The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at] I'd love to check out what you got.



Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.


Friday, November 9, 2007

Warlock: The Armageddon (1993)

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I first saw this film back in high school when some buddies and I rented it. We heard there was this really cool scene where The Warlock turns a guy into a piece of art. Unfortunately, the scene didn't really live up to the hype. As a more mature viewer, I now appreciate the film for its silliness and Julian Sands, who's a pretty cool dude.

Warlock: The Armageddon is the second in the Warlock series, and it follows our hero Julian Sands, as he collects some stones in order to complete a ritual to bring Satan to Earth (The Devil, not the famous hockey player Miroslav Satan). In his way are a group of Druids in a small town in the US. Two of them have kids, and those two kids are supposed to be the warriors that'll stop Sands from fulfilling his mission. Though the two are in high school, one is the 29-year old Paula Marshall, and the other the 22-year old Chris Young (who you may remember as the kid going for the tour in PCU). All they needed was Luke Perry and Ian Ziering to make it perfect. Anyway, Sands comes close to bringing about the end of the world, if only he'd understood the invention of headlights for automobiles in the past 400 years.

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The first Warlock was somewhat original and had some interesting death scenes and whatnot. This film tried to carry on that tradition, and failed miserably. When he turns the guy into an art sculpture it was more weird than it was cool. For some reason it didn't kill the guy, so the sculpture had blinking eyes, making it look like an element in a Peter Gabriel video. For me, the only thing close to as awesome as Julian Sands was the local jock who had a too sweet mullet.

I'm not sure what you can say about Julian Sands that hasn't already been said. He makes this movie. My favorite part was when he picked up this midget woman and threw her into an iron maiden. There was another pretty cool part when the old Druid guys try to shoot him with a shot gun, and he kills them by making a firearm out of his fingers. Then for good measure, he blows the smoke off them. I'm not surprised he left the series for the third movie, because he must've been bored with these silly scenes; but I have to say the silly scenes wouldn't have been as enjoyable without him involved.

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Paula Marshall's in this. She's one of those actresses that looks better in her forties than she did in her twenties. Not that she didn't look good then, she just looks better now. I remember her as being pretty hot in a Diagnosis Murder episode my mom was watching recently. Anyway, her claim to fame seems to be killing shows, because everyone she's in dies out before the end of the first season, most notably Snoops with Gena Gershon, and Cupid with Entourage's Jeremy Piven. According to imdb, she's been guest starring on Nip/Tuck lately, so we'll see what happens there. Maybe she wouldn't mind killing a few of the ten or so crime dramas that've taken over the airwaves.

Speaking of Jeremy Piven, this film also has the kid from PCU who came to campus to take a tour. He's supposed to be a geek turned hero in this movie. I'm wondering if screenwriters who come up with this type of scenario are trying to right some wrong from their past, as if every heroic thing the geeky kid does removes one more wedgie, or relieves the pain of one more swirly. I'm not saying every hero should be some beefy Dolph Lundgren type with a character name like Smoke Man Musk (or maybe I am), I'd just rather not have to deal with the writer working out unresolved issues from his childhood when I'm trying to enjoy a bad Julian Sands film.

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This film didn't a have a great opinion of organized religion. It painted a picture of it as this close-minded, out-dated, intolerant, belligerent institution. I'm not a very religious person myself, but I feel I'd be remiss in ignoring the same kind of monolithic approach to a subject that I berated in films like Hunt For Eagle One and Second in Command. It's like we have here an ultra liberal stance on religion like the ultra conservative ones on terrorism or communism in the other two films. I've always had a problem with being preached to when I watched movies, and it doesn't matter if it comes from the far left or the far right.

As a Julian Sands vehicle, this ain't half-bad, but beyond him, this is a poor film. It's no where near the seminal work the first Warlock is, and if you're considering renting something, try that first. If you see it on Sci-Fi like it was recently, you may want to TiVo it, but I wouldn't go much further. It's fun to make fun of, but you could probably do better renting something else. I personally got a kick out of it, but not enough to spend any money on it.

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  1. This has no comments and it needs one. I freaking love this movie. The first movie is the better one but this is so overly stupid with more gore and craziness I love it.

  2. I guess I can see how it was fun, I just wasn't sure how much I was supposed to take it seriously. And a lot of the archives, especially back here in 2007, are comment-less, but it's great when you or Ty or anyone else pops back in and leaves something, because it's fun for me to have a reason to revisit these older reviews as well.

  3. I remember being so very curious about this film when it was first released. Entertainment Weekly used to publish the Top 20 Box Office chart (I'm not sure if they still do this or not), and this film sat in the number six position it's opening weekend - which I thought was a pretty remarkable achievement considering the genre and the fact that it was released by Trimark who just didn't the have the distribution power of the big studios.

    Anyways, this film was financial success but I had to wait until it came to video to check it out. The film earns my approval. The story, the inventive kills, but mostly Julian Sands who has such a great screen presence.

    A few years back, I watched this with an old ex-girlfriend and she was pleasantly surprised by it. For whatever reason, this film holds up well.