Wishmaster Preview

Clutch Guthrie checks his chute and looks down on the target area. “You sure you’re OK with a night jump?” The pilot screams over the sound of the engine. Clutch squints and smiles smugly, “I invented the night jump. Besides, how else do you think we can get into Fort Knox to steal the gold for the Vice President’s ransom?” The pilot nods, but then grabs him by the arm. “Hold on, Clutch,” He listens closely to his headset and pales, “It’s not just the Vice President, Clutch. Your ex-wife was part of a group taking a tour of the VP’s residence.” Clutch punches the wall and pulls down his goggles. “McGuire just made this personal,” and with that he jumps. He floats majestically like a bird, soaring towards the only area of Fort Knox that isn’t protected by laser beams: the rooftop exhaust port. One square foot in area and the President knew that there was only one man for the job: Clutch Guthrie. What Clutch didn’t tell him was that he knew the man who had taken the VP hostage. They knew him as McGuire. He knew him as McGuire Guthrie. His twin brother.

Patrick leans back from his typewriter and looks at what is shaping up to be a pretty damn thrilling novel. When he looks over at the piece of shit hack Manfred Long he finds the man sweating profusely in front of a blank page. “You OK Manfred?” he asks and Manfred’s head snaps up. “Shut up, I’m working!” He cries shrilly and takes to stroking the Obsidian Dongle. Suddenly his face lights up. “I wish…” he starts softly but then emboldened he yells, “I want to write the raddest story of them all! Make it so wishmaster!” He points the Dongle at his chest. That’s right we are taking on a bit of a cult classic of horror in Wishmaster. Poorly reviewed, but made by a special effects artist turned occasional director, you better believe we’ll get a visual feast. It’s just all the other stuff that is more questionable. Let’s go!

Jamie and the gang duck and bob and weave at the airborne cyborgs. “This isn’t so crackerjack after all,” Kyle says and Jamie shakes his head. At least Patrick seems to be faring better. When he sees Manfred use the Dongle he sighs. “If only we had a wishmaster, too.” He perks up. Wishmaster… too. That gives him an idea. That’s right! We are pairing that with Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies. You have to appreciate the horror franchises that jump straight to video. Let’s go!

Wishmaster (1997) – BMeTric: 34.7; Notability: 38

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 14.0%; Notability: top 16.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 22.2%; Higher BMeT: Batman & Robin, Speed 2: Cruise Control, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Home Alone 3, Anaconda, Steel, Mr. Magoo, Double Team, Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, Spawn, Flubber, An American Werewolf in Paris, Jungle 2 Jungle, Fire Down Below, Gone Fishin’, Turbulence, McHale’s Navy, Plump Fiction, Kull the Conqueror, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, and 15 more; Higher Notability: Batman & Robin, The Saint, Speed 2: Cruise Control, Dante’s Peak, Flubber, The Jackal, The Postman, Spawn, The Man Who Knew Too Little, Fathers’ Day, Red Corner, Meet Wally Sparks, Kiss the Girls, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, Event Horizon, The Devil’s Own, Fire Down Below, Steel, Vegas Vacation, Warriors of Virtue, and 21 more; Lower RT: Plump Fiction, Shadow Conspiracy, The Blackout, Fall, The Peacekeeper, McHale’s Navy, Gone Fishin’, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Speed 2: Cruise Control, ‘Til There Was You, Mr. Magoo, An American Werewolf in Paris, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, The Pest, Dangerous Ground, The Postman, Keys to Tulsa, Double Team, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, How to Be a Player, and 32 more; Notes: 90s Horror is always interesting. This seems like a cult film, usually bad horror films are absolutely dunked on by horror fans online, but high 5s on IMDb is actually not at all bad for a horror film. We’ve only watched six of the top ten BMeT films from 1997 which is unimpressive.

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  An evil djinn (genie to you) is freed from captivity in a gem and sets out to grant (backfiring) wishes while seeking Lauren, because granting her wishes will enable him to destroy the world … or something. The mythology is too complex, the story too thin, and the plentiful gore mostly gratuitous. Followed by three direct-to-video sequels.

(Well we are watching one of those sequels. I do love overly complex lore. I think a horror film immediately jumping into the lore is just a funny idea. Usually, they make one good film without any lore, and then the sequels ruin it with too much lore. Seems like they skipped the first step and just made a bad lore-filled film instead.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEA2l6dt8Bc/

(So basically this is the classic tale of the genie who grants you bad wishes, but taken to the extreme of making the wishes kill you in horrifying ways or something? I mean … great idea for a horror franchise if I’m being honest. It isn’t a surprise Wes Craven produced it.)

DirectorsRobert Kurtzman – (Known For: The Demolitionist; Deadly Impact; Buried Alive; The Rage; BMT: Wishmaster; Notes: He penned the story for From Dusk Til Dawn and then paid Tarentino to write the full script. He has 128 make-up credits to his name, so horror is his bread and butter. And yes, he has a make-up credit here.)

WritersPeter Atkins – (Known For: Hellbound: Hellraiser II; Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth; Fist of the North Star; Prisoners of the Sun; BMT: Wishmaster; Hellraiser: Bloodline; Notes: Was in a theater group with Clive Barker and he indeed actually wrote the Hellraiser theatrical sequels. He only wrote the first Wishmaster, although he has character credits for the rest of the series.)

ActorsTammy Lauren – (Known For: The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark; Chains of Gold; Tiger Warsaw; Future BMT: Radioland Murders; Mad City; BMT: Wishmaster; Notes: Was one of the stars of the period television drama Homefront. She’s has lot of recurring roles on television over the years, including a seven episode run on Home Improvement.)

Andrew Divoff – (Known For: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; The Hunt for Red October; Air Force One; Vault; Faust; Oblivion; Neon Maniacs; Xtro 3: Watch the Skies; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; Dangerous Touch; Blue Hill Avenue; Lockdown; Extreme Justice; The Rage; Oblivion 2: Backlash; Touch Me; Hong Kong 97; Down ‘n Dirty; Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation; Treasure Raiders; Future BMT: Toy Soldiers; American Dreamz; A Low Down Dirty Shame; BMT: Wishmaster; Mac and Me; Another 48 Hrs.; Graveyard Shift; Notes: Y’all know Andrew Divoff. Oh wait … maybe you don’t. He’s a huge direct-to-video action star from the 90s and is all over a ton of television shows in guest spots over the years. I just watched him in Criminal Minds … don’t watch that episode though, it is ultra racist.)

Angus Scrimm – (Known For: Phantasm; Chopping Mall; John Dies at the End; Phantasm II; Phantasm: Ravager; The Lost Empire; Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead; Deadfall; Phantasm IV: Oblivion; Mindwarp; Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story; Munchie; I Sell the Dead; A Piece of the Action; Sweet Kill; Transylvania Twist; Witches’ Brew; Scream Bloody Murder; Disciples; Jim, the World’s Greatest; BMT: Wishmaster; Notes: Unusually tall and slender he played the “tall man” character from Phantasm in many parody commercials and shorts over the years as a staple of the horror genre.)

Budget/Gross – $5 million / Domestic: $15,738,769 (Worldwide: $15,738,769)

(That is pretty good. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t try and go back to the well for a second try at the big box office take and instead ended up straight-to-video for the rest of the series.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (8/32): Wishmaster searches for horror in the exploits of a supernatural being — one whose powers, alas, evidently do not include the ability to summon a compelling script.

(Man the reviews are dire. Bad acting, bad special effects, bad writing, and laugh-inducing instead of scream-inducing.)

Reviewer Highlight: An extravaganza of bad special effects and worse acting – Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle

Poster – Wishmaster General

(I like the general mood of the poster. Start red mixed with eerie black and all that. The font could be a little better and it kind of looks more like a vampire flick than a djinn flick. I mean, the picture on the poster really looks nothing like the monster in the film.)

Tagline(s) – Be careful what you wish for. (D)

(Well duh. Gotta ding this for creativity… and really everything about it. It’s just a common phrase. Nothing more or nothing less.)

Keyword(s) – demon, monster

Top 10: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf (2021), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Beetlejuice (1988), It (2017), Scooby-Doo (2002), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Moana (2016), Shazam! (2019)

Future BMT: 71.1 Supergirl (1984), 64.5 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997), 61.2 Scooby-Doo (2002), 56.3 The New Mutants (2020), 51.6 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010), 49.7 Sleepwalkers (1992), 47.7 The Dark Tower (2017), 45.9 Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003), 44.5 Wrath of the Titans (2012), 41.2 Clash of the Titans (2010)

BMT: Hellboy (2019), Gods of Egypt (2016), Warcraft (2016), Conan the Barbarian (2011), Eragon (2006), R.I.P.D. (2013), Seventh Son (2014), Jason X (2001), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Slender Man (2018), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), The Golden Child (1986), Wishmaster (1997), A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), The Bye Bye Man (2017), I, Frankenstein (2014), Alone in the Dark (2005)

Matches: The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf (2021), It Chapter Two (2019), Hercules (1997), Legend (1985), Hellboy (2004), Wrath of the Titans (2012), Pumpkinhead (1988), Wishmaster (1997), I, Frankenstein (2014), Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000), Cellar Dweller (1987), Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings (1993), The Monster Project (2017), Slaughterhouse Rock (1987), The Snow Queen (2013), The Demon’s Rook (2013)

(I did a two-fer here because it seemed interesting. Obviously things like The Witcher probably have a demon and a monster. But then things like Cellar Dweller has a genuine demon-monster. Probably not a terrible way to discover related films in the end. Really glad Pumpkinhead II shows up here.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 21) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robert Englund is No. 4 billed in Wishmaster and No. 10 billed in Urban Legend, which also stars Alicia Witt (No. 1 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 2 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (4 + 10) + (1 + 2) + (3 + 1) = 21. If we were to watch A Low Down Dirty Shame, and Kingdom Come we can get the HoE Number down to 18.

Notes – One of the statues in Raymond Beaumont’s (Robert Englund’s) room with the statues is a statue of Pazuzu from The Exorcist (1973).

Many crew members, including Director Robert Kurtzman (man killed by piano), had small roles in the film, sometimes appearing in different scenes as different characters.

Characters named Finney, Beaumont, Derleth, and Merritt are all references to early twentieth century science fiction or horror writers, Jack Finney, Charles Beaumont, August Derleth, and Abraham Merritt.

Features numerous horror movie actors, including Robert Englund (the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” films), Angus Scrimm (Phantasm (1979)), Tony Todd (Night of the Living Dead (1990), the Candyman (1992) movies), Kane Hodder (various “Friday the 13th” and “Jason” movies), Reggie Bannister (Phantasm (1979)) and Ted Raimi (Darkman (1990), Army of Darkness (1992)).

“Wishmaster was a great experience….I had a very short schedule and had to deliver the film into theatres in 6 months start to finish so it was very stressful but very fulfilling. Sam Raimi actually recommended me for the film and after a half a dozen meeting with the studio I got the job. I had to go in and pitch my take on the film and its design. We shot it in 33 days in LA which was tough as we had dozens of locations all around the city so we had a lot of company moves. We had hundreds of FX which was a bit of a challenge as the schedule was tight. I was very lucky to find Andrew Divoff and Tammy Lauren. Divoff is a very close friend who I enjoy working with on whatever we can find together. We now have this second hand when we work together.” (Backwoods Horror interview with Robert Kurtzman in 2009)

Greg Nicotero, one of the special effects creator for Wishmaster, also worked on special effects in Romero’s 1985 movie Day of the Dead (and he played the character of Pvt. Johnson). Joseph Pilato, who played the drunk crane worker in Wishmaster, was the main villain in Day of the Dead (as Captain Rhodes).

According to a 2016 interview with PopHorror, it took 3.5 hours to get into costume with 1.5 hours to get out according to lead star Andrew Divoff. He also said his favorite scenes for the film were the ones where he shared scenes with his monstrous brethren.

Jack Sholder was approached to direct Wishmaster (1997) but declined as he felt the script wasn’t very good. When it came to the sequel, he was asked to direct it which he also turned down until the producers told him that he could write the screenplay for Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999) and, despite having to follow some basic guidelines, he could have creative freedom with the story.