Wishmaster (and it’s sequel Evil Never Dies) was one of the first DVD’s I ever bought on a Region One ‘flipper’ disc. I had seen the first film at the cinema and the follow-up was a straight to video ‘epic’ directed by Freddy’s Revenge and The Hidden’s Jack Sholder. Its be a VERY long time since I watched the movie, so has it stood the test of time?
Many moons ago, an idiotic Emperor unleashed a djinn (an evil genie) and was granted three wishes. If a third wish was granted, the djinn could basically unleash hell and his minions would engulf the earth. The Emperor’s sorcerer performed some magic and entrapped the djinn into a gem.
We are now in the modern day (1997) and an ancient artefact is being transported off a ship into the hands of a rich collector of antiquities. Unfortunately the guy operating the crane is drunk and the crate delivering the goods crushes the collector’s assistant. In the chaos that follows, a dock worker spots the gem and steals it, later selling it at a pawn shop. The Pawn Shop guy takes the gem to be valued and when a young expert Alexandra takes it to a friend to examine, he unwittingly unleashes the djinn who has already entered Alex’s sub-conscious.
The djinn needs someone to ask for his three wishes and Alex is his path to be finally free to unleash mayhem. Of course the djinn along the way has fun by granting random wishes and twisting them so not only does he get to keep their souls but watch them die in unpleasant ways via good old prosthetics and early CGI.
Reasonably successful in it’s day (it did spawn three sequels of declining quality, although part two had it’s moments) Wishmaster is certainly no classic but the film has a lot of things going for it. For a start it’s incredibly gruesome, Andrew Divoff as the djinn is terrific and for serious horror fans there are plenty of cameos from genre greats such as Joe Pilato (Captain Rhodes in Day of the Dead) and Phantasm’s Reggie Bannister as an annoyed pharmacist.
Director Robert Kurtzman and writer Peter Atkins keeps the movie zipping along and there’s rarely a dull moment, not fantastic but worth a bash if late 90’s horror is your bag. I did enjoy watching it again but I don’t think I’ll revisit it anytime soon.
- Starring Tammy Lauren Andrew Divoff Robert Englund Chris Lemmon
- Director Robert Kurtzman