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When I think of my top ten list for the best horror movies ever made, "Waxwork" always comes to mind near the top. It is sometimes funny, sometimes scary, and always fresh and entertaining. It actually seems to get better with age. I love the way that all the classic movie monsters and madmen have been put into one movie. It doesn't matter what your favorite monster is (be it vampires, werewolves, mummies, etc.), you will see it in this movie. There is something for ever horror nutt in this little classic. I love the characters, especially Deborah Foreman, Zach Galligan, Michelle Johnson, & Dana Ashbrook's roles. This movie is tons of fun. I recommend that you rent it ASAP (and try to get the uncensored version).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Waxwork begins with two Los Angeles teenagers Sarah Brightman (Deborah
Foreman) & China Webster (Michelle Johnson) on their way to school &
noticing a waxworks. They are puzzled by the location, the strange
owner David Lincoln (David Warner) pops up from nowhere & invites them
to a private showing at midnight. Along with two friends, Mark Loftmore
(Zach Galligan) & Tony (Dana Ashbrook) they decide to give it a go.
Once there a strange midget butler named Hans (Mihaly 'Michu' Meszaros)
answers the door, invites them in & says they can take a look around
the waxwork models all of which depict various monsters including,
Count Dracula (Miles O'Keeffe), an Egyptian Mummy (Paul Badger), the
Marquis De Sade (J. Kenneth Campbell), a Werewolf (John Rhys-Davis), a
circus freak, zombies & aliens. The four split up & have a walk around,
only Mark & Sarah leave the waxwork as Tony & China are nowhere to be
found. The following day & Mark becomes worried when no word is heard
from either, he contacts the police & Inspector Roberts (Charles
McCaughan) but isn't taken seriously. Mark does a little digging &
discovers that Lincoln has in fact sold his soul to the devil & intends
to resurrect his exhibits & spread their evil throughout the world,
unless Mark & Sarah can stop him...
This American German co-production was written & directed by Anthony Hickox, who also has a small role in the film as the Prince in the Marquis De Sade segment, & I personally think Waxwork is a fun & original horror film. The script doesn't take itself too seriously, moves along at a nice pace & pays homage to a whole host of horror films & monsters, Dracula, Frankenstein, Alien, a demonic baby, a deformed snake creature, the Mummy, the Phanton of the Opera, Werewolves, a man eating plant, Jack the Ripper, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, the Invisible Man, flesh eating zombies, the Marquis De Sade &, of course, the wraparound story about using real people in wax exhibits. All of these monsters can be traced to other classic horror films, I also really liked the mini films within the overall film. The idea that once you step into one of the exhibits you are transported to that particular location. From the log cabin & spooky woods of the Wewrewolf segment to the huge Gothic castle featuring Count Dracula. From the ancient Egyptian tomb & the Mummy to the the graveyard & the zombie attack even presented in black & white (just to add that extra realistic touch to the homage). Some of the dialogue is a bit annoying especially all the boyfriend/girlfriend rubbish that populates much of the first half of Waxwork. The character's are thin & the final battle between good & evil feels very out of place & cartoonish especially when Patrick Macnee turns up in an armoured wheelchair although it reminded me of peasant villagers wielding pitchforks, yet another homage?
Director Hickox films with competence & even manages to bring a little style to it. The gore is plentiful, someone is ripped in half, a sliced up leg, exploding heads, Vampire staking with gallons of blood spraying everywhere, impaling, squashed heads, beatings, severed hands & all sorts of monsters. Apparently special make-up effects man Bob Keen spent 18 hours a day for eight weeks working on them, the results are mixed with some very impressive ones like the cool Mummy & gory Vampire sequence while other's are less so like the flying rubber bat & some of the minor monsters.
Technically Waxwork is solid & is well made throughout & I especially liked the catchy cool sounding music. However the burning waxworks at the end looks well fake. The acting is variable, some good some not so good but this adds to the fun rather than distracts & generally speaking it's not too bad.
Waxwok is an original, fun & entertaining horror film that I enjoyed. It's different enough to stand out in a world of soulless clichéd copycats & any horror fans will feel instantly at home with all the lovable homages of our favourite films that Hickox includes. Despite a few problems with the script & one or two silly special effect's I still highly recommend Waxwork, surely one of the best horror's to come out of the sequel driven 80's. Definitely worth a watch. Several years later a sequel Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992) was made.
Admittedly I barely got through the latter half of this, before
temptation dared me to sit it out to the end. Darned it. Definitely not
Galligan's, Johnson's, Foreman's or even Warner's better work. But I
blame that on the bad scripting, the horrible directing, the rather
lazy production technique. And Lord knows, I have long respected and
admired David Warner's work. Gifted villain is he, especially opposite
his classic Jack the Ripper icon, opposite Malcolm McDowell in 'Time
after time'. And certainly, one of the finer, solid English talents of
our century. Thankfully his talent wasn't entirely wasted in this. He
was allotted some grandeur evil moments; similar to the setup of
Vincent Price's classic 'House of Wax'. Most inevitably, a few of the
latter scenes curiously depicted those classic scenes,like the vat room
and the staircase.
This film certainly started out decently, but some of the pacing was a tad slow. By the time the kids actually step inside the 'wax museum', and then walk around the exhibits, much just turns goofy or mindless from thereon. Eventually action becomes rather boorish. The special effects are mediocre if that, most of the period actors can barely act a wink, and the editing is just awful. Several of the slasher-gore action shots get goofy or make zero sense (or out of sequence), and the ending 'battle' scene between the 'monsters' and the good guys is laughable.
Perhaps this was intended to be a teen suspense comedy-drama. And it almost held the same quality humor as the Evil-dead series. However, with the awkward pacing, much of the intended visual effects fell either flat or victim to bad editing.
A group of friends attend a private showing at a new Waxwork museum, but the owner has a sinister plan that involves the wax figures. The museum has displays of the most sinister creatures known to man and once a person steps onto the display, they enter the creature's world. I thoroughly enjoy this movie every time I watch it because it is very creative and set out to do something completely different. The only negative thing I can say is that the effects and editing are fairly poor. However, it doesn't stand out that much or ruin the movie at all. It is full of dark humor and gives nods to great horror movies. Of course, it wouldn't be a campy 80's movie without Gremlins star Zach Galligan and several other memorable actors from the decade showing up. It should also be mentioned that this is Anthony Hickox's first feature-length film, which makes it even more impressive. This is a gem when it comes to campy horror movies and is a definite must-see.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
...cheesey with a load of hot spice! A real blast from the past,
frankly if someone invites you into a wax museum in a horror film no
good whatsoever can come from it! Hilarious to watch the 80s fashions
and haircuts now, very much dates it if nothing else. Great cast with
some top notch British actors, the great David Warner, Steed himself
Patrick McNee (in a camouflaged wheelchair!) and John Rhys Davies. The
special effects now seem pretty lame but everyone seems to be having
such a good time it really doesn't seem to matter at all.
I wonder if Joss Whedon ever saw this? The final scenes with the monsters released seems very reminiscent of the final scenes of 'Cabin in the Woods'? We have a very Buffy like heroine fighting vamps and a very Angelus like villain (and indeed the actor who plays The Marquis de Sade plays Angel's father).
Of course halfway through this film stops being a Fright Night style horror comedy and takes a 90 degree turn Meridian/Phantoms style into some fairly outrageous porn. We have the sexy bad girl surrendering herself to Dracula in a scene that must have had a million goth fetishists drooling through their black makeup (she certainly 'gives good neck'). If that wasn't enough we then have the good girl who isn't quite sure what she want's from her boyfriend? Turns out what she wants is to be chained up and whipped by the Marquis de Sade, orgasming like crazy, begging him not to stop or let the hero rescue her! And you thought the poster for 'The Entity' marked the death of feminism? Of course this was the era of the New Romantics so men with long hair, puffy shirts and posh accents were very much in vogue at the time.
One point of order, the Marquis de Sade was a real person from the 18th century and was famous for his outrageous sexual escapades and love of inflicting physical pain on his partners. However in real life he was French, never killed anyone or even inflicted real injury upon them and was never considered evil. The term 'sadism' is derived from him. Ironically de Sade survived the French Revolution which killed so many of his contemporary aristocrats because he was in an insane asylum at the time due to his perverted exploits and what were regarded at the time as obscene publications on sexual matters.
All told it's a very fun film, I'd love to see the sequel and surely it must be ready for a remake with some more convincing special effects.
If you're a film connoisseur, you know that one particularly delightful
delicacy is a movie so awful, so corny and weak, it's actually fun. In
this vein of indulgence, we have the McDonald's of movies: "Waxwork"!
From start to finish, this movie hilariously disappoints. It's a cascade of clichés, expertly amateur, and so derivative it becomes an homage. The list of little to explicit rip-offs would stretch to hell and back. This is a must see title for any Bad Movie Night.
The cast of would be heros (Zach Galligan, Michelle Johnson, Deborah Foreman, Dana Ashbrook) is a well-seasoned synthesis of 80's bitch/douche-baggery. These kids define "stuck up". And there's no love lost watching them smug their way towards death. "I do what I want, when I want. Dig it or f*ck off."
John Rhys-Davies makes a surprising and profound appearance. This movie was well beneath him, and his short but captivating performance proves it.
One thing I have to say: For the real Marquis de Sade lovers out there, this movie is a disgrace. Pinning de Sade next to Jack the Ripper and Dracula - he was never so seductive or so cruel. Most of his works, though shedding light on gross and inhuman perversions, end with justice and the restoration of a kind of modern morality. De Sade was not a monster who got off on killing. J. Kenneth Campbell and Anthony Hickox - you should be ashamed of yourselves.
Look for: The human chicken leg Cpt. William Wonka of the RAF, or the 6th Doctor got a hair straightener No, it's not "Fantasy Island" Yes, there is a sequel...
Cigarettes in hand, our posh protagonists each declare they're "on the wagon". I wouldn't recommend it for this one.
One of my favorite escapist horror movies of the 80s along with "April Fools Day," "They Live" and "Night Breed." Reminds me a bit of the old Amicus/Hammer anthologies. This one has everything: Buckets of blood, cheesy effects, thin ties, mullet haircuts, camp humor, midgets, Patrick Macnee, Deborah Foreman, DEBORAH FOREMAN! It also has genuine scares and copious gore, promiscuous smoking, and a who's who of Hollywood villains and monsters. Speaking of smoking, did I forget to mention that Deborah Foreman is in this film? How many more reasons do you need to see this movie? Run screaming to your local video store, rent it today and be thoroughly entertained!
With gratuitous gore (seriously, it gets rough) and a plethora of punchy
(though campy) dialogue, Waxworks is a fine slab of visceral cinema. The
camera angles and mise en scene are more artistic than usual for horror
films, and the sets from all of the different periods that victims are
to are convincing enough. Hey, it even has that guy from Sliders and
Jones who always said: "INDIE!" playing a werewolf in it. It doesn't get
better than that!
While I find this not as good as the sequel, this film has a place in my heart! While Zack Galligan, Michelle Johnson, David Warner, and Patrick Macnee head up the cast, it's the wax creation segments that are the star of the film. No major stone is left unturned. It's Alive, American Werewolf in London, Hammer films, The Thing, Jack the Ripper, The Invisible Man, Argento's Phantom of the Opera, Night of the Living Dead (yes!), and even, Deranged (movie based on Ed Gein) are tributed in the film. With numerous references, this is a predecessor to films like The Dead Hate The Living.
Okay, I like my horror flicks, no, I love my horror flicks. This one plain and simply kicks-ass. It has Dracula, the mummy, the werewolf and zombies all rolled into one and more! It's funny and the acting is good. David Warner is a superb baddie and Zach Galligan is a great hero. But the most fun comes from the action packed ending. A huge battle royal with the waxworks themselves vs Patrick MacNees OAP club! If I could watch a horror film over and over again then this would be it! Oh yeah and Demons and Idle Hands and Maniac Cop and..........
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