The owner of a Waxmuseum needs for three of his models stories to be told to the audience. For that reason he has hired a writer, who after one look athe owner's pretty daughter, starts ... See full summary »
The owner of a Waxmuseum needs for three of his models stories to be told to the audience. For that reason he has hired a writer, who after one look athe owner's pretty daughter, starts writing stories featuring the models, the daughter and himself. In the first, he is a baker, married to the girl, who is a little bit too much flirting with the customers, among them the wezir of sultan Harun Al-Rashid, who has just ordered his execution because the smell from the bakery is drifting to his palce, yet Harun Al-Rashid wants to meet the beautiful girl himself, while an angry baker is trying to get the Sultan's whishing ring to proof he's not a weakling... The second story is about Tzar Ivan the Terrible who likes watching people die together with his court-chemist. When he orders the execution of the chemist, the chemist thinks of a nice revanche, but till the revanche works, a nobleman is murdered, his daughter kidnapped by Ivan and her groom tortured. While writing the third story about... Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This interesting and generally creative silent horror movie is really not all that tense or suspenseful, but it has some interesting stories and characters, and the distinctive expressionistic settings add considerably to the atmosphere. The three stories told about the "Waxworks" all have their own strengths.
It's rather interesting to see Emil Jannings as the Caliph in the first sequence. It's hard not to associate Jannings with the serious characters he played in "The Blue Angel" and "The Last Laugh", yet here he quite successfully portrays the Caliph as something of a buffoon. This story is the lightest of the three, yet it works well due to some creative touches.
The Ivan the Terrible sequence features an interesting, if rather far-fetched, story and a pretty good performance by Conrad Veidt as Ivan. The last sequence, with Spring-Heeled Jack, comes the closest to producing real fear, and it's just unfortunate that it was not more fully developed.
The biggest strength of "Waxworks" is its settings, which establish the right atmosphere and lend an aura of the bizarre that helps the stories to be more convincing. Overall, while not in the class of the finest silent horror classics, this works quite well as lighter entertainment.
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