25 Fun Facts About “Wishmaster”

Because of Disney movies like Aladdin and sitcoms like I Dream of Jeannie, our perception of genies is that of a fun, lovable being capable of befriending humans and granting them wishes.  However, the original mythos from which genies derive is far more dark and disturbing.  1997’s Wishmaster tapped into that, in a largely overlooked horror/fantasy that’s not half bad upon rewatch 25 years later.  So in honor of its 25th anniversary, here are 25 fun facts about Wishmaster!

1. The djinn (also spelled “jinn”) date back to pre-Islamic Arabia and have been part of folklore for centuries.  They are mentioned many times by name in the Quran, and even the word “genie” was an Anglicized iteration of the original “djinn”.

Wishmaster 1
The djinn was always a mischievous creature that drew you in with the prospect of wishes, but always manipulated you in the end.

2. Screenwriter Peter Atkins initially balked at the idea of writing an “evil genie” script.  But upon doing research into djinn mythology, he became fascinated.

3.  Raymond Beaumont (Robert Englund) mentions that the Ahura Mazda statue he was waiting for was the deity of Zoroastrianism.  This was an early monotheistic religion that existed in Ancient Persia, centuries before Islam.

4. Robert Kurtzman was reportedly hired as director at the suggestion of Sam Raimi after working on Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness.

5.  Kurtzman was primarily known for special effects, with an impressive resume including doing effects for Evil Dead II, Phantasm II, Misery, Army of Darkness, From Dusk Till Dawn, Halloween 5, Bride of Re-Animator, and many more.  To date he has only directed 5 films.

6.  The cast of Wishmaster included a real who’s who of horror icons, including Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street series), Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th series), Tony Todd (Candyman), Ted Raimi (Army of Darkness), and Angus Scrimm and Reggie Bannister (Phantasm series).

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It was one hell of a lineup, and a huge treat for any horror fan as you spot each actor.

7. Many characters were named after sci-fi/horror writers, including Jack Finney, Charles Beaumont, August Derleth, and Abraham Merritt.

8. Dina Meyer (of Starship Troopers and Saw fame) was originally considered for the role of Alexandra.

9. Wes Craven served as executive producer, in between directing Scream and Scream 2.

10. Among Raymond Beaumont’s (Robert Englund) collection, one of the statues is Pazuzu from The Exorcist.

Wishmaster 10
He dodged a bullet by not awaking Pazuzu either…

11. Director Robert Kurtzman had a cameo as the man killed by the piano.

12. Makeup legend Tom Savini also had a cameo as a customer in the pharmacy.

13. Before going on to be showrunner of The Walking Dead, Greg Nicotero did a lot of the special effects for Wishmaster.

14. Nicotero also popped up as a pharmacy customer, in the same scene as Savini.

15. The process to turn Andrew Divoff into the titular Wishmaster took 3 and half hours to apply and an hour and half to remove, every day of shooting.

16. Andrew Divoff said it was a lot of fun playing the Djinn both in makeup and in human form.  He enjoyed going back and forth between the two.

Wishmaster 16
He said it felt like playing a demon and the demon’s alter ego. Almost like an evil Superman/Clark Kent.

17. The shoot itself lasted 33 days.

18. A lot of the special effects crew also served as extras, and really got into their costumes, particularly in the ancient Persia scene.

19. During production, the set was broken into after hours and several cameras were stolen.

20. Robert Kurtzman would later describe making Wishmaster as “a great experience”.  He said that he really enjoyed working with this cast and that while the special effects were a challenge, he enjoyed completing it.

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It’s definitely a very visually creativ

21. The film’s musical score was done by Harry Manfredini, who is perhaps most famous for writing the music for Friday the 13th and the infamous “ki ki ki ma ma ma” chant.

22. Grossed $15 million on a $5 million budget, making it not exactly a hit, but not exactly a flop either.

23. Unfortunately the film was panned by critics, holding a mere 27% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Many critics bashed the film for bad special effects and being too derivative of the Hellraiser and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises.

24. Nevertheless, it did manage to spawn three sequels to build a franchise of its own.

25. In 2020, the movie’s official novelization was released, written by Christian Francis.

wishmaster 25
It is rather unusual for a movie’s novelization to come out more than 20 years later…

Which of these did you already know?  Which ones surprised you?  Let us know in the comments!

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