‘The Wishmaster’ is one of them films that where by having the right combination of pace, plot and gore makes it one of those little gems you’ve got to see, and, for the first time in the UK, Lionsgate's 'Vestron' gives it a well deserved Blu-ray release.
The plot is basically as the title suggests, an evil Djinn (or genie to us) is summoned into our reality through the breaking of a red gem known as the soul stone. Once here he makes it his sole purpose to collect souls from unsuspecting victims in exchange for granting wishes. Not a bad trade for most heathens, but sadly, unless you are quite specific in the details of your wish the Wishmaster takes your request and grants it in the most evil way he can… what a bastard! Once he has got enough souls he must grant the person who summons him 3 wishes and on the third he can bring a whole Djinn army into our plain of existence.
The concept and plot is pretty much perfect for this style of splatter horror because it means really the only limitation to the story is the writer’s imagination, and thankfully for me writer Peter Atkins had in mind exactly what I wanted to see from my evening's viewings. The script, bolstered by a strong selection of horror actors in support (namely Tony Todd and Robert Englund) really keeps the film exposition and plot moving along at a nice pace. Whilst it does have its limitations (see the sequels for examples of them!) the original film presented here holds its continuity through to the end.
The effects in this film are very typical of the time, with the use of animatronics and some pretty outrageous costume design to further enhance and seal the films cult appeal. The budget of the film was clearly not tight and so most of the effects look pretty cool. Obviously, given the fictitious nature of the kill sequences, the presentation of deaths can be quite dodgy at times, but still, seeing a man turn into a snake and seeing another climb out of his own skeleton, dodgy or not, is still a treat.
The gore is never turned up to the max (a sign of the times I feel), but there are plenty of gruesome scenes throughout the film and easily around 20 odd deaths throughout the film including a bit of a mad massacre as an opener; whilst the film was clearly not made to offend, it is still gory enough (can't believe I would ever write that!).
Overall 'The Wishmaster' is one of those rare 'post-80s' films which seems to do everything right in getting the balance between a unique IP, inventive gore and packaged in a film which will sit proudly amongst your collection of revered classics from horror's heyday. To add to its value, it is definitely one of the ones you will want to watch again and again.
There is nothing more to say other than this title and release comes highly recommended.