Wishmaster Collection – Blu-ray Review

When you think of the concept of a Genie, many things may come to mind. The hilarious Genie from Aladdin voiced by Robin Williams (1992). The gorgeous Jeannie played by Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970). Maybe it’s Shaq in the kid-friendly Kazaam (1996). Or even Jeannie and Babu from the short-lived Hanna-Barbera cartoon, Jeannie (1973). But what if genies weren’t well-intentioned, kindly, and oftentimes comical manifestations that appear from a lamp to grant their so-called “master” three wishes? What if there was something malicious in store for the one who summoned them?

Welcome to the world of Wishmaster. A world where the phrase “Be careful what you wish for” has never been more apt, and in this four film series, what a person wishes for can have very deadly consequences. In fact, deadly, disgusting, and demoralizing are all perfectly accurate words to describe what the evil Djinn has in store for those who seek his services.

If you haven’t guessed by now, Wishmaster is a horror franchise that started in 1997 and spawned three sequels: Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999), Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell (2001); and Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled (2002). Only the original Wishmaster made it to the big screen and was produced by horror master Wes Craven.

The first, like many franchises, is the best of the series with plenty of great practical horror effects, a game cast that includes Tammy Lauren (The Young and the Restless, Martial Law), Robert Englund (the original A Nightmare on Elm Street series), and Andrew Divoff (Lost, Air Force One), and an intriguing storyline with plenty of jumps and scares for horror fans. While it’s also has the shortest runtime of the four, it’s also the best in terms of narrative setup and execution without being too excessive.

Following the law of diminishing returns – as most horror franchises often do – the three movies that follow are not nearly as intriguing, but the basic premise remains the same throughout. I also felt that the films lost the magic and fun that the original had. After Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies, the Djinn is recast with John Novak who does a decent job in the role, but Divoff’s presence is definitely missed.

Now, I can’t place all the blame of the filmmakers. After all, some premises are hard to stretch and prolong for a series of films. Heck, some films can’t even stretch their premise across just one storyline, let alone many. But like the Saw and Final Destination franchises, the characters are less important than the creative manner in which each victim is killed. And if it’s kills you want, this franchise is chock full of ‘em in every manner and method possible. And isn’t that essentially why we watch films like this? It’s not for the acting or the story, it’s for the inevitable blood and gore.

The Wishmaster Collection is a very impressive box set with four films on three Blu-ray discs. There are many, many special features, the bulk of which are for the original film. The full rundown for each film is as follows:

WISHMASTER SPECIAL FEATURES
o Audio Commentaries:
· Director Robert Kurtzman and screenwriter Peter Atkins
· Director Robert Kurtzman and stars Andrew Divoff and Tammy Lauren
o Isolated Score Selections/Audio Interview with composer Harry Manfredini
o Featurettes
o “Out of the Bottle” – Interviews with director Robert Kurtzman and co-producer David Tripet
o “The Magic Words” – An Interview with screenwriter Peter Atkins
o “The Djinn and Alexandra” – Interviews with stars Andrew Divoff and Tammy Lauren
o “Captured Visions” – An Interview with director of photography Jacques Haitkin
o “Wish List” – Interviews with actors Kane Hodder and Ted Raimi
o Vintage Featurette: “Making of Wishmaster
· Trailers, Spots, Galleries: Teaser & Theatrical Trailers, TV & Radio Spots, Storyboard & Still Galleries
· Behind-the-Scenes Footage Compilation

WISHMASTER 2: EVIL NEVER DIES SPECIAL FEATURES
o Audio Commentary with writer/director Jack Sholder
o Trailer
o Still Gallery

WISHMASTER 3: BEYOND THE GATES OF HELL SPECIAL FEATURES
o Audio Commentary with director Chris Angel and cast members John Novak, Jason Connery, and Louisette Geiss
o Vintage Featurette: “Making of Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell
o Trailer

WISHMASTER 4: THE PROPHECY FULFILLED SPECIAL FEATURES
o Audio Commentaries:
· Director Chris Angel and cast members Michael Trucco and Jason Thompson
· Director Chris Angel and actor John Novak
o Featurette: “Wishmasterpiece Theatre”
o Trailer

Horror movies are meant to scare and entertain, and sometimes we can learn a lesson or two from those nefarious evildoers who wish to cause the characters harm. Perhaps Wishmaster is a morality play about the dangers of greed and excess in the modern age. Perhaps the Djinn has come to tell the world that even free wishes come at a price; and that price is your soul!

I enjoyed the series, and while the first one was by far the best, the rest were Saturday afternoon escapist fare that was still enjoyable. I recommend the Wishmaster Collection!

The Wishmaster Collection is available now on Blu-ray!

What is your favorite Wishmaster scene or film? Leave a comment and let us know!

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6 Plots – DVD Review

6-plots_3ddvd

Horror is an interesting genre. Done correctly, it has the power to terrify and linger with an audience long after the film has ended. Done poorly, it can frustrate an audience and leave the bored with either the predictability of the story or the complete lack of suspense. It’s a fine line between doing horror right and doing it wrong with horror films coming out of the woodwork every week either in theaters or on video.

Enter 6 Plots, a 2012 teen horror film from Australia, that has an intriguing concept that unfortunately fails to pay off in any way. It’s a clever twist on the Saw genre of torture porn films, but there are a lot of elements missing throughout the film’s narrative that cause it to become less entertaining as the movie plods along.

Horror films tend to deliver a strong female protagonist whom the audience can empathize with at the start of the film. Whether it’s Laurie Strode in Halloween of Sydney Prescott in Scream, it’s important that we as an audience have a lead character that we are ready to take a journey with through the horror that is about to commence. In 6 Plots we are given Brie (Alice Darling) who is part of the “It” crowd at her school and is also into partying, drinking, and drugs. She has no tragic backstory that causes us to empathize with her, she’s just one of the popular kids like the other six of her friends whom she joins for a weekend party at a beach house.

Upon waking in the aforementioned – but now darkened – beach house, Brie quickly discovers that all of her friends have been taken and buried in wooden boxes by a mysterious person who contacts her with a demented talking smiley on her phone with two rules: no parents, no authorities. If either of those get introduced into the mix, her friends will start to die. The killer uses technology to live-stream the fates of each of Brie’s friends to her as she struggles to find them before it’s too late. Oh, and they all have their phones so they can communicate with each other. And the killer is live-streaming their fates to the world as well.

The issue here is that it’s a clever concept that lacks any real suspense. I think it’s mainly because we have no vested interest in any of the characters. We know them as a group of popular kids who party, but we have no other real information about them. I know, I know, it’s a horror movie and they’re just bodies to be counted as the death toll increases. I get it. The problem here is that they aren’t really presented as good people so their deaths are not as shocking or traumatic for the audience as they probably should be.

Now, as a fan of the Saw franchise, I enjoy seeing the contraptions made by Jigsaw actually brought to life as time runs out for his victims. It’s what makes those films work. Here, each victim is trapped in a box and meets a similar fate through confinement. While the method of death may change, there’s no real change in how they die. They just do since they can’t really do much else. As Brie rushes to save the day and gather clues as to where they are and who remains, I found myself losing interest since the deaths became more repetitive than clever.

So, let’s talk about the finale, which also lacked any cathartic moment, no true revelation as to who the killer was and what their motive in doing all of this truly was, either. Granted, we do get a general idea as to who and possibly why, but it would have been nice to be given an idea how the killer pulled off such an amazing feat as drugging seven people, dragging six out of the beach house, sealing all six in wooden boxes, burying them throughout the city in a specific pattern, then making sure each box had a unique death attached to it via remote. Whew! Hope the killer had some help!

There’s also no vindication for those that remain alive. Even the final moments of the film where we do get a hint as to who the real killer was lack any real heft that would make us think a huge twist had just been revealed. I wanted more, and got much less.

To their credit, the filmmakers did create a visually dynamic world in which their film takes place, and the concept is solid. Also the use of the most advances tech by the killer was pretty impressive. It is in the overall execution of the film’s story that things falter and derail.

I wanted to like 6 Plots. I was excited when I saw the DVD cover that touted it as “Buried Meets Saw.” However, the end result was more anti-climactic TV movie, or mundane episode of The Secret Life of the American Teenager or even BBC’s Skins than gritty and gory horror.

Special Features include The Making of 6 Plots.

6 Plots is available now on DVD and Digital Download.

What’s your favorite scary movie? Leave a comment and let us know!

Saw V Poster looks Impressive

Saw V Teaser Preview

…but we’re sure that the movie will be far from impressive. Repulsive, maybe, but definitely not impressive. It amazes me how poster artists of such calibre are still working with Saw. Maybe it makes money. I dunno who goes to see Saw when all you need is a good ’80s slasher horror flick, maybe a snuff. Still, there’s this teaser poster below. Click it.

The guys at Latino Review asked Tobin Bell, who says:

“I, of course, enjoyed it. It was a rough 3 hours of work but I wanted to make sure I keep the Jigsaw legacy alive through these vibrant, gross and scary pictures. I know everything must come to an end, but I’m hoping the writers can keep coming up with scary poster ideas. Why stop at just five, right? Hopefully one day they will make a movie fleshing out the horror of these wonderful 24 X 36 posters.”

Oh yeah, definitely: the writers are ace when it comes to devilish torture ideas. I’d wager that they were given a copy of Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom instead of fairy tale books when they were kids.

All in all, I like the subtlety of this one. I didn’t get it at first: I thought it was just Jigsaw’s body until I saw the edges of the “mask”. Suddenly, the face just doesn’t look the same. And that creepy Saw feeling comes alive within you. Of course, we have no doubt that the movie is going to be a lot less subtle than that.

Hit the poster below for full size:

Saw V Poster