The Wax Mask (1997)
"M.D.C. - Maschera di cera" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Horror  |  4 April 1997 (Italy)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.7/10 from 1,280 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 15 critic

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 »



(story), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
0Check in
1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Do You Like Hitchcock? (TV Movie 2005)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A college film student, obsessed with the works of Alfred Hitchcock, investigates a murder committed in the apartment building across from his and suspects that his seductive neighbor hired a girlfriend to commit the deed.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Elio Germano, Chiara Conti, Elisabetta Rocchetti
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

A Rome policewoman teams up with a British Interpol agent to find a crafty serial killer whom plays a taunting game of cat-and-mouse with the police by abducting and killing young women and showing it over an Internet web cam.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Stefania Rocca, Liam Cunningham, Silvio Muccino
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A young policewoman slowly goes insane while tracking down an elusive serial rapist/killer through Italy when she herself becomes a victim of the brutal man's obsession.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Asia Argento, Thomas Kretschmann, Marco Leonardi
The Church (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An old Gothic cathedral, built over a mass grave, develops strange powers which trap a number of people inside with ghosts from a 12th Century massacre seeking to resurrect an ancient demon from the bowels of the Earth.

Director: Michele Soavi
Stars: Hugh Quarshie, Tomas Arana, Feodor Chaliapin Jr.
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  

Gory remake of the Gaston Leroux classic story, only this time, the phantom is not disfigured, but a man who was raised by rats deep under the Paris Opera House.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Julian Sands, Asia Argento, Andrea Di Stefano
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A burned-out New York police detective teams up with a college psychoanalyst to track down a vicious serial killer randomly stalking and killing various young women around the city.

Director: Lucio Fulci
Stars: Jack Hedley, Almanta Suska, Howard Ross
Opera (1987)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young opperata is stalked by a deranged fan bent on killing the people associated with her to claim her for himself.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Cristina Marsillach, Ian Charleson, Urbano Barberini
Giallo (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

In Italy, a woman fears her sister may have been kidnapped. Inspector Enzo Avolfi fears it's worse. They team up to rescue her from a sadistic killer known only as Yellow.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Adrien Brody, Emmanuelle Seigner, Elsa Pataky
Trauma (1993)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A young man tries to help a teenage European girl whom escaped from a clinic hospital after witnessing the murder of her parents by a serial killer and they try to find the killer before the killer finds them.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Christopher Rydell, Asia Argento, Piper Laurie
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

When a family man is poisoned to death, it's covered up as a stomach hemorrhage and his spirit returns to aid his daughter in finding his killers.

Director: Lucio Fulci
Stars: Duilio Del Prete, Karina Huff, Pascal Persiano
Sleepless (2001)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An elderly and retired police detective and a young amateur sleuth team up to find a serial killer whom has resumed a killing spree in Turin, Italy after a 17-year hiatus.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Max von Sydow, Stefano Dionisi, Chiara Caselli
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A young man has mysterious encounters with an unknown woman, an ominous hearse, and other supernatural events on the road during an aimless drive around Louisiana after the funeral of his father.

Director: Lucio Fulci
Stars: John Savage, Sandi Schultz, Richard Castleman


Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Hossein ...
Boris Volkoff
Sonia Lafont
Riccardo Serventi Longhi ...
Andrea Conversi
Gabriella Giorgelli ...
Aunt Francesca
Umberto Balli ...
Valery Valmond ...
Gianni Franco ...
Inspector Palazzi
Antonello Murru ...
Museum Caretaker
Luca (as Daniele Auber)
Romano Iannelli ...
Rosa Pianeta ...
Anna's Mother
Sonia Topazio ...
Massimo Vanni ...
Aldo Massasso ...
Inspector Lanvin
Sabrina Pellegrino ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Unrated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

4 April 1997 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Wax Mask  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

ITL 219,896,000 (Italy) (4 April 1997)


ITL 579,919,000 (Italy) (18 April 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


E lucevan le stelle
from "Tosca"
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa & Luigi Illica
Music by Giacomo Puccini
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An unexceptional Italian Gothic horror.
10 September 2008 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

That old chestnut, the creepy wax museum, is the setting for this preposterous Gothic movie written by two of Italian horror's most renowned directors, Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, and helmed by talented FX make-up man Sergio Stivaletti.

A remake (of sorts) of the 1933 film Mystery of the Wax Museum, in which a disfigured lunatic populates his museum with the wax-coated corpses of his victims, Stivaletti's debut as director is atmospheric, gory, looks great (proving that he has been paying attention whilst providing the splatter for others), and features a couple of very hot actresses who are happy to flip out their breasts; however, the acting is poor and the story nonsensical, and, ultimately, the film fails to impress as much as it might have, given the pedigree of its creators.

Stivaletti does manage to conjure up a few memorable scenes (including a creepy attack on a sleeping girl, and a brutal and bloody murder sequence which sees a hand being snapped off, a throat cut and a heart being torn out), but for every good moment, there is an equally bad one. The film ends in a particularly dreadful manner, with one character becoming a seemingly indestructible Terminator-style monster, and the wax museum being burnt to the ground by some really cheap looking CGI.

5.5 out of 10, rounded up to 6 for IMDb.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Based on a Gaston Leroux story? jrpelt
Love the music Skaven252
Discuss The Wax Mask (1997) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: