Wishmaster is a movie that has become a cult classic amongst horror fans everywhere. Not only is it violent, gory and rife with horror cameos, but the movie also gave birth to a new horror icon; The Djinn. Andrew Divoff’s spectacular portrayal brought the character to life. As a result, Wishmaster spawned a further three movies, with Divoff reprising his role in the second.
An ancient hidden opal is found by Alexandra, a gemologist. Unknowingly, she releases an evil djinn from within, who wishes to take over the world but is restricted until his owner makes three wishes.
Did you know?
A Pazuzu statue, a personification of the demonic figure which possessed Linda Blair‘s character in The Exorcist series, also appeared. This can be seen in Beaumont’s collection room and on display during the party scene where it attacks some of the guests. However, it is not formally referenced.
Many crew members, including Director Robert Kurtzman (man killed by piano), had small roles in the film, sometimes appearing in different scenes as different characters.
Many instances of the film pay homage to the series The Twilight Zone (1959). For instance, the character’s name Beaumont (Charles Beaumont was a frequent writer of the show). The Djinn’s line “Going my way?” when he stops Alexandra in the car is a reference to season one, episode sixteen, “The Hitch-Hiker”, where a mysterious man continually plagues a female driver with the line “I believe you’re going, my way”. The scene with the shop assistant wishing for eternal beauty is transformed into a mannequin echoes season one, episode thirty-four, “The After Hours”, where a female shopper is revealed to be one of the store’s mannequins made human.
A veiled reference to the Cthulhu Mythos can be heard in the incantation used to imprison the Djinn; the words “Nib Shuggurath”, a spoonerism of Shub-Niggurath
At the end of the credits, The Djinn’s distinctive voice growls “Careful what you wish for.”
The following horror movie veterans all appeared in Wishmaster
The Dead Ones – For four outcast teens, summer detention means being assigned to clean their high school after a horrific incident. But they are not alone; a macabre gang wearing guises of The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse – Famine, Pestilence, War and Death – has locked them inside and is hunting them through the school’s ravaged hallways. As the four students battle to survive, each must confront the supernatural echoes of past traumas they have struggled to forget…and may be condemned to relive.
The storyline was great. It was a good idea and although confusing at the beginning, does get better as it progresses. Soon after The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse show up (which is right at the beginning) their identity becomes pretty clear. Whether their unveiling was meant to be a big dramatic twist at the end, I’m not sure, but the ending DOES have a cool turn of events.
The acting was pretty good too. Mouse (Harper), lives up to her namesake. Timid, non-confrontational and just trying to get through their ordeal without issue, she still proves to be a significant character throughout. Scottie (Wilson) plays the tough guy. He’s hot-headed, but able to use logic when required. Louis (Garza) is the polar opposite. Wild and impulsive, he acts first, thinks later. Yet, he does share Scottie’s short temper which becomes more problematic as the movie progresses. Emily (Foster) is a tiny bit cuckoo and no longer taking her meds. This becomes evident from the outset with her erratic behaviour.
All four play their roles well and, despite the odd eyebrow-raising dialogue choice, are pretty convincing. Clare Kramer, who many will recognise from Buffy, plays the teacher overseeing the students.
There were some continuity errors throughout. The pic above, showing the poor student losing control of her bladder, is a prime example. The scene after this shows her with dry trousers, then again with sodden trousers but wet patches in different places. You might argue I’m being pedantic but I don’t sit there looking out for these errors. It was just too brazen to ignore. Better editing would have identified/remedied this but it’s not something I’d class as a major flaw.
There were some great effects throughout this movie that deserve a mention. Certain injuries and ailments looked real enough and for a low budget flick that’s pretty commendable. There’s also guts, gore and a whole load of firepower which, as you can guess, can produce some pretty nasty-looking injuries. However, in the same breath, there was just way too much CGI for my taste. Call me old fashioned, but I much prefer props and makeup over computer generated stuff, especially when the CGI is painfully obvious. For instance, the ghosts that frequently appear. Their movement and actions are creepy as hell. But, the excessive CGI just curtails the scare factor and takes away the immersiveness of the movie.
The prospect of a school shooting might seem a bit close to the bone for some. However, Director/Writer Kasten has provided the following statement;
“This is my sixth and most personal film: a ghost story about a school shooting. It doesn’t shy away from violence, either emotional or physical. It’s explicit, but not exploitative; instead it takes risks and invites discussion. I was warned that a movie about a school shooting might engender unavoidable reaction, but I’ve always believed it’s important for genre films – despite their often-graphic intensity – to be relevant. I shot The Dead Ones in my hometown of Baltimore where I knew I could capture the gritty quality I wanted. To cast the local teens, I worked closely with Pat Moran, who produced John Waters’ early films and went on to win multiple Emmys as a casting director.
As our main location, we found a decommissioned public school that had been built in the 1930s. Working with young actors to elicit emotionally gruelling performances on an ambitious production with a limited budget was the best possible reminder of the challenges – and rewards – of being a genre filmmaker. Although it’s set in the aftermath of a high school shooting, my intention never was – or will be – to trivialize this real-life horror that increasingly plagues our world. Instead, I wanted to create a disturbing reflection of modern adolescence. The Dead Ones is a film with a message of hope for outsiders.”
— Jeremy Kasten
About the Director
Jeremy Kasten is an American film director, producer, screenwriter and editor, best known for his visceral, cerebral, and often psychedelic approach to modern horror. His 2001 directorial debut THE ATTIC EXPEDITIONS, starring Seth Green, Alice Cooper, and Ted Raimi, has been hailed by Dread Central as “one of the best mind-f#@k movies ever.” His 2007 neo-noir re-imagining of Herschell Gordon Lewis’ splatter classic THE WIZARD OF GORE starred Crispin Glover, Brad Dourif, and Jeffrey Combs was called “one of the most shocking, entertaining and best horror films of the year” by Film Arcade. Kasten has also contributed to the acclaimed horror anthology films THE THEATRE BIZARRE and THE PROFANE EXHIBIT. His other features include the 2005 zombie thriller ALL SOULS DAY: DIA DE LOS MUERTOS and the 2006 ‘vampirism as addiction’ shocker THE THIRST, which was called “the bloodiest vampire movie ever” (DVD Crypt).
In summary, I’d definitely recommend The Dead Ones. Whilst there are minor elements I wasn’t a fan of, the movie as a whole was pretty good. Great storyline, believable acting and a fair few nice effects. What more could you want? The only thing you need to be conscious of is the sensitive nature of its theme. Other than that, check it out!
Here’s the trailer.
The film will be available on DVD/Blu-ray and VOD/Digital on September 29, 2020 via Artsploitation Films.
What do you think of the The Dead Ones? Like the sound of it? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or in the comments below!
Cassandra Peterson (born September 17, 1951) is an American actress, writer and singer. She is best known for her portrayal of the horror hostess character Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Peterson gained fame on LA TV station KHJ-TV. Wearing a revealing, black, gothic gown, she was the host of Elvira’s Movie Macabre, a weekly B-movie presentation.
The Elvira character soon evolved from an obscure cult figure to a lucrative brand. She was associated with many products throughout the 80s and 90s including Halloween costumes, comic books and action figures. She even had a range of trading cards, as well as featuring on pinball machines, Halloween decor, perfume and dolls. Elvira has also appeared on the cover of Femme Fatales magazine five times. Her popularity reached its zenith with the release of the 1988 feature film Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.
90’s and beyond
After years of attempting to make a sequel to Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Cassandra and her manager/husband, Mark Pierson, decided to finance a second movie. In November 2000, Peterson wrote and co-produced Elvira’s Haunted Hills. The movie, filmed in Romania, cost just under one million dollars. However, with little budget left for promotion, Cassandra and Mark screened the film at AIDS charity fund raisers across America. On July 5, 2002, Elvira’s Haunted Hills had its official premiere in Hollywood. Elvira arrived at the premiere in her Macabre Mobile. The film was later screened at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
She is currently working on the direct sequel to 1988’s Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, as well as an animated Elvira project.
Did you know?
Elvira was close friends with Vincent Price and is still good friends with Rob Zombie
She was scalded by boiling water when she was five years old. As a result, she underwent 17 skin grafting operations. Now, she covers some of her remaining scars (around neck and shoulders) with make-up or clothing.
Her favourite movies are Plan 9 from Outer Space (1957) and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978).
Jennifer Tilly was born Jennifer Ellen Chan; September 16, 1958. The first daughter of Harry Chan and Patricia (née Tilly), Jennifer is most recognised as Tiffany Valentine in the Child’s Play franchise. However, her acting career started in 1983 where she had a number of small roles. Eventually, she secured a recurring guest role in Hill Street Blues. From there, Jennifer’s career went on, giving her roles in a variety of movies and TV shows throughout the 80’s and early 90’s.
She first came to horror fans’ attention when she starred in the lesser known Embrace of the Vampire. The movie, starring Alyssa Milano was met with mixed reviews and it wasn’t until her starring role in Bride of Chucky, three years later, when Jennifer became an international horror icon.
Bride of Chucky
Cited as Brad Dourif‘s favourite movie, Bride of Chuckywas an instant hit with horror fans and helped revive the Child’s Play series. Not only that, but Jennifer’s popularity soared, with her becoming an overnight sensation amongst horror lovers worldwide. Despite not appearing in any further horror movies for a number of years, she was still on everyone’s radar.
2004 saw her take on the role of Tiffany again in Seed of Chucky. The difference this time is she also played herself as well! Another successful run as the maniacal doll kept her in everyone’s mind and she enjoyed further success. Almost 10 years after Seed of Chucky, Jennifer adopted her iconic role again in Curse of Chucky and then finally in Cult of Chucky
Since then, she has mainly focused on Poker tournaments. However, she is due to return to the screen once more as Tiffany in the upcoming Chucky TV series!
Well, I really don’t know what to say about this one. I’m trying to think of some positives to weigh against the negatives. You know – try and balance it out. I gotta admit though, I’m struggling. I mean the artwork looks great! There’s a lot of nice colours in it. That tagline is pretty sweet too. However, one thing Clownface didn’t do was put a smile on my face.
A deranged young man, donned in a clown mask made of human flesh, terrorizes a small town with a series of abductions and murders. Neighbors Jenna (Hannah Douglas) and Owen (Richard Buck) search for their missing friend Zoe (Dani Tonks), who may be the latest victim of this local urban legend known as Clownface. The movie is directed by Alex Bourne.
Well, the synopsis sounds great. Check out the trailer below, that looks great too! But the movie itself… it just wasn’t.
Okay, maybe I was a little too harsh with my initial statement. The movie does have some positives. It’s just a shame that the negatives far outweigh them. Lets start with Clownface himself. That guy is creepy as hell and if the movie had been executed better he could well have had the potential to be even more terrifying.
Unfortunately, the acting is mediocre at best and cringeworthy at its worst. We’ve mentioned a few times that whilst low budget filmmaking can suffer from a number of hurdles, poor acting doesn’t have to be one of them. It’s not all doom and gloom, with Hannah Douglas’ performance keeping the movie going. But, overall the acting is pretty substandard.
If this was the only issue, the movie wouldn’t have been so bad. But, the editing left a lot to be desired. There were audio issues throughout, problems with scene fluidity and some blatant errors concerning the SFX. However, the makeup department did a great job with a certain scene involving the removal of a face. There were also some good death scenes but others failed to hit the mark.
The best thing about Clownface would have to be the soundtrack. Gothic Punk band, Lesbian Bed Death, deliver the hard rock in droves. With a small cameo in the movie, the band certainly give the failing flick a boost.
Have a look at the trailer and see what you think.
Clownface is available on demand and DVD now.
What do you think of the movie? Like the sound of it? Seen it already? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or in the comments below!