There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun.
They say to be careful what you wish for, but what if that saying were based in truth? That genies and other wish granting entities were not in fact the benevolent blue songsmiths that we have come to see them as? That is where Wishmaster comes in, returning the Genie to it’s dark roots of the Djinn.
Today’s Key Movie:
A Djinn is released upon the earth by accident and begins his mission to free his kind and bring about hell on Earth. Now it is up to antiquities appraiser Alex Amberson to stop him before she is forced to complete her third wish allowing the Djinn to be free.
Why this movie?
One of my favorite movies as a kid was the classic 1940 film The Thief of Bagdad. In it, we saw a Genie closer to his true form as a dark and ominous being who, although is not evil, is certainly not the joyful being we have come to see his kind as. At that age I was also quite enamored by another Genie played by Barbra Eden further establishing Genies as benevolent and rather lovely beings. This was only reinforced by Robin Williams portrayal of the Genie bringing this ancient species into a more playful and joyful realm than ever before. However, this was not always the case.
Doing my own research into the mythical beings, I would soon learn that Genies, or Djinns, were not in fact benevolent beings who wished to serve man but were in fact bitter angry mystical slaves who were hellbent on twisting the wishes of man into horrible things. Much like that of the Leprechaun or even Rumpelstiltskin, these beings were far from pleasant, some could even be considered evil.
So, when the film Wishmaster hit, I was intrigued by the premise of bring these demonic beings back to where they came from, bringing their magic and mayhem back to the horror genre where they belonged.
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
Wishmaster should really be a much more respected and recognized horror movie than it is today. While it did help bring the Genie race nearer to their origins for a brief time, reminding us all how evil they really were, for some reason this classic remains a lesser known tale that only us Horror Hounds really remember.
Watching this again for this blog, I was really impressed with just how well written the movie is. I had feared that it had not aged well and had become more legendary in my memories than it actually was but that is the furthest from the truth. This is in fact a really tremendous story that not only works in every way but is genuinely frightening through and through. Every single actor in this dials it in perfectly especially Andrew Divoff who plays the evil Djinn to perfection. He is creepy beyond compare with a voice that is as powerful as that of Angus Scrimm from Phantasm and Tony Todd from Candyman (who both make appearances in this film as well).
In addition to the terrifying lead, Actor Tammy Lauren, who plays Alex, really shows just how good she is as an actor making it a tragedy that she didn’t really do much after this. Tammy may have been cursed with having the generic ‘female hero’ look of the time as she resembles both Linda Hamilton and Jeri Ryan in both her appearance and abilities. She does a marvelous job in her role as the foil to the Djinn’s machinations, carrying the film through and through and I am sad that she has since vanished from filmmaking since 2014.
One of my favorite aspects of this movie is it’s connection to the other iconic horror films by bringing in some of the most famous actors in the genre. Including the aforementioned Angus Scrimm and Tony Todd (Candyman), Robert England (Nightmare on Elmstreet), Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th), Tom Savini (Friday the 13th), Ted Raimi (Army of Darkness) and more make appearances and are all killed by this new supernatural slasher indicating that The Wishmaster is being setup to be the ultimate monster. There is even a fun cameo from the Pazuzu statue from The Exorcist so little is left out!
No horror film of this caliber would be anything without some serious special effects and this one certainly does not skimp on those. Using a combination of practical and CGI, Wishmaster dials it up to 11 with some of the most imaginative deaths and creature effects that have been seen on the screen. From simple effects like someone’s eyes being covered over by flesh to people being turned into mannequins, to people being eaten by cancer in seconds, this movie’s deaths get more and more inventive with every wish. These magical attacks are so well done that you almost dread seeing the Djinn be taken down at the end, but fear not this is certainly not the last we see of this evil creature.
Overall, Wishmaster is an incredible horror film that I feel was denied it’s chance at a cult following like that of Freddy and Jason. The Djinn is a truly terrifying creature and Wishmaster does a tremendous job bringing the dark version back into our world. Although it was a short lived franchise, it remains one of my favorites to this day. While I don’t remember much about the sequels, we will get a chance to reexperience them together over the next few weeks as we re-watch the remaining films in the franchise, Wishmaster 2 Evil Never Dies, Wishmaster 3 Beyond the Gates of Hell and finally Wishmaster The Prophecy Fulfilled. Until then…
OK, where do I get this movie?
While you can get this one on it’s own I recommend picking up the two movie set of Wishmaster and Wishmaster 2. You really can’t go wrong with these. I look forward to talking about the sequel next week…
Late To The Game 4/29/2021
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
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