Hot woman unleashes genie, genie meets hot woman, genie comes between hot woman and her husband, husband and genie fight for the love of the hot woman. Isn’t that always how it goes? Same old story. “Wishmaster 4” is a noticeable departure in quality, to the point where it’s almost distracting. The prologue is filmed in what looks like an HD camcorder, there’s a gratuitous sex scene not two minutes in to the film, and this time the evil djinn makes his grand appearance by emerging from a closet, as opposed to the previous times where he required a wish to take on full anthropomorphic form. Completely giving up on scaring the audience, “Wishmaster 4” is now dark fantasy, with our djinn humanized for the sake of a goofy romance.
Three movies in and the writers behind “Beyond The Gates of Hell” pretty much run out of steam with the idea of the djinn stretching the concept as thin as it could (a student wishes to go to a place where she can’t be found, the djinn grants her wish by forcing her head in to a rat cage). The djinn still isn’t much of a horror villain and spends much of “Beyond The Gates of Hell” badgering our heroine in to making wishes, rather than appealing to the darker desires of humanity. This time around we follow college student Diana, who is still reeling from the death of her parents at a young age. That back drop of tragedy has no real play in the duration of “Wishmaster 3” except giving her an excuse to be religious.
I’m surprised since it usually takes two or three sequels before a movie series turns in to a spoof of itself. It only took “Wishmaster” one sequel before it basically becomes a parody of the first film’s premise. Even Andrew Divoff, who was menacing in the first film, mugs for the camera delivering dialogue in over the top inflections sounding a lot like a sinister impression of George Takei, for some reason. “Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies” tries to hide the fact that it’s about the same narrative as the first film by making the djinn the main character. Except this time he’s in prison– for some reason!
Robert Kurtzman’s “Wishmaster” owes a lot to Clive Barker. While the entire film feels like Clive Barker lite material, everything right down to the premise feels like someone was really admirer of the artist. The premise is right out of “Hellraiser,” while our villain, the djinn, feels like Pinhead, with the design of one of Barker’s Nightbreed from Midian. Kurtzman even includes appearances by a slew of horror heavyweights like Kane Hodder and Robert Englund for good measure. “Wishmaster” is one of the more unremarkable horror fantasies to enter the genre in the nineties.
Full Moon’s 1988 cult film is something of a hideous movie that will make many cringe, roll their eyes, and have fun just the same. Admittedly “Sorority Babes” has something of a nostalgic value as I can still fondly remember watching it on late night cable in the nineties trying to figure out what in god’s name this movie was. Finally being able to grab a copy, I now know why “Sorority Babes” isn’t going in to the film registry any time soon. Obviously, it’s not a good film, but it surely is a film that’s so bad it’s really damn good.