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Wishmaster (1997): Tongue-in-Cheek Horror


Wishmaster (film)

Wishmaster (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Made in 1997 and directed by Robert Kurtzman (this was his second feature film) Wishmaster is a fun frolic of a horror film. With a cast list that reads like a “who’s who of horror” it’s easy to see why it did so well at the box office.

Promoted as a “Wes Craven Presents” film, it definitely fits into the Wes ‘we are not worthy’ Craven style of horror film.

Now about that cast list.

Robert Englund as Raymond Beaumont
Kane Hodder as Merritt’s Guard
Reggie Bannister as a pharmacist
Tony Todd as Johnny Valentine
Ted Raimi as Ed Finney
Angus Scrimm as Narrator
Joseph Pilato as Mickey Torelli
Andrew Divoff as The Djinn/Nathaniel Demerest
Tammy Lauren as Alexandra Amberson
Chris Lemmon as Nick Merritt

With the obvious exceptions of Tammy Lauren and Chris Lemmon (Jack Lemmon’s son and he sounds just like dad) all the names on the above list are horror film ‘alumni’ and well recognised by film fans.

Peter Atkins who wrote the film, named some of his characters after real-life writers in the horror and fantasy genres.

The plot is about an evil Djinn, aka genie, who inhabits a jewel. This jewel is appropriated by Chris Lemmon’s Auction house and while being appraised by the lab enable the Djinn to escape and wreck havoc on the world. The sting in the tale of this “genie” movie is that the Djin are the original form of the ‘helpful’ genie.

Narrator Angus Scrimm tells us at the beginning of the film that the Djinn equal fear. What he does not tell us is that the Djinn have a wicked sense of humour. Played with evil relish by Andrew Divoff, the Djinn obviously enjoys granting wishes, even when the “wisher” doesn’t intend to wish for anything.

English: Photo of Andrew Divoff taken at Adven...

Some of the FX are a little dated but the intent is still there and the film works in spite of it. It is a brilliantly funny film and well worth the time spent watching it. Some of the things the Djinn does reeks of irony. There is a moment in the film where a door man tells the Djinn that if he wants in the building, he’ll have to go through him. The Djinn with an evil laugh and a grin turns the man into part of a glass door so he can do just that. Wicked fun.

Wishmaster was made for an estimated budget of five million dollars and grossed three times that in box office sales. It was popular enough that it spawned a total of three sequels, finally ending after Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled

Despite the popularity of the original, it is easier to find copies of the sequels that it is to  find Wishmaster itself.

I would definitely recommend this to any horror film fan. Hell, it’s worth a look to just watch Chris Lemmon who is definitely a slice off the old peel.

Chris Lemmon at the 1990 Academy Awards. NOTE:...

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