Wishmaster (1997) Blu-ray Review

Lionsgate UK are again releasing a batch of its Vestron Video Collector’s Series on Blu-ray. As like last time Infernal Cinema is reviewing these titles with the third in the set being Wishmaster

On sale now from Lionsgate UK, directed by Robert Kurtzman. 

The ancient entity known in human legend as the Djinn can grant a person’s wildest dreams. And in the process, it unleashes your darkest nightmares. The moral of this explosively terrifying, special-effects powered, horror-fantasy spectacular: Be careful what you wish for.

Wishmaster was a film that gave birth to a franchise of movies that centred on the character of an evil djinn, a genie of sorts, that would make peoples wishes come true in the more sinister and sometimes literal of ways.

Out of the four movies in the Wishmaster series this, the original, is the best. It had some decent special effects for the late nineties, several cast members that were known to horror flick fans, the name power of Wes Craven attached as its producer and a plot that did have moments of originality. It’s good to see it finally get a UK Blu-ray release, Wishmaster is a gem of a movie.

The biggest asset for this though is the actor that plays the titular Wishmaster – Andrew Divoff. He is a charismatic lead and his dashing good looks make him ideal for the manipulative and smooth dijnn when he is in human form. Divoff was also the highlight of the 1999 sequel Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies. Sadly he was lacking from parts three and four, which instead starred John Novak as the Dijnn and both were directed by Chris Angel (they were shot back-to-back). 

Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Ted Raimi all appear in brief roles. They met some grisly fates, with Hodder’s death being the most memorable. All of these men have spoken very positively about Wishmaster in the years since. Angus Scrimm even lends his voice to the opening narration. There’s a couple of more cameos, too.

This was directed by Robert Kurtzman, who had primarily been dealing in special effects for most of his career until the mid nineties. From Night of the Creeps (1986) to Army of Darkness (1992) to Scream (1996) he had been involved in some now much loved cult movies. As a director he handles the duties well, with an especially impressive sequence for the movies finale. From 2000-2004 he worked on some big Hollywood films before returning to horror flicks like Hostel (2005) and Tusk (2014)

The release is packed with special features, some of them being…

Out of the Bottle – Kurtzman and David Tripet talk about bringing various aspects together to make the film, being aware they needed someone like Wes Craven involved to gain attention, the duality of Divoff and how he managed his roles, difficulties casting the lead female role, the use of well known horror stars, designing the dijnn and more.

Tammy Lauren and Divoff Interviews – The two leads are recently interviewed for their memories on Wishmaster. Divoff looks like he has barely aged in the last two decades. He talks about the make up he had to wear, doubting himself in the role and struggling to act like a ladykiller in some scenes. Lauren praises her co-star, seeing Divoff eating jelly babies while dressed as the dijnn (which he believed helped his voice sound deeper) and accidentally stabbing herself in the leg during one scene.

Wish List – Some of the horror stars that appear in the feature talk about their roles. Hodder feels his part was the first one he had which was developed to some extent, Englund felt sorry for Divoff and the nature of his character and Raimi discusses how he got involved in Wishmaster as well as working with Kurtzman. All three admit that they continue to sign pictures and posters for the movie and loved working on it.

Order here.