Tag Archives: Paul Johansson

Jack Sholder’s Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies

Everyone knows the expression ‘go fuck yourself.’ But can anyone think of a film where that actually, physically… happens? Well it happens in Jack Sholder’s Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies, and let me tell you, it ain’t pretty. I’ll get to that in a minute. Robert Kurtzman’s original supernatural splatter-fest is a supremely underrated horror flick with a concept that pretty much begs for sequels, and while there’s a bunch, only this one is really worth checking out. The success of these really hinges on Andrew Divoff’s deliciously sinister performance as the ancient evil Djinn, a being who tricks people into making wishes which he grants on his own terms, before harvesting the unwitting soul of the wisher to fuel his powerful dark magic. Raspy voiced, narrow eyed and dripping with dangerous charisma, Divoff is a scene stealer and whoever decided to recast him for Wishmasters 3 and 4 should be fired, but in any case those two aren’t worth checking out. This one sees the Djinn get inadvertently woken up by a cat burglar (Holly Fields) during a botched robbery. In sneaky human form he calmly takes credit for the crime and deliberately goes to prison where he can reap all those juicy repeat offender souls and take advantage of how dumb they all are. It’s a cool setting and gives actors like Paul Johansson and legendary Tiny Lister (who is in every movie ever, apparently) a chance to play assholes who get in the Djinn’s way, but it’s Divoff’s show all the way. Now, the part you’ll want to hear about. During a meeting with his lawyer, an uncooperative felon (Robert Lasardo) makes the ill conceived wish that the attorney should ‘go fuck himself.’ The Djinn, never one to not put on a good show, works his magic and moments later… well. The lawyer gruesomely bends backwards in a way no human is meant to and quite literally does in fact fuck himself. It’s quite a thing to have suddenly show up in your otherwise run of the mill horror sequel, simultaneously surreal, awkward, outrageous and, if you have a sense of humour as demented as I do, pretty goddam hilarious. The film overall does the trick, I mean it doesn’t have the charm, chutzpah or awesome genre cameos of Kurtzman’s balls out original, but it’s still pretty sweet.

-Nate Hill

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B Movie Glory: toXic

In the endless sea of direct to video output, sometimes you find one that although is rough as all hell around the edges, has potential and moments that shine, even if they’re stuck in a muddled, overcrowded narrative. Toxic is one such film, a psychological horror/crime hybrid that is so full of B level movie legends, rappers and porn stars that some are only around for a second, a whole galaxy of fringe talent caught up in a story that needs complete attention to be understood, not because it’s any kind of genius labyrinthine story, but simply because it’s edited with a chainsaw and has more dangling plot threads than an entire season of CSI. There’s two timelines it takes place in, a setup that already isn’t explained well enough off the bat, but such is the level of commotion. In one, nervous mobster Tom Sizemore (nuttier than usual as this was his first gig after a stint in jail) hires two henchman (Corey Large and Danny Trejo) to find his daughter (Charity Shea) who is apparently very dangerous, but he won’t say how or why. She ends up at a strip club run by rapper Master P and her presence seems to cause nothing but trouble for everyone there including a severely depressed hooker (Dominique Swain), an ill fated homeless man (C. Thomas Howell) and others. In another timeline we see another strip club run by pimp-with-a-heart-of-gold Costas Mandylor, in which Corey Large shows up again as a mysterious bartender and the whole berserk plot hinges on his two characters, but they really should have let him stick to producing duties and hired another actor because he’s in desperate need of some acting classes. All manner of other famous faces make cameos too including Bai Ling as Sizemore’s weird clairvoyant girlfriend, scene stealer Susan Ward as a sympathetic bartender, Steven Bauer, Lochlyn Munro in dual roles, Paul Johansson, Ron Jeremy, James Duval, Johann Urb, Holt McCallany, Cerina Vincent, Shar Jackson, Nick Chinlund and the list goes until you start to wonder if these prolific people were just hanging around the studio lot and needed extra work. Here’s the thing: there *is* actually a discernible story here that’s interesting and engaging, and upon reflection it does all in fact make sense. *But*…in a ninety minute film with this many cameos and random stuff, it’s too much to feel coherent. I will say that the final twist/revelation is handled in a top tier, musically visceral way that’s quality stuff, but so much else was kind of incomprehensible that several people I’ve watched it with could tell there was a twist by the tropes being used, but not what it actually was. With a new angle on editing, sharpening up the script and whatnot this could have been something more accessible, but I still really like it for effort put into a neat storyline, the laundry list of cool cast members, that final scene that’s done so well and the obvious, endearing homages to Tarantino and Tony Scott in style and tone. Interesting, pulpy, lurid, scattershot stuff.

-Nate Hill