajar. Redferne nails the door shut, gives Kassandra and the Mennonite pennies to hold in their mouths so the Warlock cannot hex them. Redferne finds a page of the Grimoire in the attic and realizes what the Warlock is planning to do. Kassandra points out that if the Grimoire is so sought after, why would he leave one page behind. Redferne realizes this and ends up battling the Warlock in the attic. The battle ends up outside with the Warlock being stabbed with a weathervane. Redferne tries to trap the Warlock in his thumb and toe locks while he is weakened, but the Mennonite locks eyes with the Warlock, enabling the Warlock to hex him, making the Mennonite's eyes bleed. As Redferne tries to cure the Mennonite, Kassandra chases off after the Warlock and ends up retrieving her charm bracelet, which succeeds in breaking the aging curse and restoring her age to 20. Redferne helps the Mennonite and asks Kassandra to help him stop the Warlock from undoing all of creation, promising to protect her.

Kassandra comes up with a plan; instead of them chasing the Warlock all over the place, they would be better off finding the third part of the Grimoire. They end up going to Boston to find the church that had the Grimoire (with the Warlock not too far behind them). They find out from the pastor that the pages were buried in three places: one part was placed within the hollow of a table used in taking communion (the table in Chas and Kassandra's dining room). The second part was given to a vicar who had founded a ministry west of the Carolinas, placed within an armoire (which was in the Mennonite's attic) and a Boston cemetery that Redferne remembers from his day. When they arrive, he shows Kassandra that the ground is consecrated and the Warlock will not be able to enter. Meanwhile, the pastor arrives home to find his wife and unborn twins under threat from the Warlock. The pastor has no choice but to tell him where Redferne and Kassandra went.

In the cemetery, Kassandra and Redferne search for a hex sign to show where the pages are buried. Kassandra finds them in Redferne's grave. They start to leave believing the pages to be safe. Then Kassandra spots a billboard showing that the graveyard is being moved for a new condominium project, which means the ground where Redferne's grave is no longer located upon consecrated land. Kassandra spares Redferne the agony of seeing his own corpse by opening his coffin and retrieving the pages. The Warlock then arrives, demanding the pages. Redferne splits up the pages and they run off with them, but the Warlock catches and tortures Kassandra forcing Redferne to surrender the pages to him; however before he can unite the pages, Redferne pushes the Warlock's head onto consecrated ground, burning him. The Warlock responds by placing "witch fire" in Redferne's mouth and tossing Kassandra into the river. The Warlock then restores the Grimoire and the name is revealed (either Rokisha or Roaisha). Before he can utter it in reverse, Kassandra injects him with salt water, killing the Warlock.

Redferne is then returned to his own time, and Kassandra sees an inscription from Redferne, to her, on his tombstone ("I will remember you always 'til time and times are done."). In the end, Kassandra is seen amongst the vast Salt Lake Flats, where she has buried the book in the hopes that no other Warlock will be able to retrieve it.


Cut scenes[edit]

The Channeler or Breaking Woman[edit]

In the original version of the channeling sequence, actress Mary Woronov ripped open her blouse to reveal the "Eyes of Satan" in place of her nipples. The Warlock freezes her and pushes her to the floor, making her body shatter. Then the Warlock stomps on her chest to retrieve the eyes. This shot was cut after test screenings resulted in laughter at the prosthetic breasts and disapproval over the violent nature of the channeler's death.

It is doubtful Julian Sands returned for the re-shoot and that could explain the change in Mary Woronov's hair from the beginning of the shot to the moment when she collapses on the table. The filmmakers also used a shot of the Warlock kneeling down over the channeler's broken body instead of a new shot of Sands. The film was far enough in production and a quick glimpse of the frozen body with the Warlock beside it was included in the trailer. There are videos on Internet that feature the scene, but only as a reconstruction based on the remains of the original footage.[1]

Rooster compass[edit]

One promotional shot showed the Warlock squatting down inside a circle with a rooster tied to the center. This was explained in the novelization as a compass that the Warlock uses to track down Redferne and Kassandra. The film omits any explanation as to how the Warlock found the two in the airport.


Although completed in 1988, Warlock fell into release limbo in the United States when New World Pictures suffered financial difficulties, it was shelved for two years. The film was eventually picked up by Trimark Pictures and given a limited release beginning in January 1991.[2] The film turned into a modest success for Trimark, grossing $9,094,451 and becoming the company's biggest grosser until Eve's Bayou.[3]


A sequel was made in 1993 and titled Warlock: The Armageddon, starring again Julian Sands. A direct-to-video third film called Warlock III: The End of Innocence came in 1999, this time with Bruce Payne in the title role. Acclaim Entertainment released a video game based on the films for the Super NES and Sega Genesis in 1995. Bluewater Productions also began a Warlock comic book series in 2009.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Warlock : The Channeler's Original Death Scene". YouTube. 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  2. ^ "Company Credits for Warlock". imdb.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  3. ^ "Trimark Top 10 Movies". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  4. ^ "Warlock : Comics : Bluewater Productions". Bluewaterprod.com. Retrieved 2014-02-09. 

External links[edit]