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John’s Horror Corner: Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell (2001), worse than the previous two evil genie movies, but still stretching a low gory budget for the fans

April 19, 2014

wishmaster_3 poster

MY CALL: All the gore and dumb plot but not of the Divoff’s canny evil cheeky charm of the previous release. A noticeable drop in quality for the franchise, but at least the effects are still fun and cheesy. MOVIES LIKE Wishmaster 3: Wishmaster (1997) and Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999) are both much better, largely for Andrew Divoff’s ability to appear credibly pleased with his Djinn’s evil. OTHER TITLES: This movie has two other subtitles. Most commonly listed as Beyond the Gates of Hell, this movie was also released as Sword of Justice and Devil Stone.


First off, bad news guys. Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster, Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies) will not be returning to play the Monkey paw, wish-twisting Djinn. If you loved his performance in parts one and two, then maybe this movie isn’t for you.

After an opening montage of museum relics including something akin to Pinhead’s Hellraiser puzzlebox, the camera settles on a nightmare-plagued, semi-attractive college girl (A.J. Cook; Final Destination 2, Wer, Mother’s Day). Diana, having agreed to help her classics/mythology professor with some Iranian exhibit at a museum, snoops around and discovers the foreboding puzzlebox-looking artifact. I’ll give you all one guess at what’s inside? BINGO! A giant blood ruby! As if it made perfect sense to do this, she immediately rubs this ruby (which was already clean and sparkling) with a rag. Aaaaaaaaand GENIE! But just like the previous two movies, the genie never seems to arrive until after the ruby-rubber departs, leaving the genie with the need to find them.

wismaster 3 naked girls

Instead the genie first encounters Diana’s professor, who wishes for a co-ed threesome, sees some boobs, and is killed for some reason.

wishmaster-gates-of-hell-12 pace peel

Then, with no Andrew Divoff lookalike to be found, the Djinn settles for him and takes his face.

wishmaster 3 professor

So now the Djinn looks like this…

Instead of this.

This box and ruby was shipped to her mythology professor who says the Iranian trinket is inscribed in Aramaic. So he teaches classic mythology, studies Iranian relics and reads Aramaic? Smart guy. I get that some academics have weird combinations of interests, but this is up there with Christopher Lloyd in Piranha 3D (2010) being a fish store owner who is an expert in piranha biology (so he’s into ichthyology), extinct piranhas and their fossils (a dash of paleontology; not too farfetched yet though), and the local subterranean bodies of water (yup, cave lakes) in a region with no piranha species (and now it’s ridiculous that he has a fish store there). Oh, and he owns a piranha fossil. Doesn’t that thing belong in a museum, bro?



Anyway, the genie arrives and two things are very different about this movie compared to its predecessors. One, there is no highly memorable, uber-gory opening in which the genie must eat a soul to become fully constituted into the tentacle-headed monster we’ve come to love. And two, Andrew Divoff’s iconic evil voice has been replaced with some synthesizer-enhanced voice. It’s not good. Worse yet, the franchise’s budget clearly took yet another hit, leaving the Djinn’s skin looking as rubbery as ever.  And what’s with the goofy over-sized ears?

wishmaster 3 djinn makeup

Amazon’s editorial review claims this is “the goriest installment of the hit franchise yet.” That’s a blatant lie to sell DVDs, people! You’ll find more truth in the Djinn’s granted wishes! This is no more gory than previous installments…which is sufficiently, playfully gory. I’d say it’s the least gory, but not by a lot. The gore seems to drop with each subsequent sequel (and budget cut).

exploding heart

It’s far beyond the stabs and blood in a typical slasher movie. Gross, gory scenes include “forced” magical liposuction-to-death and gutsy limb regeneration. Overall, the gore is a little less than part 2 (and way less than part 1) but the effects team made a decent effort with what they had. The classic Wishmaster “face peel” looks a bit lame in this movie and his genie magic is still depicted as cheaply-CGI’d blue electricity.


The real downfall in this third installment–other than an actor who couldn’t fill Divoff’s shoes–was the Djinn’s appearance. If you think I’m being critical take another look at the Djinn’s make-up and prosthetics paint job. Like so many other lower budget horror movies, this sequel relies on nudity to fill the void…not that it needed it to be entertaining. I guess starving actress’ breasts are cheaper than rubber guts these days.


The most totally random thing that happens is when, by Diana’s wish, her boyfriend Greg (Tobias Mehler; Disturbing Behavior, Carrie [2002]) gets transformed into an archangel (i.e., Greg now has blue eyes and a sword) for a painfully bad fight complete with Djinn-flipping, pew-throwing nonsense. This fight is about as bad as the story (which was admittedly about as bad in part 2) and the genie’s attempt at evil humor (which was actually loads of fun in part 2–did I mention how much I miss Andrew Divoff?).

wishmaster archangel

The twisted wishes are as lame as ever, there gore well doesn’t flow as abundantly, and Andrew Divoff’s replacement offers none of the fun personality that fueled the success of the first two installments. So, why watch this one? Honestly, despite the stupid story it’s not bad for a “fun” 2001 horror and it’s rather decent considering its budgetary constraints. The effects are largely biased towards the second half, but once you arrive there they make for an entertaining ride.


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