Wishmaster (1997): Evil a-Djinn


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Directed by Robert Kurtzman (Buried Alive, Deadly Impact) Wishmaster is a horror film that has its tongue firmly in its cheek. Starring Andrew Divoff and featuring a cornucopia of horror film alumni, as well as Jack Lemmon‘s son Chris. (Chis Lemmon sounds just like his dad and even has most of his mannerisms)

In the beginning of the film we see the “back story” of the evil Djinn (Divoff in heavy makeup) and we also see how he comes to be defeated by a court sorcerer. The sorcerer traps the Djinn in an opal the size of Texas and that is where he remains until a drunken crane operator smashes the statue that the jewel was hidden in.

This newly released opal is pocketed by a dock worker and it finds its way eventually to an auction house. The owner, Nick Merritt (Lemmon) gives the stone to Alexandra ‘Alex’ Anderson (Tammy Lauren) to see how much it’s actually worth. She in turn gives it to her best friend Josh Aickman (Tony Crane) to analyse and its while doing this that the Djinn escapes and starts his deadly path to Alex who actually woke him up.

I really enjoyed this film the first time I saw it. It was a case of “spot the horror star” with its long list of cameos by favourite genre actors. The list is long and impressive:

Like I said, quite a lot of folks to spot and enjoy recognising them before they each meet their respective ends.

The only real problem I had with the film was the female lead Tammy Lauren. Everything about this young lady; her actions, her voice, even her facial features, ย screamed “Laura Hamilton” clone. It felt like the director and the producer really wanted Hamilton and since for what ever reason they couldn’t have her, they grabbed another female who resembled her and made her “act” like Hamilton.

I could be wrong, but man, she sure made me think of the Terminator gal.

I know that Wishmaster has been pretty much panned over the years and that it spawned three more sequels (none of which I’ve seen) that were equally panned. But if you took the film at face value and realised that from frame one it was never meant to be taken seriously; you would enjoy it. This film oozes a sly humour that is hard to avoid if you look for it.

Interestingly enough, Wishmaster was the only film out of a grand total of 4 in what became a series, was the only film to have the “Wes Craven Presents” credit.

I remember showing this to my daughter (at a pretty young age, yes I know, I was a bad parent) and once she got past a few of the scarier bits (scary if you’re that age) she found the film to be chock full of sardonic humour. The same way I did.

It’s a great film to watch and chuckle at. Kane Hodder’s scene with Andrew Divoff’s Djinn is hysterically funny. (Amazingly, it was this scene that scared the crap out of my daughter.)

I’d give this a 4 out of 5 stars for black comedy and sly innuendo and for Andrew Divoff and Chris Lemmon‘s performances. A big bowl of popcorn movie for sure.

Andrew Divoff and Robert Englund.
Andrew Divoff and Robert Englund.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

16 thoughts on “Wishmaster (1997): Evil a-Djinn”

  1. I recently watched this film with my girlfriend on Netflix. I think the most fun thing is listening to someone’s “wish” (or the casual aside that you know will be converted into a wish) and then getting revved up for the bizarre and horrible way the Dijin will grant it.

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    1. Agreed!! I remember showing this to my daughter as I thought is was one of the funniest films I’d seen in ages just because of the wish thing you mentioned. She watched and had nightmares for weeks…okay she was a little young, but hey, she’d watched T2 with no problem! LOL Thanks for commenting matey!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Nice write up. Haven’t seen this in ages!!!!! I wasn’t too fond if it when I first saw it. Didnt dislike it, but not something I would seek out again. Though its been long enough so perhaps I’ll revisit.

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  3. sounds pretty good…yet to watch it because i was under the impression it was one of those old ‘bad’ horror’s…was a fleeting assumption based on the DVD cover I think! but it sounds good…and I have a bit of a thing for Robert Englund…which is weird, but he’s such a charismatic horror actor! only he could make Freddy Krueger so adorable!
    so there’s one for MY list!
    Great review…as always ๐Ÿ˜€

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      1. lol I think the other half has this on DVD…and he loves it….but that could be Puppetmaster…it was something master but I can’t remember which! He’s easily pleased as well though mind…I mean…he’s with me he’d have to be! haha

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    1. Ah he did have the DVD after all…he had both the something-master films (puppetmaster looks godawful!) twas very funny! and pretty good…reminded me a little of Hellraiser.
      I’m not gonna do a review it cos I can’t put it better than you did! But glad I watched it in the end! I think I laughed at Scott when he bought it because of how daft it looked…should know better than to judge a book by its cover!

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"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

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