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:
- Angus Scrimm as the narrator (voice only)
- Robert Englund as Beaumont the antiquities collector
- Ted Raimi as the quickly killed assistant to Beaumont
- Kane Hodder as a security guard
- Tony Todd as a door guard
- Reggie Bannister as the pharmacist
- George ‘Buck’ Flower as the homeless man
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, 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.
- Some Facts on the Djinn (camillecarter.wordpress.com)
- Most Afghans Are Certain The Demons Of Myth Actually Roam The Earth (businessinsider.com)
- Here There Be Monsters (markingtimelivingwar.wordpress.com)
- Looking Forward to Evil Dead!!!!! (thechaosvault.com)
- Bruce Campbell on Horror Films and Great Filmmaking (geektyrant.com)
- Evil Dead (2013): A review (moeatthemovies.com)
- Get Your Scream On- Sam Raimi Scares With Evil Dead (eventful.com)