When’s the last time you watched Wes Craven’s Wishmaster? It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Why is that? That’s the question we find ourselves asking this September 19, 2017 – the 20th anniversary of the film!
With the massive success of Scream in 1996 and the follow up Scream 2 in 1997, the studio moved to strike quickly while the Wes Craven iron was hot. Craven’s name is featured prominently on Wishmaster, but as it turns out, he didn’t write or direct it. He’s listed as “Executive Producer.” Hmmm…
Craven’s limited involvement aside, Wishmaster has a lot going for it. Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund, plays a starring role. There are cameos from Kane Hodder, Tony Todd and Ted Raimi. It has a creepy, memorable villain in Andrew Divoff (read our 2016 interview with Andrew here). And it has a cool premise! Everything you need to know is in the Prologue:
Once, in a time before time, God breathed life into the universe. And the light gave birth to Angels. And the earth gave birth to Man. The fire gave birth to the Djinn, creatures condemned to dwell in the void between the worlds.
One who wakes a Djinn will be given three wishes. Upon the granting of the third, the unholy legions of the Djinn will be freed to rule the earth.
Fear one thing in all there is…
Fear the Djinn.
Wishmaster hit theaters in September, 1997. FX wiz Robert Kurtzman directed and produced it on a budget of just $5 Million dollars. The film grossed $6 Million during opening weekend, coming in third at the Box Office. Theatrically it ending up making over $15 million. Hardly gangbusters, but enough to inspire three (yes three!) sequels!
Kurtzman’s influence is evident in the first 5 minutes of the film. The camera pans past a victim with his entrails hanging out. The movie is full of over the top gore FX like this, and it’s probably a big reason I like it so much.
Some things you might not know about Wishmaster
- Angus Scrimm narrates the opening monologue – The Tall Man himself!
- Screenwriter Peter Atkins wrote three Hellraiser films and the live action Fist of the North Star.
- Andrew Divoff played the Djinn / Andrew Demerest in the first two films. John Novak took over the role for the third and fourth films. Divoff says he’s willing to return one more time if there’s a Part 5!
- The Djinn’s final line after the credits roll is “Careful what you wish for.”
- Several characters are named after famous fantasy and horror writers (Derleth, Lieber, Clegg, and more).
If you haven’t watched Wishmaster in a while, you’re in luck. Lionsgate and Vestron recently released The Wishmaster Collection on Collector’s Edition Blu-ray. The 3 Disc set has a ton of special features and includes all four films. I’m looking forward to checking out the Director’s Commentary!
Happy 20th Anniversary, Wishmaster! After 20 years, surely a reboot can’t be far off?