“Be careful what you wish for.”
Dir. Robert Kurtzman
The Genie (djinn, rather) is out the lamp (ruby in this case) and wants three wishes from the bearer so he can call his friends from the other dimension and enslave the earth. Yeah, nice guy. Sounds dumb, but after surprise success of Scream (1996), Wes Craven produces something decidedly more b-movie; so we’re lead to believe with his name slapped all over the place. Actually, the creative force here is the guy who made Hellraiser 3 and rest assured, his squiggly cartoon signature is heavily felt. I mean, did you ever think a genie could be scary? You’re correct if you opted for no, though as a consolation this one is as grotesque as they come. He’s one nasty mofo in fact and takes the “you got what you wished for” stance to new and disgusting heights. All in shades of camp of course; one woman is coerced (as is often the case with this slippery Djinn) to wish she could stay beautiful forever and subsequently becomes a manikin. The dramatic sound-track pre-warns us of the silliness in store and if goofy isn’t your dish you’re in for a hard time here. Andrew Divoff, however, whilst not terrifying brings some depth to the Wishmaster with a most sleazy demeanour and memorably accented voice; he was surely born to play this part and in the djinn, creates something of a modest horror icon. But who will stop the cloaked meanie and his ironic reign of terror? Well, there is a mythology which adds to the playfulness – though no one will scrutinise this too much. If that’s not enough, Wes Craven pulls in some favours and Robert Englund and Tony Todd (amongst other horror icons) make entertaining cameos. Moreover, there are some surprisingly strong performances for a film of this calibre, especially from Jenny O’Hara (check out how many different persona’s she does here) who outdoes moderate lead, Tammy Lauren. Perhaps one of the better 90’s b-horrors – just don’t wish for a sequel- oops three films too late.