It took four years after the original has become a modest hit, for a sequel to be churned out - then another six for part three, a relaxed path quiet at odds with modern cinema. Having watched both in the same evening, I figured I might as well cover both in one review. This is largely because neither are outstanding enough on their own to merit particular depth; however, having given them three hours of my life, I figure I might as well get something out of the experience, even if it's only a couple of terse reviews.
At least the first has Sands, though it's never clear if it's a different character; this one seems to be the son of Satan. Every few centuries, Satan's son has the chance to unleash Armageddon, and only a group of Druids and their runestones can stop it. In this case, the Druidic cult have relocated to small-town America, living in somewhat harmony with the local pastor; son Kenny (Young) is being groomed as their next great warrior, but doesn't know it yet. After the Warlock is born, an impressively gloopy sequence, that's only a matter of time (and a Yoda-like training montage), with Satan Jr. heading cross-country, collecting the stones which were scattered to the winds. His imaginative dispatches of their current owners is probably the highlight of the film - for example, turning one into a living piece of art. In contrast, Kenny and his girlfriend are bland as milk and nowhere near as refreshing, and the final battle relies too much on dodgy optical effects. Sands is, as usual, eminently watchable, but the sequel clearly misses Richard E. Grant, who apparently had something better to do, and lacks any credible opposition.
The third replaces Sands with Payne, who does a decent impression of his predecessor and likely came cheaper. He links up with Kris (Lawrence) in a family home she just found out about, having been adopted. She and her college friends head up to check it out, only for Payne to show up as an alleged architect, keen to sacrifice her. However, the pesky small print in the contract means he needs the friends to give her up, of their own volition, in order to do so, and he sets out seducing them, using their own dreams and goals. It's a good deal smaller in scope, the characters mostly roaming the rooms and passageways in the house, and isn't helped by the irritating nature of most of the participants. Laurence was aged 33 when this was made, so isn't exactly a convincing college student, and I kept thinking, "C'mon, you kicked Pinhead's ass, some Eurotrash wizard isn't much of a threat now, is it?" Still, it contains some interesting visuals which, if not quite rescuing this, lift it up to the level of watchable.
C+ and C