[Exclusive] Robert Kurtzman Shares Original, Far Different Concept Art for ‘Wishmaster’ Djinn
When it came time for makeup effects master Robert Kurtzman (the “K” in the KNB EFX Group) to make his own horror movie, it was only natural that it was going to be loaded with incredible practical makeup effects. And indeed it was, with 1997’s Kurtzman-directed Wishmaster serving as a showcase of just how good KNB is at what they do.
Wishmaster set itself apart from other late-’90s horror films by being jam-packed with a multitude of gruesome, ’80s-style practical effects, and the titular villain was of course a memorable makeup effect in his own right. The wish-granting Djinn, played by Andrew Divoff in the original film, went on to become a horror icon thanks to a franchise that includes four total installments; true, the Djinn may not be up there with the likes of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, but he’s undeniably a memorable horror villain that fans have taken to.
As we recently told you, Hanlin’s Hollywood Memorabilia is auctioning off several choice items from Robert Kurtzman’s personal collection next month, and included will be original concept drawings for Wishmaster‘s Djinn. Like most iconic horror villains, the evil Djinn cycled through many potential looks during pre-production, and we’re excited to share two pieces of that early concept art with you here today, prior to next month’s auction.
“The Djinn needed to be like no other character, it had to be something original,” Kurtzman explained to us. “Original concepts had heavy tribal scarring and body modifications and head gear of skull bones. The head design was changed to incorporate the skull bones and turn them into more like head tendrils. This along with our concept designs done for his wardrobe and finger claws made him more majestic.”
Kurtzman continued, “The final designs were worked out by John Bisson and myself after hundreds of drawings were done until we settled on the final with producer inputs, which included Wes Craven.”
Sharing his own memories of the final costume, Andrew Divoff recalled to us, “If you ever wondered what an Armadillo feels like walking around in that armor… I’ve often thought the full Djinn costume comes very close. The brilliance of that contraption is that it was built in separate, articulating modules, a trait inspired by Robert Kurtzman’s ingenious head cowl and facial appliances all seamed together separately yet seamlessly.”
You can check out two of the early Djinn designs below, along with a few other amazing pieces of Wishmaster memorabilia that’ll be auctioned off. Remember that scene where the Djinn kills Kane Hodder’s security guard character by literally fusing his body into a sheet of glass and then smashing through it? Ever wonder how they pulled that off?
“It was hand painted on the front and back of a sheet of safety glass by FX artist, Screaming Mad George,” Kurtzman explained to us, sharing an image of what the soon-to-be-auctioned prop looks like today, 20 years later. “It was painted that way in order to be lit so that the skeletal structure painted on the other side of the glass would show through.”
Hanlin’s Hollywood Memorabilia is proud to present the creatures of Robert Kurtzman at an auction taking place June 2, 2018 at 11am.
The full catalog for the auction will be available this coming Monday.
UPDATE: Images swapped at the request of Kurtzman. Here are two NEW pieces of art: