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John’s Horror Corner: Warlock 3: The End of Innocence (1999), the only disappointment of the franchise.

October 15, 2019

MY CALL: Just plain terrible and completely unworthy of following up parts 1-2. MORE MOVIES LIKE Warlock 3Well, of course, Warlock (1989) and Warlock 2: The Armageddon (1993). Some other “part 3s” that are decidedly inferior to their predecessors include Wishmaster 3 (2001), Ghoulies Go to College (1991), Leprechaun 3 (1995) and Pumpkinhead 3 (2006).

The opening scene is really unimpressive. Set in 1673 New England, this origin feels much like the story other two movies—which both involved time-traveling warlocks.

SIDEBAR about Franchise Continuity: This movie completely ignored that the events of Warlock (1989) and Warlock 2: The Armageddon (1993) as if they never happened. By my observation, they are 100% unrelated. The first Warlock (1989) was sent to the future to assemble a book that would provide access to Earth for Satan. The “second” Warlock (who looked and behaved identically to the first) also came from another time. Moreover, the first Warlock sought the Grand Grimoire whereas the second fled crystal-toting druids. Or is this more like the Leprechaun franchise theory that each movie featured a completely different Leprechaun (despite being played with the same personality and by the same actor)? Perhaps, and if so, then there are numerous different prophecies which can bring Hell on Earth and for each prophecy a similar-looking warlock to expedite it. Seems farfetched, but it’s the best working theory I’ve got here.

If you weren’t sure how bad this would be, just wait past the lame 1673 scene until the opening credit sequence music. Then, you know it’s bad as the 90s electro-alt-grunge soundtrack kicks into gear. This movie’s title sounds like an adult movie, and the sets, writing and acting follow suit. I’m actually surprised there weren’t way more sex scenes.

When art student Kris (Ashley Laurence; Hellraiser 1-3/6, Lurking Fear, Cupid) learns she has inherited the contents of her ancestors’ manor, she ventures to collect family heirlooms with her boyfriend and college friends (incl. Rick Hearst; Brain Damage). Soon after their arrival, our warlock (Bruce Payne; The Keep, Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, Howling VI) arrives posing as an architect-historian and tries devastatingly hard to chew the scenery as well as Julian Sands (Warlock, Gothic). Bruce Payne looks the part. But none could match Julian Sands and the writing and budget for this sequel leave Payne drowning in bad video-era B-moviedom.

The tropes rain down hard. Kris’ car won’t start for no good reason at all, a mirror casts twisted evil reflections that don’t lead to anything at all, a child’s voice whispers through the halls of the abandoned house, and a weird harbinger lady warns Kris “believe me, you don’t want to go to that house… Death’s in that house!” Ooof!

The first two Warlock films (especially part 1) were satisfying witch movies exploring different aspects of spellcraft, curses, the occult, mythology, rune stones, druids and visual magical displays. They had real protagonists, and really gory consequences to crossing paths with these diabolical spellcasters.

Overall, the depiction of magic here in part 3 offers little visual spectacle at all. There’s a gory (but brief) throat rip that could just as well be in a slasher film, a lame “shatter” death scene, some Hellraiser-ish imagery (with more BDSM and nudity than horror), and a lot of off-screen death. And little is more upsetting in horror than off-screen death!

The sets are cheap, the effects are generally weak, the writing is awful, the acting is horrible. The finale confrontation is upsettingly bad. Like, I was angry (but still 10% gigglingly amused) yelling at the screen at the stupidity before me. Most B-movies entertain with hokey creature effects or cheap but abundant gore. Nope, none of that here. This is the bad movie so bad that its only redeeming factor is its laughability. I’m actually kind of surprised there wasn’t a subsequent sequel called Warlock 4: In Space to follow Pinhead, Jason and the Leprechaun.

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