A.J. Cook, bad films, Chris Angel, cinema, djinn, djinns, end of the world, film reviews, films, horror film, horror franchises, Jason Connery, Jason Thompson, John Novak, Michael Trucco, Movies, Professor Barash, sequels, shoddy special effects, stupid films, Tara Spencer-Nairn, terrible films, Tobias Mehler, Victor Webster, wishes, Wishmaster, Wishmaster 3, Wishmaster 4, worst films ever
There are plenty of bad horror movie sequels out there but there are few (that I’ve seen, at least) that are quite as useless as the final two films in the Wishmaster series. Whereas the first film was a minor cult classic and the second film was a flawed but still entertaining followup, the third and fourth films have got to be two of the shoddiest, stupidest and most pointless films in genre that offers plenty of competition. Unlike similarly poor sequels (anything post-second film, in many franchises), the two Wishmaster sequels aren’t even entertaining, more “so bad they’re wretched” than “so bad they’re good.” I’ve grouped them both together since, for all intents and purposes, they’re the same film, distinguished only by their different casts and slightly different storylines (Part 3 is the ultra-stupid Archangel one, while Part 4 is the deathly dull romance). They were both directed by the same person, feature similar production styles, have the same “djinn” (John Novak, who makes a rather poor substitute for Andrew Divoff), equally terrible scripts and, as mentioned above, very little value. They’re the Awesome Blossoms of Awful: let’s peel back some layers.
Part 3 (Beyond the Gates of Hell, if that actually matters) concerns the misadventures of young Diana (A.J. Cook), a college student who works in a museum with the lecherous Professor Barash (Jason Connery). Diana’s boyfriend, Greg (Tobias Mehler), thinks there’s something going on between her and Barash and if it were up to the skeezy prof, there would be. The point becomes moot, however, when Diana inadvertently frees the Djinn (the aforementioned John Novak) and Barash ends up as his first victim. The Djinn takes Barash’s face, in order to continue his evil plans, and seeks to get Diana to make the required three wishes. Luckily for her, Diana uses one of her wishes to have the spirit of the angel Michael help her against the Djinn. Next thing you know, Greg is infused by the spirit of Michael and he’s engaging in some good old-fashioned wrasslin’ with the buffed-out Djinn. More stupidity follows and good triumphs over evil blah blah blah.
Part 4 (The Prophecy Fulfilled, because I’m sure you’re curious) takes the brave move of transporting the Wishmaster world into a boring, made-for-TV drama about a husband and wife dealing with the fallout from the husband’s motorcycle accident. The husband is Sam (Jason Thompson) and he’s a real shithead: mean, pouty, prone to temper tantrums and going to strip clubs rather than paying attention to his doting wife, Lisa (Tara Spencer-Nairn). Someone is paying attention to Lisa, however, and that someone is Sam’s smitten lawyer, Steven (Michael Trucco). Steven secretly loves Lisa and gets her a token of his affection: the Djinn’s jewel. Before you can say “Yawn,” the Djinn has killed Steven and stolen his face. He gets her to use her first two wishes pretty easily (she wishes for Sam’s case to be settled and for him to be able to walk again) but the third wish is a real corker: Lisa wishes that she could love Steven for who he “really is.” Mind blown, the Djinn must now deal with the one aspect of humanity he (and you) never thought he would: true love. If this sounds unbelievably stupid…it’s at least twice as stupid as that. With his fellow Djinn brethren breathing down his neck, the Djinn must make a decision: fulfill the prophecy and doom the woman he kinda/sorta/maybe loves or deny his heritage and embrace true love. But don’t rule out Sam just yet: he may be a complete asshole who expressed no interest in Lisa whatsoever but he’ll be damned if any ol’ Djinn who looks like his lawyer is gonna get with his wife. All of this shockingly inert forces drift toward a conclusion that can best be described as “not soon enough.”
As I’ve probably already beaten into the ground: Wishmaster 3 and 4 are absolutely terrible films with no redeeming values. There are no good performances, no good deaths (they’re even worse than the already anemic ones in Part 2), no good effects and no clever one-liners. The films look like the worst stereotypes of direct-to-video movies: they’re flatly lit, poorly edited messes. While each film is filled with its own outrageous moments, they’re more memorable for being so damn awful. Let’s look at a few:
— In Part 3, Prof. Barash wishes that “the two women he finds most beautiful in the whole world would be there, with him, and would be totally into him.” Cue two of the skeeziest looking strippers in recent memory, who proceed to grind on the prof while the Djinn looks on, licking his lips and making “honka honka” motions with his hands. Let me repeat that: while two sleazy-looking strippers grind on Professor Barash, we get a close-up of the Djinn licking his lips and making “honka honka” gestures with his hands.
— In Part 3, Diana and her friend, Katie (Louisette Geiss), run in a scene that appears to be an ultra-cheap ripoff of Run Lola Run (1998), complete with techno music on the soundtrack.
— In Part 3, when Greg becomes “Michael,” he engages in a WWE-style wrestling match with the Djinn. Even better, however, he engages in zippy, sexually charged banter with Diana…as an angel, mind you.
— In Part 4, a waitress in a restaurant sees a couple kissing romantically and tells the Djinn that she wishes “someone would kiss her like that.” The Djinn grants her wish, making everyone in the restaurant, male and female, come up and kiss her. Seriously. That’s really what happens: a bunch of people come up and kiss her on the lips, one by one. This, apparently, is supposed to be scary.
— In Part 4, a bartender in a strip club wishes that he were a pimple on a stripper’s ass. Since he promptly disappears, we have to assume his wish was granted.
— In Part 4, the scene where Lisa runs down the hallway as rubbery Djinn arms grab at her from the walls is like a Juggalo version of Polanski’s Repulsion (1965).
While I’d like to say that the various scenes above are reasons to check out the respective films, they really aren’t: they simply represent some of the more “interesting” awful moments in the films. The scenes happen to be surrounded by equally astounding moments of ineptitude and stupidity, mind you, they just happen to be stupefyingly boring and inane. As someone who watches bad films on a pretty regular basis, I’ve certainly seen my share of stinkers. On the whole, however, I’ve rarely encountered anything as soulless, obnoxious and devoid of value as Wishmaster 3 and 4. If you’re a fan of the original film, do yourself a favor and stop at Part 2. If we all ignore the follow-ups and wish them away, perhaps they’ll cease to exist. If there’s any justice in the world, that’s one wish that the Djinn will see fit to grant.