Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At
Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies
"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" for December 31, 2000
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas
I've been trying to figure out this whole Wishmaster thing. The Wishmaster series is the Amazon-dot-com of B movies. Everybody likes the movies. Everybody thinks The Wishmaster is just as scary as more popular horror icons, like the Candyman. The producers keep hanging in there--somebody just wrote to me who's working on "Wishmaster Four," which means number three plumb disappeared into the Pakistani market or something--and yet the market for ancient Persian demons seems to be declining. Andrew Divoff, the twisted guy with the weird grin who turns into a mythological deity called a Djinn, presumably won't wait until "Wishmaster Eight" to become famous. This may be the only series where they keep having to ask the monster to take less money for the next sequel.
Adding to the confusion is that a lot of people think Wes Craven made the original "Wishmaster," which came out in 1997, but actually Wes just put his name on it in an attempt to get some publicity for the durn thing. And it still didn't work. The original movie had humor, it had gushing gouts of gore, and it had a halfway original horror plot. What it didn't have, I've decided, is a monster we could love.
It's almost like we'd seen this guy before. The head is a little like Giger's illustrations for Alien. The tail is straight out of Godzilla. We've got some nasty Night Breed slime glopola sloshing out of the chest cavity. It's hard to love this guy, much less pronounce him. (Djinn means genie, so why didn't they just say that?) It could be that we've come to the end of the era of rubber-suit monsters, the era that began with "Creature from the Black Lagoon" and reached its highest art form in Hellraiser. There are just so many ways you can watch a disembowelled zombie, you know?
Even though it's been out for a while, I just watched "Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies"--not to be confused with "Witchouse II: Blood Coven," which was last week's movie, which is not to be confused with "Witchcraft XI: Sisters in Blood," which was the week before that. (I think Nostradamus predicted these times.) Anyway, Andrew Divoff as the Wishmaster pops out of that red stone again when a couple of burglars ransack an art gallery, and pretty soon he's grinning like a presidential candidate while people tell him their true wishes and he grants the wish while insisting on a literal interpretation. "I wish I'd never been born" is a particularly cool special effect, but nothing compared to the prison inmate who says "I wish my lawyer would go ---- himself."
Yes, indeed. He does.
This time the Wishmaster is trying to collect a thousand souls so that he can bring on the Apocalypse, but in the meantime he has to get control of the mind of chain-smoking loft-dweller Holly Fields, who manages to show her belly button in just about every scene while purifying herself and going for help to her ex- boyfriend, who was so bummed out by the relationship that he became a Catholic priest. The Wishmaster doesn't have much time, so first he gets himself sent to prison--always plenty of desperate souls there--and, when he has to make his deadline, a Las Vegas casino, where everyone is pretty much wishing all day long. The grossout ending is pretty impressive, but what you'll remember are the early scenes like the one where an inmate wishes he could just walk out of prison--failing to mention that he wants to walk out between the bars, not through them. Of course, it's too late, so he becomes a Domino's thick-crust pizza before our very eyes. Another pretty good one is a woman at the craps table who gives birth to several thousand dollars in silver, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
Twenty-nine dead bodies.
One running gunbattle.
Reverse-aging goo transformation.
Frozen police officer.
Body through the jail bars.
Death by self-abuse.
Martial arts feet through the stomach.
Killer roulette wheel.
Deadly Frisbee playing cards.
Two Kung Fu scenes.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Oleg Vidov, as the scummy Russkie who says "What the hell kind of devil are you?";
writer/director Jack Sholder, who doesn't get near enough credit for these babies;
Holly Fields, as the bad babe turned djinn-killer;
Paul Johannson as the priest who's not above a little nookie here and there;
Levani Outchaneichvili as the Russian Mafia boss who ends up with the head of his Chechen enemy;
and Andrew Divoff as the leering Demarest who changes into slimy green ram-faced lizard deity, for saying "I claim that which is owed."
Three and a half stars. Joe Bob says check it out.
To check out Joe Bob's voluminous guide to all the B movies ever made, go to www.joebob-briggs.com or email him at JoeBob@upi.com. Snail-mail: P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221.
© Copyright 2000 United Press International and Joe Bob Briggs
For more of Joe Bob's pre-TNT reviews in Grapevine, Texas, go to his Drive-In Reviews Archive over yonder at www.Joe Bob Briggs.com
"Wishmaster" availability on video and on DVD from Amazon.com
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