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Step Over The Rope And Abandon All Hope...
Christopher T. Chase5 December 2008
The Eighties...what a great, fertile, inventive time that was for horror. When the major studios discovered back in the late Seventies that indie horror flicks were cheap to make or just buy outright and distribute, they started crankin' 'em out...by the DOZENS. Way back when, THE EXORCIST turned the faucet on. The movies that would launch long-term franchises filled the tub. HALLOWEEN. Friday THE 13th. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. And then the tub started spilling over. CHILD'S PLAY. THE HITCHER. THE LOST BOYS. NEAR DARK. FRIGHT NIGHT.

Every company, great and small, started looking for the next EXORCIST, ALIEN, JAWS...the next big thing that would make millions. Enter Vestron Video. Vestron had started out doing some of the first direct-to-video pictures ever made, discovering that the market was HUGE. So big, in fact, that they started a movie division, Vestron Pictures. Their strategy was simple: make good (if not great) genre pics that would put asses in the seats, that they could then distribute through the video arm later on.

One of Vestron Pictures' first releases was a little number called WAXWORK. The plot of the old horror classic MYSTERY IN THE WAX MUSEUM was such a tried and true staple, the studios kept falling back on it again and again, finding fresh ways to retell the story.

WAXWORK took a little different approach from the straight-ahead versions, with a cast and a sensibility for horror that still screams "Me Decade" even today. Check out the victim's list: Zach Galligan (GREMLINS.) Michelle Johnson (BLAME IT ON RIO.) Deborah Foreman (VALLEY GIRL). Dana Ashbrook (TWIN PEAKS). Miles O' Keefe (TARZAN THE APE MAN). Then you throw in vets like David Warner, Patrick McNee, J. Kenneth Campbell, John Rhys-Davies, tap Bob Keen (HELLRAISER) to do make up effects, and you have yourself an Eighties' classic!

Like most films of the period, it starts off with a group of bored, young slacker-types looking for thrills, something...ANYTHING that would be a little more exciting than getting high, getting drunk, getting laid (well, ALMOST more exciting than that), and definitely more of a kick than going to college classes!

They find it, alright - in the form of an invitation to a brand new kind of museum. And this one is not your garden-variety, Madame Tussaud's-wannabe. The wax figurines are so lifelike that the displays seem to draw you in...

Well, okay, they DO draw you in. Here's the kicker: the displays are dedicated to some of the most well-known figures in the history of horror: Dracula. The Wolfman. The Mummy. The Marquis de Sade. Reenactments of their most horrible deeds as they drained blood, hacked and tore off limbs or crushed their helpless victims to death. Seeing the scenes gives patrons the feeling of being in the moment...but if they give in to the compulsion of stepping across the velvet rope around each display, they will find themselves living in that moment...FOR REAL.

And here's the REALLY bad news...if the monsters in each display kill you in the 'waxwork dimension', you become a permanent part of the display...FOREVER. So once that happens, the situation couldn't get worse...could it?

Oh, yeah! The proprietor of the museum has a darker agenda than just dispatching troublesome teens, as our heroes and victims discover with each person who 'disappears' into the museum. And seeing how that plan gets foiled is only part of the giggly, gory fun.

Remember that I mentioned that Bob Keen was the effects guy on this? He got his start as a modeler for movies like STAR WARS, SUPERMAN and ALIEN, cutting his teeth as he worked up to projects like HELLRAISER and THE UNHOLY. But he really served up his calling card with HELLRAISER and with this movie. Gore-wise, this is where the retelling of the Wax Museum story gets more interesting...because thanks to Bob, the visuals go where they never had before.

In a manner that would've made the suits at Universal flinch back in the Thirties, Keen and writer/director Anthony Hickox do away with the "quaint violence" that Famous Monsters used to wreak upon their poor victims. No camera pull-aways here, folks. Where somebody might only threaten to "rip off your head and crap down your neck", these boogeymen take that threat to its most intense extremes. No CGI fakery, either. This was back-in-the-day where almost all the effects were practical, live and in-ya-face...the way we like it!

Okay, so the clothes, the music, the casting and even the acting squarely establish this as what could be considered a "period piece" for horror, I guess. But like his colleagues David Schmoeller, Ted Nicolaou, Stuart Gordon and on occasion Charles Band himself, Hickox knows how to get the action going and keep it that way.

This is one of those gems that might've slipped under your radar, but definitely worth seeking out, hunting down and dragging back home to mount in your DVD library.
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Who Needs Gremlins?
gavin69424 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
In a small suburban town, a group of college students visit a mysterious wax museum, where they encounter several morbid displays, all of which contain stock characters from the horror genre.

"Can't a girl get laid around here without being burned at the stake?" Let me start by saying Anthony Hickox is a brilliant man. This movie was his first time as a writer and director and he did it perfectly. Going on to make a Warlock movie and a Hellraiser film, he has established himself (though still remains under-appreciated).

The film stars the kid from "Gremlins" and his group of friends who encounter the guy from "The Omen", who along with a midget and a Lurch-like butler manage a wax museum full of horrible characters. Dracula, the Marquis de Sade, a werewolf, the mummy, and nine other nasties. Well, the museum offers a portal to each of these horrible worlds -- but if you die in the portal, you die in real life and become part of the museum.

This film is brilliant because of the perfect combination of horror and comedy. You will get spraying blood, mutilated flesh, and a dismembered hand that lives on its own (see "Waxwork II" for more on this and its connection to "Evil Dead II"). You will get a girl sexually aroused by being flogged (sado-masochism goes hand in hand with horror). But yet, it is funny. The midget is cute, one of the kids is just weird and you should hear the way Dracula says "steak tartar" or the scene where the AARP (old people) raid the place.

I could complain about the really odd plot and lack of sense. I mean, there is a part where the origin of the museum is explained. Not only does this make little sense, but there is no reason the man telling the story should know anything about it. Then there is the bit about the sculptures needing relics from their real-life bodies to become alive. Yet, there are sculptures of The Fly, the Invisible Man, and a scene from a zombie film. These things never happened, so how can they have real relics?

But you know what? It is so much fun, you just ignore things like this (especially compared to the complete nonsense plot of the sequel or "House II"...) Recommended? Heck yeah. Great comedy, great horror, great 80s film. Dana Ashbrook appears before the day of "Twin Peaks". Oh, and the professor from "Sliders" is in it, too.

My only concern is that allegedly the film was cut by the MPAA due to gore in the vampire sequence. I would love for that sequence to be put back together (and a director's commentary never hurts). This film would be even better with more blood.
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A Damn Good Episodic Gorefest
reverendtom29 March 2004
There is something about episodic horror movies that I love. Maybe it harkens back to my youth, when I devoured the EC Horror Comics reprints. Something about each individual character having his or her own interesting death always has been a kick ass idea to me. This movie is great. Each character faces his/her own nasty (extremely gory) death scene in different "exhibits" in the wax museum. A darn good time and some seriously great gore FX! Loved it. 8/10
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"Would You Care for a Closer Look"
BaronBl00d10 April 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Six souls must be gotten and given to various monsters in a magical/mystical waxwork museum in order for anarchy and evil to swallow the world. Well, that is the premise of the film, but don't let it deter you from some good solid fun. The plot is at best swiss cheese-like, but the film has style and creativity to make up for its shortcomings. Most importantly the film is loaded with generous doses of humour throughout. David Warner plays the owner of the museum and, like almost all of his performances, is a joy to watch as he slightly hams his way through this film. Some of his lines are the most memorable, particularly as he talks to a jock about his wax creations, staring at a representation of The Phantom of the Opera saying, "They will make a movie out of anything," having just heard that it had been filmed multiple times. The rest of the cast is adequate. Zach Galligan gives his mediocre best in the male lead, but two stunning beauties supply something to visually feast on despite their lack of acting breadth. Michelle Johnson and Deborah Foreman do their level best to entertain. The film is an obvious homage to the horror genre with all kinds of visual allusions to former horror films. Anthony Hickox, the director, creates a fun horror film that I think his father Douglas Hickox, the director of my personal favorite horror film Theater of Blood with Vincent Price, would certainly have been proud of for its ability to mix chills with fun. The film also has a nice cameo by Patrick Macnee, the old avenger himself. Two minor flaws for me are the ending, which is somewhat too forced, and the bloodletting which may be a tad overdone at times. Notwithstanding this criticism, one of my favorite scenes in the film is the one where the man who came to Dracula's dinner table(albeit minus much of his leg)agonizes in pain as he is prodded, poked, chewed, etc.. whilst a fight is going on around him. A fun, fun film.
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Decent teen horror movie.
Noel (Teknofobe70)6 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The teen comedy horror genre isn't exactly popular with the critics. But people watch them because, well, they can be fun. And that's just what this is. Nice, neat fun.

It's especially impressive considering it's from a first-time writer/director, Anthony Hickox, who later went on to make decent werewolf TV movie "Full Eclipse" in 1993. Here he gives his own homage to a wide variety of horror movies. You've got your werewolf movie (the very first waxwork, incidentally), your vampire movie, mummies, zombies and an trashy period piece about the Marquis de Sade ... all of these are in waxwork museum along with brief appearances from aliens, Jack the Ripper and more.

At first I expected it just to be a "Dr Terror's House of Horror" style piece with six different stories involved, but it turns out the film has more than enough original ideas to keep itself going. It all ends with every waxwork piece in the place coming to life for a final battle. Which is nice. The actors playing the teenagers all give fairly decent, entertaining performances and you have notable cameos from the likes of Miles O'Keeffe, John Rhys-Davies (as the werewolf), David Warner and Patrick Macnee (who was in "The Howling"). The script is pretty well structured and very little about the storyline is disappointing.

All in all, this is among the most entertaining movies I've seen in a while, and I'd recommend it if you're after an ninety minutes of light-hearted, slightly twisted enjoyment.
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Silly, but not a total waste of time
Gafke17 April 2004
If you can get through the first half hour of this film, which features bad dialogue and stiff performances, you may just enjoy it.

A small group of spoiled teens (and one nice girl) go into a mysterious wax museum after hours and each succumb to a different, and dangerous, display. John Rhys Davies (long before his now famous "Gimli the Dwarf" days) is here as a tortured, dramatic werewolf. Miles O'Keefe (whom hardcore MST3K fans will have no trouble recognizing) is a hair product dependent Count Dracula, who seduces the rich-bitch of the group into a nasty, bloody, gross-out dinner party. The Nice Girl (Deborah Foreman) is drawn into the S&M world of The Marquis De Sade (as played by the too seldom seen J. Kenneth Campbell) and it is up to the rich boy turned nice guy to save her before she is whipped to death. Once all of the displays are filled, the characters within are unleashed, and it becomes a war within the wax museum as the remaining heroes must now battle the wax monsters and their transformed friends.

All in all, this plays more like a comedy than a horror film, but the violence, when it appears, is so over-the-top that splatter fans won't be too disappointed.

Followed by a pretty good sequel filled with numerous references to classic horror. Worth checking out at least once.
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This is a fun spoof of horror movies!
ozthegreatat423302 March 2007
Not exactly an Academy Award winner here, but this film is just fun. Director Anthony Hickox set out to make a fun horror spoof and he succeeds very well at it. Zach Gallagan once again stars as the almost nerdy unlikely hero. The film pays homage, firmly tongue in cheek, to the classic horror movies of long ago, and David Warner shines as the demented owner/creator of this wax palace of horrors.

Yes the plot is predictable, but who cares? This is a film meant to be fun and it is fun. Patrick MacNee is delightful as always. Johyn Rhys-Davies is sort of wasted in the small role they give him, but is good as ever. Dana Ashbrook could have used a little more screen time but he is at his smart-ass best in this film. All in all just a fun evening. Anyone looking for something more needs to see the original "House of Wax(1953)" with Vincent Price.
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Funny, Gore and Cult
Claudio Carvalho4 March 2014
While walking to the high-school, the teenagers Sarah (Deborah Foreman) and China (Michelle Johnson) are invited by the owner of a wax museum, David Lincoln (David Warner), to a private exhibition at midnight and he tells that they may invite four other friends to come with them. China invites her former boyfriend, the wealth Mark (Zach Galligan), their friend Tony (Dana Ashbrook) and two other schoolmates to come to the museum, but the two last ones give-up.

Mark, China, Sarah and Tony are welcome by a dwarf and they separate in the room during the tour. Soon Tony crosses the security rope of the display and he finds in a cabin trapped with a werewolf. China also crosses the security rope of another display and she finds in a castle with several vampires. Tony and China are killed and become part of the exhibition. Mark and Sarah leave the museum and soon they find that their friends are going missing. Mark goes to the police but Inspector Roberts (Charles McCaughan) does not believe in his words. Mark and Sarah find in the attic of his mansion an old newspaper and they learn a dark secret about David Lincoln. They visit Sir Wilfred (Patrick Macnee), who is a friend of Mark's family, and they learn that David is near to unleash evil on Earth.

"Waxwork" is a funny and gore movie with an absurd story, silly dialogs, but also a cult movie. The Waxwork Museum mysteriously appears in town and soon teenagers, the police inspector and several people disappear in the wax museum, but nobody in the town seems to care. The 80's is a fertile period of horror movies and "Waxwork" is among my favorites. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "A Passagem" ("The Passage")
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This is a classic eighties film.
samanthamahon1 January 2006
This movie has always been one of my favorite eighties movies. I love the eighties feel it has to it and I really like the plot. I recently purchased this movie after finding it in a discount bin. The acting does leave something to be desired. However, I think the story line more than makes up for it. The special effects are cheesy, compared to todays standards. Considering the time period, its still a pretty decent film. It is definitely worth watching. As long as you keep in mind, it was made in the eighties. You might find it interesting if your into low budget, grade B horror films. Also, don't expect it to be like House of Wax. They are two different films entirely.
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My all-time favorite horror movie
Comiccritic8328 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers

Still with me? Good. "Waxwork" is, quite frankly, my favorite horror film ever. It has a clever, original story, memorable monsters and the lovely, talented Deborah Foreman as the leading lady. Really, what else could you possibly need in a film?

The plot starts out simply enough: six college seniors get invited to attend a late-night showing of the exhibits in a new waxworks building. But the characters in each of the displays are much more lifelike than they seem and when you step past the railing into the displays, you're taken into an illusionary world where the characters live, breathe... and kill.

Pretty creepy, huh?

Among the main cast members are Zach Galligan as Mark, Foreman as Sarah, David Warner as the Waxwork's owner Mr. David Lincoln, Dana Ashbrook as Tony, Michelle Johnson as Mark's ex-girlfriend China, Miles O'Keeffe as Count Dracula (or, as he's known as in this film, "The Count"), John Rhys-Davies as a werewolf, J. Kenneth Campbell as the Marquis de Sade and Patrick Macnee as Sir Wilfred, Mark's godfather. While Ashbrook and Macnee give good performances with their roles, it is Foreman and Warner who give the best performances. Galligan, though, gives as good wooden acting as any actor in the modern day "Star Wars" prequel films.

Among the many good moments in the film, we get a few good one-liners in the mostly serious horror flick, good acting, a clever plot, likable characters and a truly frightening, though brief, black-and-white sequence with zombies! The musical score by Roger Bellon is also especially impressive for such a B-budgeted horror movie (particularly the main theme and the Mark and Sarah theme which is heard twice, when Mark is with Sarah outside her apartment and then when Mark takes Sarah's hand in the de Sade exhibit and leaves the display with her).

Of the bad parts, we get some less-than-impressive cardboard sets, a werewolf that looks like a Muppet on steroids, lipstick-looking lashes on Sarah's back when she is whipped in the Marquis display (and the mentioned injuries curiously disappear when she leaves the display) and plot holes big enough to drive cars through. For example, the Marquis display hypnotizes Sarah when she stares at it and steps inside of it, but the others do not get hypnotized by their displays. Also, some gore is unnecessary (do we really need to see a hunter being torn in half by a werewolf?).

Still, despite its flaws, "Waxwork" is a wonderful horror film that scares as much as it entertains. It may not be that scary by today's standards, but it goes well with popcorn and soda. So, dim the lights (if you dare) and enjoy watching this fine, lesser-known horror film.

Would you like a closer look?
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characters in a wax museum come to life; not original, but enjoyable
FieCrier4 June 2005
Pretty fun horror movie! It's not the newest idea in the world: there'd been a German silent horror anthology movie set in a Waxwork. In that, a man is hired to write stories about some of the characters in the wax museum. In each segment, we see the story played out, and the author, the owner and his daughter appear in the segments as well. In the last segment, they're menaced by Springheel Jack.

In this film, a Waxwork appears in what seems to be a residential neighborhood - strange place to try to do business. It is filled with various death scenes involving werewolves, vampires, zombies, mummies, and so on. Some characters we don't see too much of seem to include the Invisible Man, Jack the Ripper. A group of young people are invited to a party at the Waxwork, and some of them step onto the displays, and find themselves transported into a live action scene where their lives are in danger.

I had a good time watching it. Some of the effects in it are good, as in the vampire one, but the werewolf is one of the worst I've seen. I liked it enough I'll definitely check out the sequel.
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Hugely enjoyable 80's horror splatter outing
Woodyanders13 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
A group of college students stumble across a waxworks museum where the displays come murderously to life. Writer/director Anthony Hickox uses the entertainingly simple premise to pay nifty,witty, and affectionate tongue-in-cheek homage to such classic horror creatures as Dracula, the mummy, the werewolf, and even the shambling cemetery zombies from "Night of the Living Dead." Moreover, Hickox certainly doesn't skimp on the gloriously graphic and excessive gore, with a juicy head squishing and the vampire sequence in particular providing the undeniable gruesome highlights. Zach Gilligan makes for a likable hero as nice rich guy Mark, Deborah Foreman is her usual adorable self as sweet virginal innocent Sarah, the foxy Michelle Johnson burns up the screen as the brash China, and Miles O'Keeffe projects a potently brooding sexuality as a suave Dracula. The scene with the Marquis De Sade (splendidly played with lip-smacking wicked relish by J. Kenneth Campbell) whipping Sarah and giving the comely lass her first intense orgasm registers strongly as a genuinely sexy and erotic set piece. Seasoned vets David Warner as the waxwork's sarcastic owner, Patrick Macnee as jolly crippled eccentric Sir Wilfred, and John Rhys-Davies as a tormented werewolf give the picture an extra buzzing energy and a sense of true class. The lively and exciting climax totally smokes as well. Both Gerry Lively's glossy cinematography and Roger Bellon's robust score are up to speed. A seriously fun fright flick.
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Fun Monster Flick
epeteet9 March 2007
WAXWORK is a really fun, well-done, stylish horror flick. It's not very serious for a horror movie but it's not a total horror-comedy either. It's loaded with cool monsters and famous horror villains (Werewolves, Vampires, Mummies, etc. etc. etc.) There was some other rad looking monsters/evil dudes I didn't recognize, but what was with that goofy @$$ African warrior mothaf#%ka? I watched the uncensored version and although it did have some really bloody parts (especially the vampire scene) I gotta admit i expected a bit more as far as gore. Even so it's still a very good monster flick. If it woulda been a little bloodier and gorier it probably would have received a 9 out of 10 and maybe even a solid 10. I'd recommend this one to not only fans of cheesy '80s horror like myself but any horror fans, just don't expect it to be hella serious.
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An Instant Cult Classic!
chao_san2312 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is the perfect addition to any cult collection. It's one of those movies that's so cheesy (no doubt due to the timeframe in which it was created) There were many scenes that were hilariously funny due to the absurdity. When the rich kid was sitting at the table with his mom and he says "When are you gonna let me have coffee?! I NEED THE CAFFEINE!!!" It was soo great...but all absurdities aside, There were many great tributes to famous horror films and legends. I was particularly intrigued by the portrayal of the Marquis De Sade...Most of the performances in the movie were rather bad, but it all adds to the appeal of the movie as a "let's sit around and laugh at this movie" Check it out with some friends, Surely you'll have some good laughs! (9/10)
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Acting and writing almost kill this one
preppy-32 June 2004
This is about an eerie waxwork museum run by a strange man (played by David Warner--so you KNOW he's VERY strange :)). Mark (Zach Galligan), his girlfriend China (Michelle Johnson) and best friends Tony (Dana Ashbrook) and Sarah (Deborah Foreman) go check it out. Tony is drawn into a waxwork and gets killed by the wolf man; China gets drawn into another and is killed by Dracula. Mark and Sarah don't see it happen but realize something is going on. They go to the police for help but the police officer is ALSO pulled into a waxwork and killed by a mummy. Then Sarah gets pulled in to face the Marquis de Sade and Mark is pulled in to face the living dead...

As you can tell this is a VERY strange movie. It's well-directed, beautifully atmospheric with some gorgeous sets and a wonderful music score. There's also a neat, truly scary black & white sequence. And there's TONS of blood and gore. But I didn't really like it. The script is silly (especially in the explanation of what's going on); this is actually a horror comedy--but the comedy is painfully unfunny and the horror too explicit to laugh at; the acting is TERRIBLE (Galligan is the worst offender) and they cast Miles O'Keeffe as Dracula!!!! Even worse his voice is dubbed--and looks it. Basically the violence, gore, special effects, score and settings are great--everything else blows. It's really too bad--this film does have potential but it doesn't have the talent to carry it out.

I saw two versions of this--the R rated and the unrated. The R rated is bloody but the unrated is just unbelievable. There's a LOT more blood and violence (especially in the Dracula sequence). There is a sequence where blood is literally covering the walls! If you really want to see this the unrated is the one to see.
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Can't a girl get laid around here without being burned at the stake?
lastliberal8 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
First time writer/director Anthony Hickox pays homage to the classics of horror in this film where a waxwork museum comes to town, and a mysterious man invites some teens to come to a special showing at midnight. Once the visitors enter, the exhibits come alive -- which doesn't bode well for the libidinous teens.

It starts as a typical teen movie where the patter is boring, but soon changes as they enter the museum and, one-by-one, are drawn into the exhibits.

Is the first exhibit, we are treated to John Rhys-Davies (Gimli in LOTR) as a werewolf. He kinda looked like a gremlin, but he was ferocious enough. Goodbye Tony (Dana Ashbrook).

In the second exhibit, China (Michelle Johnson) falls prey to a vampire (Miles O'Keeffe).

Mark (Zach Galligan) and Sarah (Deborah Foreman) leave in time. She was almost taken by an exhibit featuring the Marquis de Sade (J. Kenneth Campbell). What is it with women and those puffy shirts? Too many Harlequin romances, maybe? They return later when they have figured out what is happening. It seems Mark's grandfather and assistant were involved in some black magic, and the assistant was the man in charge of the waxworks. Sarah succumbs to the Marquis de Sade and Mark is fighting zombies before he figures out the secret that will save them.

A final battle occurs when all 18 of the demons are let loose.

Will the world be saved? Lots of blood and gore in an exciting movie.
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Great fun movie
atinder19 June 2014
heard about this movie but I didn't read the plot before, As was thinking, this Wax people will come to life and kill off teens one by one,

I was really shocked that it's wasn't what I was expecting, which is a good thing, I liked the movie takes some times so you get to know teen before going into the movie.

I really liked some first Wax story about werewolf was good effects in that movie, that part and I didn't like second that much at all and third the police man was funny.

There were some very funny moments in this movie, that made me laugh out loud.

I really liked how the movie flowed never once did it get boring and at a lot of stuff was happening,

Great fun and movie
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All-time great late '80s video funtimes
Glen McCulla29 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
One of my all-time favourite horror flicks, eagerly rented from the late lamented Ken Vision's Videos when i was but ten years old, to revel in the fun, the gore, and - yes, oh yes indeedy! - the scenes where the lovely Deborah Foreman is chained up and whipped into a frenzy of sweaty ecstasy by the Marquis de Sade. Powerful stuff indeed, which had a profound effect on my hormonal adolescent self, producing very powerful sensations in my brain and body.

A great cast for those of us who waded through many an '80s fantastique flick at the time: Zach Galligan of "Gremlins" fame, Dana Ashbrook, soon after to star in "Twin Peaks" and "Sundown: the Vampire in Retreat", the aforesaid vision of loveliness that is Ms. Foreman, also a "Sundown" alumnus as well as the brilliantly cheesecore "Lobster Man from Mars", Michelle Johnson of "Werewolf", and David Warner and John-Rhys Davies, both from... pretty much everything! We are treated to a gourmet feast of horror tropes: werewolf, Count Dracula and his alluring vampy brides, "Night of the Living Dead" zombies, and a standout performance from J. Kenneth Campbell as the Marquis de Sade himself. The old video box called it 'more fun than a barrel of mummies' and i really can't put it better than that myself. Genius.
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Excellent concept, decent execution.
Scott LeBrun31 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
That sums up what happens with writer / director Anthony Hickox's film "Waxwork", which puts its own '80s spin on the classic wax museum horror story.

A delicious David Warner plays an evil waxworks owner with very special displays - they draw people in, the people are taken back in time, get killed, and then become a permanent part of the displays. The displays feature such classic fictional and historic monsters as a werewolf, Count Dracula (Miles O'Keeffe), a mummy, a group of zombies, the Marquis de Sade (J. Kenneth Campbell), Audrey II, etc. Warner is all about destroying the world here, because, as he puts it, "somebody's got to do it". Among the heroic characters who catch on to his scheme are "Gremlins" star Zach Galligan as Mark and '80s sweetie Deborah Foreman as Sarah, who worked again with Hickox on "Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat". Fortunately, Mark has an ally in his fight against evil, his godfather Sir Wilfred, or Wilfie if you prefer, (ever delightful Patrick Macnee), who joins in the final big battle with a tricked out wheelchair.

The movie is good fun, from start to finish; it's spirited entertainment that's nicely realized visually with fine production design (by Gianni Quaranta), costumes (by Leonard Pollack), and cinematography (by Gerry Lively). In true "Night of the Living Dead" tradition, the zombie sequence is in black & white, which only adds to the appeal. A good supporting cast also features Michelle Johnson ("Blame It on Rio"), Dana Ashbrook ('Twin Peaks'), Clare Carey ('Coach'), Charles McCaughan as the exasperated detective, and a too briefly seen John Rhys- Davies ("Raiders of the Lost Ark") as the human incarnation of the werewolf. True enough that Galligan isn't playing the most engaging or likable hero here, but Foreman more than makes up for that with her sunny presence. O'Keeffe is of course stiff as always, but Warner and Campbell are great villains.

Hickox gets things off to a highly amusing start with an unlikely choice of music for the opening pre-credits bit, and keeps things interesting and entertaining. When the final battle takes place, with Sir Wilfred and his associates taking on their formidable opponents, the results are too hard to resist. Makeup effects are by the talented Bob Keen ("Dog Soldiers", "Hellraiser", "Candyman") and his Image Animation company, and are generally pretty good.

By the time this movie is over, it literally brings the house down, and while it could have used a little bit of tightening, it still manages not to overstay its welcome, and has some nice moments along the way.

Director Hickox appears in a small role as the depraved English prince.

Followed by "Waxwork II: Lost in Time" in 1992.

Seven out of 10.
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Funny and Sexy - In a Scary Way
avacado-111 February 2012
I thought the movie was scary, funny AND sexy, especially the Marquis de Sade part. That actor J. Kenneth Campbell is HOT! Portraying an evil person in such an erotic way was very different and VERY exciting (to me anyway) -- and his hair was PERFECT. HOWEVER, why did he have an English accent? Wasn't it an English accent? You know what, who cares! He's hot! ALSO, loved watching him sword fight. I just wish the parts with him in them were longer. I've seen many "House of Wax", etc. movies that are similar but this one was so cool because the people actually went into the wax scenes. And that guy on the table with the half-eaten leg! Yeah, it was actually funny! I also saw the Waxworks II movie and thought it was funny but where was the Marquis?? Definitely LOVED this movie better.
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Cheesy and delightful, but not something everyone will enjoy.
chuubi21 May 2010
I won't waste my breath recapping the movie because all of the other reviews do an excellent job of that already. So, I will just dive right in and say this movie is campy. And I mean campy. The acting is rather horrendous and the story is odd and confusing at times. Still, I am drawn to it. Waxwork is hilarious, has excellent gore, and has situated itself as one of my most favorite horror movies of all time. There is so much that keeps me laughing and interested. I loved every moment of it. Still, it is not a movie for everyone. If you can't stand movies like Evil Dead or Dead Alive, this movie is definitely not for you. It is, without a doubt, a terrible movie, but that is part of the fun. If you are up for it, give it a chance and see if it entertains you as much as it did me.
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Fun fantasy
Lawson13 January 2010
I watched Waxwork may times in high school. It's not scary or particularly funny, but it works well as a fantasy movie. I mean, how cool is that, to step into a wax display of a classic horror tale and be transported into that scenario to take the place of the often-unfortunate protagonist?

The story goes that the owner of the waxwork museum needs 18(?) people to be trapped in the various horror displays so that they can all come to life (or something like that) and thus we get to see a bunch of the displays in action. What we don't get to experience, we later see in the big climactic, orgiastic fight scene. Like I said, all good fun.
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