Paris, 1900: a couple are horribly murdered by a masked man with a metal claw who rips their hearts out. The sole survivor and witness to the massacre is a young girl. Twelve years later in... See full summary »
Paris, 1900: a couple are horribly murdered by a masked man with a metal claw who rips their hearts out. The sole survivor and witness to the massacre is a young girl. Twelve years later in Rome a new wax museum is opened, whose main attractions are lifelike recreations of gruesome murder scenes. A young man bets that he will spend the night in the museum but is found dead the morning after. Soon, people start disappearing from the streets of Rome and the wax museum halls begin filling with new figures... Written by
Giancarlo Cairella <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Originally intended by Dario Argento as a Comeback for colleague (though not friend) Lucio Fulci. Unfortunately, only a few weeks before filming was about to begin, Fulci died and on short notice, the directing job was handed over to special effects expert Sergio Stivaletti. See more »
At 1:04:12, Volkoff put a pin through the picture of Sonia he just clipped. Seven seconds later, as Alex watch him secretly through the door, he does exactly the same action with the pin. See more »
You can't help but go into Wax Mask with a little trepidation. First time director, written by an aged Luci Fulci and Dario Argento (who also produced), both of whom have had a less than impressive careers as of late. That said, Wax Mask is not a disappointment. It isn't a great film, but an entertaining one.
The plot is liberally adapted from the classic Gaston Leroux story, also used for classic horror film House of Wax. A young girl sees her father killed by a metal handed maniac. Flash to 12? years later, she begins to work at a local wax museum that specializes in recreations of murders. We actually dont see much of the museum, just a few sculptures down one heavily draped hallway. A metal handed figure begins to go around town injecting and abducting prostitutes and children. All the while, the wax museum keeps a steady supply of figures that appear really lifelike. You know the story. A newspaper reporter begins to investigate the disappearances and takes a shine to the girl. Everything begins to point to the wax museum and its curator/mad inventor and his goons. The finale is ridiculous, but short enough to not ruin the film with its awkward turn.
Stivaletti handles the film pretty evenly. You can tell he learned a lot about atmosphere in his years working for Argento, Bava, and Soavi, but Stivaletti doesn't showcase any revelatory talent, just competent skill. Italian horror films are always style first, general substance in the plot or performances is always secondary to the mood and movement. The film is paced well, and doesn't pretend that we all won't know who the killer is, after all this is well tread territory. The setting (early 1900's) and score are a welcome change, since Italian horror usually stays in modern times. Stivalletti makes use of heavy colours, POV, flashbacks, CGI, as well as old horror imagery like the gothic buildings, and a mad doctor laboratory with bubbling serums in tubes, and electrified levers. The lead actress is beautiful, sultry, wide eyed, and willing to take her top off. The hunky reporter is very lame and unappealing. He attempts to be suave, but he is just a dork. Miscasting him as the hero is the films real lowpoint. The curator is good, he doesn't overplay his part, not a drooling maniac, just threatening enough.
Italian horror fans should find it a satisfactory film, nothing to astound you, but not overly disappointing, either. Other horror fans may be wary, but it does have a genuinely nice blend of old and new schools of horror. As far as Italian horror goes (where one must often not expect much in the acting and plotting department) it gets a B-. As far as standard horror it gets a C.
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