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Wishmaster

Wishmaster

By Patrick Samuel • July 24th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 3/5
WISHMASTER (MOVIE)
Live Entertainment

Original release: September 19th, 1997
Running time: 90 minutes

Director: Robert Kurtzman
Writer: Peter Atkins

Cast: Tammy Lauren, Andrew Divoff, Chris Lemmon, Wendy Benson, Tony Crane, Jenny O’Hara, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Reggie Bannister, Ted Raimi

Wishmaster

A simple wish is sometimes all it takes to change our lives. From working in a dead end job, to living in a crumby apartment in a bad part of town, or maybe wanting to get away from our families, or possibly ending a relationship that’s obviously going nowhere; these are all things we might wish for at times in our lives. They’re all practical things of course, and wishing for them is just one of the first steps in making them come true, the next steps are realizing how much we really want it to happen and then going about doing everything possible to make it so.

Then there are other kinds of wishes. I want to be rich. I want to be famous. I want to rule the world. I want to live forever. I want the object of my obsession to fall madly in love with me. These are the kinds of wishes that stem from our fantasies and darkest desires to bend the world to our will and liking. For these kinds of wishes to come true we need either a miracle or a “djinn” to grant them.

Dating back to pre-Islamic times, stories about the djinn, or as they’re sometimes called – genies, can be found in literature and art. Later on we find mentions of them in the Qur?an, the collection of West and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age known as One Thousand And One Nights, the Bible, the New Testament and the apocryphal book The Testament Of Solomon. As spiritual creatures, they’re believed to inhabit an unseen world in dimensions beyond the visible universe of humans a smokeless and “scorching fire”. They can appear physical in nature, interact physically with people and objects and have the capacity to be either good or evil, having been given freewill like humans and unlike angels. While stories about them may vary, the one thing they always have in common is that they always bestow three wishes upon the humans who free them from whatever object they’re usually trapped in. Most times this is a lamp.

Wishmaster

The 1997 film, Wishmaster, takes all of that history and turns it on its head with a story that features a deeply malevolent being unleashing a torrent of horrors on unsuspecting humans who make careless wishes, and collecting their souls afterwards. Produced by Wes Craven and containing cameos from horror icons such as Reggie Bannister (Phantasm), Kane Hodder (Friday The 13th), Tony Todd (Candyman) and Robert Englund (A Nightmare On Elm Stree), it opens with a narration by Angus Scrimm who played the Tall Man in Phantasm:

“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. And the fire gave birth to the djinn, creatures condemned to dwell in the void between the worlds. One who wakes a djinn shall be given three wishes. Upon the granting of the third, the unholy legions of the djinn shall be freed to rule the earth. Fear one thing in all there is…fear the djinn.”

It takes us 12th century Persia where the emperor has made the mistake of carelessly wishing for the djinn to show him wonders. He uses his power to make bring about suffering and death, but before the emperor can make his third wish, Zoroaster (Ari Barak), a sorcerer, informs him that the final wish will open a gateway between our world and the djinn’s, allowing for their race to rule over us. Using a spell, Zoroaster manages to trap the djinn in a jewel where he ramins trapped for the next 870 years.

This then brings us to the year 1997 where eccentric collector Raymond Beaumont (Robert Englund) has bought an antique statue of Ahura Mazda with a red jewel. WishmasterIt’s of course the same jewel that houses the trapped djinn. During a freak accident, the statue’s broken and the jewel ends up in a pawn shop before landing on the desk of greedy auctioneer Nick Merritt (Chris Lemmon) who hands it over to appraiser Alexandra Amberson (Tammy Lauren) to examine. This starts off a chain of events that sees Alex at the center of it all when first her co-worker Josh Aickman (Tony Crane) dies in a bizarre accident after trying to examine the jewel.

With the djinn now free and having a human body, he tries to lure others to make wishes so he claim their souls, starting with a homeless man, then a security guard and later on a bouncer at Beaumont’s party. There’s also a backstory involving Alex’s sister Shannon (Wendy Benson) and their parents, both of whom died in a house fire many years earlier. The exposition of the backstory is handled somewhat clumsily and this isn’t helped by Tammy Lauren’s limited acting abilities and the handful of facial expressions she depends on to convey emotions such as shock, horror, sadness, pain and rage. This together with pretty much all of her scripted dialogue is what makes the film laughable but despite this there are some truly wonderful and gory moments through, as well as some very dark humour.

Wishmaster, having spawned a few sequels, remains best in its original form as it’s here we see a great line up of actors in cameo roles, some truly excellent make-up effects and get to experience a story that, until then, remained largely unexplored in the horror genre. Unfortunately, it’s heroine, Alex, and much of the dialogue is what let’s down, but then we can’t have always have everything we wish for.

Wishmaster

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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