Film: Wishmaster

Once, in a time before time, God breathed life into the universe. And the light gave birth to Angels. And the earth gave birth to Man. And the fire gave birth to the Djinn, creatures condemned to dwell in the void between the worlds. One who wakes a Djinn will be given three wishes. Upon the granting of the third, the unholy legions of the Djinn will be freed to rule the earth. Fear one thing only in all there is... FEAR THE DJINN.
Opening Narration

Wishmaster is a series of horror films. It may very well define the Jackass Genie.

In ancient Arabian legend, the djinn were almost nothing like the genies we know and love—they were demons. Beings "created from smokeless fire", the djinn were incredibly powerful beings who could nonetheless sometimes be trapped in various items and enslaved.

The Wishmaster films, while not sticking perfectly to Arabian lore, were intended to re-Grimmify the genie myth. Did they succeed? Undoubtedly.

The series comprises:

Not to be confused with the album and song by Nightwish.


These films provide examples of the following tropes:

  • 555: Wendy's number in Wishmaster is 555-0165.
  • Achilles' Heel: The Djinn has one main weakness: he can only use his powers in the service of wishes, which annoys him quite a bit ("Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to have unlimited power, and only be able to use it when some worm asks you for something?"). Without a wish, he's virtually powerless except for his Nigh-Invulnerability. Getting everyone to stop wishing is next to impossible, however. Particularly since what qualifies as a "wish" is pretty arbitrary. Like a woman at a party saying "You can see right through me..."
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the series, Djinn are an Always Chaotic Evil supernatural race. In fact, Djinn are supposed to be as morally varied as humans are- good, evil, neutral, whatever. While there are some sources that suggest they are a universally bad lot regardless, the films, needless to say, turn them Up to Eleven.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Djinn race. They're essentially demonic beings created at the dawn of time by God, and all their wishes boil down to a Deal with the Devil, so this trope is to be expected.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The souls the Djinn captures are placed in Hellraiser-like dimension, presumably for eternal torture.
    • In the first film, a woman gets turned into a sentient but inanimate mannequin when she wishes to be beautiful forever, and Alexandra's sister gets frozen inside a painting.
  • Antagonist Title: The eponymous wishmaster is the evil Djinn, although he's not referred to by that name until he uses it to describe himself in the second movie.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Usual effect from Djinn's wishes.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The tagline of the first movie
  • Big Sister Instinct: Trampled on. As soon as the Djinn threatens Alexandra's sister, she states point blank that she'll kill him if he harms her. Amused, he shows her his true face to show how little threat she poses to him, and she can only respond with a terrified "oh my god".
  • Body Horror: Numerous, numerous examples.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: In Wishmaster, a cop wishes that a criminal who has gotten away on seven counts for a crime (not stated what kind) would just commit something that the cops could easily nail him for. The Djinn then controls his body from a distance, and causes the guy to turn into an almost-supernatural killer who immediately grabs a cop's gun and starts a shooting frenzy in the police station. He kills a half-dozen cops before he dies from his own wounds.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Djinn is patently aware that he is pure evil. He states he can't be undone because his presence perpetuates evil in the world and his Badass Boast to Alexandra when she wishes to know what he is is equal parts horrific and illuminating.
  • Cassandra Truth: Subverted in the first film. When the Djinn (in human form) chases Alex into a banquet, she simply tells the doorman that the man is harassing her, and he jumps in to keep the Djinn from entering.
  • Catch Phrase: The Djinn's habit of saying "Done!" after granting a wish. Coupled with his insolent smile.
  • Chest Burster: In the opening of Wishmaster, a monster (one that actually does look a lot like a chestburster) is shown busting out a guy's stomach. Made all the more horrifying since it's actually his own intestines morphed into a freakish monster and tearing out of him to attack a bystander
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The scene with the homeless guy and pharmacist in Wishmaster.
  • Complete Immortality: The Djinn, who outright claims to be eternal, so someone can't just wish for him to destroy himself. The summoner also seems incapable of dying until the Djinn gets his wishes, since Morgana is completely unhurt after getting shot twice in Evil Never Dies. The djinn gave it to her for free, in order to insure her survival for him. Averted in the last two films. Angels have swords that can kill Djinn or at least banish them back to the prison between worlds. One of the wishes in the final film is for a means that can kill Djinn.
  • Cool Big Sis: Alexandra to Shannon, in the original film.
  • Court Mage: In the first film, the court wizard in service to a ruler who once fell prey to the Djinn's machinations sealed the Djinn in a gemstone to prevent him from granting a third wish (which would unleash Hell on Earth).
  • Covers Always Lie: The villain on the DVD cover resembles a vampire; he's actually a genie.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Quite a few of the deaths the Djinn causes fit this trope.
  • Crystal Prison: For the evil Djinn in the first two movies (at least), a gem was used in place of the more traditional bottle.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: When you get down to it, the Djinn's modus operandi. He actively advises humans to make wishes, even those who are aware of his nature so they can try to beat him at his own game. He always finds a loophole, and lampshades how futile these attempts are, since it's nearly impossible to outsmart an eternal being.
  • Death by Looking Up: Ed's death (crushed under a dropped crate) in Wishmaster.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Djinn granting your wish equals this, since he claims your soul as a reward. He's even crueler than most soul-bargaining entities however, since (at least in the first film) he doesn't even have to tell his victims that they're agreeing to this exchange, so they never know that they doom themselves for all time until after he claims them.
  • Dem Bones: The opening of the original film had a guy's skeleton tear free of his body and start attacking people.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: The way the heroine from the first movie gets the best of the evil Jerkass Genie. He can't grant a wish that directly affects him, so she can't just wish that he stuffs himself back in his lamp. She's down to her third and final wish, and after she makes that wish he'll be free to run amok and destroy the world, and he's forcing her to take action by murdering and torturing people around the heroine. So, with some clever thinking, she comes up with a wish that will work: she wishes that a specific crane operator hadn't been drunk on the job a few days ago. That crane operator had dropped and destroyed the statue that the genie had been trapped inside of, so the wish undoes everything the genie had done and winds up with him imprisoned again.
  • Drinking On Duty: In the first movie, the Djinn's crystal is freed when the crane operator, drunk on the job, causes the statue to slip and fall. The heroine's third wish, which ordinarily would have unleashed Hell on Earth, was for the crane operator to not have been drinking that day.
  • Dystopia Justifies the Means: The Djinn's goal is to open the portal to the Djinn dimension so his brethren can enter Earth at will, becoming a virtual god in the process over his new kingdom. Considering that they derive pleasure solely from mutilating and torturing people to death while making their worst nightmares reality, they would turn the Earth into a complete hellworld if they won.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The first and second films both have this kind of ending. It's made very clear that the Djinn is not permanently defeated when he gets resealed in the fire opal, but after the upbeat ending for the heroes the last shot slowly zooms in as the Djinn is biding his time in his prison, waiting to be awakened again.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Djinn in his true form has a suitably deep voice for a demon.
  • Face Stealer: The Djinn from the first, third, and fourth movies. In the second he used the same human form he had in the first, a corpse from the morgue. In the third and fourth it gets worse as he skins living people, a hapless college professor and a lawyer played by Michael Trucco, respectively.
  • Facial Horror: The Djinn is particularely fond of mutilating people's faces. In the first film for instance, he uses his powers to make a criminal unwillingly rip out a cop's lower jaw, tongue still intact.
  • False Reassurance: The films, being the classic "Monkey's Paw" style stories, do this continuously.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Most of the movies the Djinn puts up a pleasant veneer towards his victims while preparing their agonizing deaths. He tends to drop the fašade when he switches back into his true demonic form because then there's just no point in even pretending, especially towards the end, when he loses his patience with victory so close in his grasp.
  • Final Girl: The series is prone to playing with this. While played completely straight in the original, the sequel's Final Girl was a goth burglar who actually kills a guy in the opening, during a heist gone wrong, though she later redeems herself, in order to beat the Djinn. The protagonist of Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled is also shown having sex at least twice, including with the Djinn.
  • Flaying Alive: In the Djinn's palace in Hell, he is having one of the souls he collected tortured by slicing off the skin on the man's torso and stretching it out with hooks to expose all his innards.
  • Genie in a Bottle: The gem that holds the Djinn. Doubles as Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • A God Am I (Also Answers to the Name of God): Wishmaster:
    Raymond Beaumont: "M-my God!"
    The Djinn: "Not yet, human. Soon. Very soon I will be."
  • Gorn
  • Go Through Me: The horror form occurs in Wishmaster, where a security guard says this to the Jackass Genie villain - who turns him into glass and smashes through him to get in.
  • Great Gazoo: The Djinn is a far more malevolent version.
  • Groin Attack: A security guards gets stabbed in the crotch with a sword by a Living Statue in Wishmaster. Once the blade is in, the thing even goes as far as twisting it.
  • Healing Factor: The Djinn have a ramped-up healing factor as part of their Complete Immortality. They can actually be hurt (as the Djinn in the first film demonstrates by blowing its own brains out, which he concedes hurt a lot), but the damage just repairs itself instantly.
  • Hellhound: The evil Djinn keeps a draconic-looking hellhound in his throne room. He orders it to pursue the heroine through his crystal prison before offering his "help".
  • Hell on Earth: The goal of the Djinn is to make the world his hellish kingdom, for which he needs to grant three wishes to the one who awakened him to open the portal to the Djinn dimension and unleash their hordes upon mankind.
  • Here There Were Dragons: The Djinn discusses how the magic and spells of the past are now forgotten, and there is nothing left to stop him with.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: At the end of the first film, the Djinn defeats himself by granting a time-altering wish that, as he realizes too late, means he was never released from his prison to grant the wishes in the first place.
  • I Am the Noun: Alexandra wishes to know what the Djinn's nature is. He takes her to his hell-like home dimension, and tells her in a very evil Badass Boast.
    Djinn: You wish to know what I am? To you, I am this: The cry of the abandoned child. The whimper of the whipped beast. I am the face that stares back at you from the shadowed mirror. The hollowness at the heart of all your hopes, Alexandra. I AM DESPAIR.
  • Immortality Hurts: In the first film, the heroine wishes for the evil djinn to blow his own brians out. He promptly pulls out a revolver and does so. The Djinn quickly heals from this and informs her that he's immortal but adds that it "hurt like hell!"
  • Immune to Bullets: The Djinn heals instantly from blowing his own brains out in Wishmaster, getting shot in the chest in Evil Never Dies just causes him to bleed worms, and multiple gunshots have no effect on him whatsoever in The Prophecy Fulfilled.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: The first film is also marketed as Wes Craven's Wishmaster, even though he only "presented" it as the executive producer.
  • Instrument of Murder: The massacre at the end of the first film has a pianist attacked by his own piano, which rips his head off with its wires.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: The Djinn resorts to threatening and torturing Alexandra's friends and loved ones (including her sister) to force her to aid his plan by making wishes. He even notes this tactic's persuasiveness.
  • Jackass Genie: In these films, the Djinns are demonic beings who interpret any wish in the most negative manner imaginable. They ramp it up to the point that they could even be considered the seminal modern example of this trope. They vary this a bit with the person who freed them, who get three mandatory wishes. He has a tactic where he makes the first wish positive (so that they will wish for more), the second wish negative so that the victim will make the third and final wish to clean up the mess caused by the second wish. If he made all the wishes positive, it's possible that the person will be content with one or two, and never make the third wish.
  • Jack the Ripper: A painting of him is brought to life by the Djinn, and kills a security guard, at the end of Wishmaster.
  • Karmic Transformation: Since the titular genie takes the jerkass title and cranks it until the dial falls off, this is his favorite form of Baleful Polymorph, because it makes it suck that much more.
  • Large Ham: The Djinn is ridiculously hammy, especially in the last two films.
  • Lecherous Licking: The Djinn does some lecherous lip licking when he asks Alexandra where her "tasty" sister is, putting rapist or cannibalistic subtext in the audience's mind.
  • Literal Genie: The Djinn enjoys using people's own poorly worded wishes against them.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: In the first film, the Djinn fuses a security guard to a glass door, then shatters it.
  • Living Bodysuit: The Djinn does this with a dead body he finds in a med school lab.
  • Living Statue: Statues of snakes, ancient gods and warriors are animated by the Djinn at the end of Wishmaster.
  • Man on Fire: A random partier is engulfed in flames, shot from a fireplace, at the party at the end of Wishmaster.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Wishmaster:
    Ariella: "Now will this be cash or charge, Mr.—?"
    The Djinn: "Demarest. Nathaniel Demarest. Call me Nathaniel."
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Trying to wish for the Djinn to go kill himself is beyond pointless. The Djinn instantly regenerates after he is ordered to blow his own head off by the heroine. "That which is eternal cannot die". The Djinn does admit it hurt immensely, so he's not absolutely invulnerable.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: The conclusion of the first film depends on this: the protagonist is forced to make a third wish in order to stop the one djinn's rampage against her and her friends, but if she does he (and all the other djinn) will be freed to terrorize Earth. So she makes a wish that prevents the accident which caused the djinn's gem to be found in the first place in a Reset Button Ending.
  • Numbered Sequels: While it does use subtitles, this film series prevents Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo by keeping the numbering consistent.
  • Obstructive Code of Conduct: Despite being a particularly vile Jackass Genie, the titular djinn actually has certain limitations to his magic. Namely, he can only expressly use his power in the granting of a wish. That said, he is very much a Manipulative Bastard, and invokes Literal Genie as well to basically make life hell for everyone but especially the protagonist, since the caveat left out of modern genie stories is that the third wish granted releases the hideously evil race of djinn that have been locked out of our world since ancient times.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Djinn adopts his true djinn form whenever things get serious. He also appears like this when he gets defeated in the climax of every one of the movies, demonstrating that it's a true monster being overcome by the protagonists.
    Djinn: Spare me, child. Behold my true face.
    Alexandra: Oh my god.
    Djinn: Yesss. The shit just "hit the fan", didn't it?
  • The Omnipotent: The evil Djinn is about as close to this as would be possible while keeping the story entertaining, as he claims that his wishes are bound only by the imagination of the person making the wish. The very few things he can't do is to mess with the very basis of reality, such as killing or unmaking himself (God made his kind immortal when He created the universe), and undoing evil itself (as evil is necessary for there to be good). Every other wish pertaining to him personally is also bound by the ancient prophecy of the three wishes unleashing the Djinn hordes upon the Earth, so he can only grant wishes involving himself that don't undo his ability to grant them.
  • Our Angels Are Different: They're locked in an eternal war with the demonic Djinn, with the Djinn noting that he's trampled their wings beneath his feet in his conquests. They can manifest themselves by possessing a human, have healing hands, and swords that can kill the otherwise immortal Djinn. Their morality varies, as some like Michael are undeniably good, while others are very much in Knight Templar territory in their quest to defeat the Djinn.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The Djinn in this series are largely merged with much of the folklore about demons. They are one of three entities made by God (the others are Angels and Humans) while demons are not stated to exist as seperate beings, the wish-granting is identical to a Deal with the Devil since the Djinn's prize is the wisher's soul, and their home dimension is almost identical to Fire and Brimstone Hell, where the souls he collects are gathered to suffer eternal torture.
  • Our Genies Are Different: The djinn in this series are some kind of byproduct of God's creation of the universe and are all inherently evil and as such were banished to some Hell dimension. The main one is trapped in a red jewel on Earth and if he successfully grants his summoner's three wishes he can free his brethren and get rid of whatever it is that's restricting his powers so that they only activate for wishes. He also collects souls and has a very loose definition of what exactly constitutes as a wish.
  • Reality Warper: Djinn can alter reality to fulfill a wish. He states that the only limit to this is the wisher's imagination.
  • Reset Button: How the Djinn is defeated in the first film when the third wish is used to prevent him from being released in the first place.
  • Saying Too Much: When the Djinn in the first film disguises himself as a friend of Alexandra, and comments that Alex's boss would really like her apartment. Alex notes that she never mentioned who she worked for. The Djinn manages to talk his way out of it.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: In the intro of the first movie, a wizard traps the Djinn in a gem. The gem is later placed in a statue which is broken in modern times thanks to a drunken dock worker. The heroine retcons reality by wishing that the worker hadn't been drinking on the job that day, sending the Djinn back into its prison.
  • Self-Mutilation Demonstration: In the first movie the Djinn blows his brains out at the heroine's command, from which he automatically recovers, thereby demonstrating two things: he must do whatever she says, and he is not to be gotten rid of that easily. He does concede that it hurt like hell.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: The Djinn looks quite refined while wearing a suit in his human guise, to the point that the clerk selling the suit is clearly floored by him. He rewards her interest by turning her into a mannequin.
  • Spotting the Thread: Alex eventually catches on that the Djinn disguised himself as one of her friends. The Djinn manages to explain a Saying Too Much slip-up, but his antagonistic behavior and constant offers to do something for her (thereby invoking a wish) give him away.
  • Sssssnake Talk: The Djinn tends to gradually drop his human act. The first stage consists of him starting to talk in a deep hissing voice with elongated stress on some syllables.
  • Story Reset: The first movie is finished up by having it 'never happen' with a single time-altering wish.
  • Stupid Evil: In a big way. The Jerkass Genie actually has motivation for his job: once the person who releases him makes three wishes, genies will be freed from the hell-dimension they're trapped in and rampage across the Earth. He time and again proves not just to be Obviously Evil, but also a unique combination of Stupid Evil and Chaotic Stupid. He could simply trust that the person who released him would have three things that they wanted to wish for (and odds of that are pretty high), but instead, he insists on causing mayhem and destruction whenever someone makes a wish (particularly random people who aren't the person who can free the genies with three wishes), ensuring that whoever actually did free him will never make their three wishes.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • In the opening the Djinn turns a member of the Persian royal court into part of the brick wall as one of the "wonders" he promised to show the Emperor.
    • There's also a variation. The Djinn tricks the female clerk at a clothing store into wishing she "could be beautiful forever". He turns her into a mannequin.
  • Temporal Paradox: In the first film, the protagonist's solution for getting rid of the djinn creates a grandfather paradox.
  • Terms of Endangerment: The Djinn constantly uses terrifyingly inappropriate terms of endearment towards Alex while murdering everyone around her, such as "Spare me, child!", and "If it's any consolation sweet Alex, that hurt like hell!".
  • Theme Naming: Characters Finney, Beaumont, Derleth and Demerest in the first film are named after fifties sci-fi and horror writers.
  • Three Wishes: Three wishes are granted for the one who awoke the Djinn (everyone else gets only one, and give up their soul in return). Granting them all will unleash the hordes of the Djinn upon the world. The Djinn may also give a "free" wish. He did so as a demonstration to show that one cannot simply wish the Djinn were dead or killed. He offered the protagonist in the second film a free wish, so that she "might know its joy", but she refused. In the first film the protagonist makes her third wish such that it resets time so that the Djinn was never freed from his magical prison. As the Djinn learns from his mistake, later movies force the heroes to look for other ways to beat him at his own game.
  • Time Abyss: The Djinn notes that he is older than time itself.
  • Villain-Based Franchise: The series is centered around an evil genie, although the one in the third and fourth movie seems to be a different Djinn from the one in the first and second.
  • Villain Decay: The Djinn was scary and so much of a threat in the first film because he was utterly evil beyond redemption, completely immortal, his powers knew almost no bounds, and he would bring about hell on Earth if he got his three wishes. What stopped him from being an Invincible Villain was that the entire plan hinges on granting wishes, so the protagonist could technically stop it by not wishing at all and had to be constantly wary of saying anything that could possibly be interpreted by the evil Djinn as one. In the second film, he suddenly has to collect 1000 souls first, and much of the plot placed him in prison, where he was significantly less menacing as a villain. The third and fourth films continue the process by making the Djinn killable, and having to pursue romance with a woman.
  • Villains Blend in Better: The Djinn was last active in medieval Persia. After being imprisoned for several centuries and waking up in the modern day, he has absolutely no problem adjusting to his new surroundings.
  • Villains Out Shopping: The Djinn goes shopping for a suit in the first film. It's not used to humanize him however, as he simply uses the opportunity to Kick the Dog one more time by condemning some poor clerk to another horrific fate.
  • Void Between the Worlds: The Djinn's home dimension is described as this (although it looks more like Hell in actuality), and he boasts about actually being one of the few beings to have walked the abyss between the planes. The Djinn's goal is to merge it with the human realm, and allow his race to rule the Earth.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifter: The Djinn can take on the form of others, but he has to use their face for it. The Djinn in the fourth film does it without restriction at one point.
  • Wishplosion: Done once a film, with a different human "mark" each time. In the first film, the mark wishes the accident that freed the djinn had never happened. She also wished for him to blow his brains out; he immediately complies, and she discovers he is in fact Immune to Bullets. "If it's any consolation," he adds, "That hurt like hell."
  • The Worf Effect: Played with on a meta level. See Hey, It's That Guy! on the Trivia tab for the classic horror icons that are a list of the Djinn's victims.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: Like modern depictions of demons, the Djinn collects souls so he can drag them to what is effectively Hell to torture them forever. He also needs them to power the jewel that he was trapped in, which acts as a doorway to the Djinn world.