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MOVIE REVIEW : Beyond Camp With a Bloody 'Warlock' Sequel

September 27, 1993|KEVIN THOMAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

No wonder Trimark Pictures promised to incinerate a witch in a dilapidated prop coffin in front of Pacific's Hollywood last Friday: "Warlock: The Armageddon" (citywide), as grisly as it is silly, needed all the media attention it could get. As corny as the stunt was, it was more fun than what followed inside on the screen. Writers Kevin Rock and Sam Bernard and director Anthony Hickox prove themselves to be hacks--in more than one sense of the word--in making this foolish heavy-on-the-blood-and-guts "Warlock" sequel, which is too dreary to play even as camp.

Never mind that the Warlock (Julian Sands), Satan's son, was reduced to ashes at the end of the original film, because you can never keep a bad man down as long as box office is good. During an eclipse of the sun, Satan's offspring is instantly born to an unfortunate woman who has just put on an exotic necklace.

It seems that its gems are one of the six runes that the Warlock must collect within six days if Satan is to be freed from the confines of hell and provoke the Armageddon. Two of the runes, however, are in the possession of a secret sect of Druids now living in a small Northern California town.

It falls to two of the sect's teen-agers (Chris Young, Paula Marshall), who are actually Druid warriors incarnate, to try to defeat the Warlock in a familiar round of the eternal struggle between good and evil. The outcome is not exactly difficult to predict.

In such dire circumstances, any displays of effective professionalism are to be appreciated. Veteran character actor R. G. Armstrong deserves applause for the imagination and conviction with which he plays a wise Druid elder; so does composer Mark McKenzie for his majestic score. As for Sands, he's just as witty and insinuating as he was in the swift and stylish 1991 original film, but in the wake of this sequel--plus the awful "Boxing Helena"--he might do well to think twice before agreeing to do a "Warlock III." "Warlock: The Armageddon" has been rated R for strong horror violence and for nudity and language.

'Warlock: The Armageddon'

Julian Sands: Warlock

Chris Young: Kenny Travis

Paula Marshall: Samantha Ellison

Steve Kahan: Will Travis

Bruce Glover: Ted Ellison

R. G. Armstrong: Franks

A Trimark Pictures presentation. Director Anthony Hickox. Producers Robert Levy, Peter Abrams. Executive producers Roger A. Burlage, Andrew Hersh. Screenplay by Kevin Rock, Sam Bernard. Story by Rock, based on characters by David N. Twohy. Cinematographer Gerry Lively. Editor Chris Cibelli. Costumes Leonard Pollack. Music Mark McKenzie. Production design Steve Hardie. Art director John Chichester. Set decorator David Koneff. Sound Don Johnson. Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes.

MPAA-rated R (for strong horror violence and for nudity and language).

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