Remember the Wishmaster films?
There were four of them and they all deal with this ancient Djinn (Andrew Divoff) who, during each film, would escape from his magical prison and then wander around granting people their wishes. Of course, since the Djinn was evil, there was always a catch. He would either interpret the wish very literally or he would manipulate people into asking for the wish in the wrong way. As a result, people would always get their wish but they’d get in a way that would make them suffer.
For instance, a typical Wishmaster conversation would go something like this:
“I wish I was a better actor.”
“Am I to understand that you wish you were John Wilkes Booth?”
“Wait …. what?”
“As you wish.”
“Sic semper tyrannis!”
The first Wishmaster was released in 1997 while the fourth (and, to date, last) installment was released in 2002. They’ve never gotten as much attention as some of the other horror franchises from that period, largely because there was really only so much that you could do with a character like the Djinn. Part of the problem was that almost every scene depended on someone not understanding the importance of being clear when making a wish. There’s only so many times that you can watch the Djinn trick people into saying, “I wish I never get old,” before the whole novelty of it all wears off.
That said, the Wishmaster films did have one thing going for them and that was Andrew Divoff. A veteran character actor (and one who you might recognize from Lost, where he played a member of the Others who was both Russian and who had only one eye), Divoff was always creepy as fug in the role of the Djinn. Whenever someone made the mistake of making a wish, this little smile would appear on Divoff’s face and you knew that someone was about to learn an important lesson about being careful what you wish for. Divoff was seriously frightening of the Djinn, so much so that you regretted that the films themselves could never quite keep up with his performance.
Last night, I watched the first Wishmaster film for the first time in six years and it was actually a little bit better than I remembered. The plot itself is typical Wishmaster stuff. The Djinn is trapped inside of a gem that eventually makes it way to the United States. An idiot lab worker attempts to experiment on it, which leads to the gem exploding, the Djinn getting free, and an epidemic of mass wish granting. Nobody seems to have learned the lesson that the first thing you wish for is more wishes.
Wishmaster is stupid but fun. The first film was produced by Wes Craven and perhaps that explains why the film is full of cameos from everyone who was anyone in low-budget 90s horror. As a result, you’ve got Kane Hodder saying that he would “love it if” the djinn “tries to go right through him,” and Robert Englund playing a businessman and Tony Todd showing up as a doorman. It’s nice to see them all, though ultimately the main reason to watch the film is for Andrew Divoff’s wonderfully smirky turn as the Djinn. It’s hard not to wish that he had another horror franchise to dominate.
Be care what you wish for!
(Sorry, had to do it….)