Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waxwork - Waxing Nostalgic on Terror

Directed by Anthony Hickox
Written by Anthony Hickox

Starrring Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman & Michelle Johnson

Rated R - Approx 95 Min
Vestron Pictures

- Stop On By And Give Afterlife A Try.
- More Fun Than a Barrel of Mummies

- You Can Step Inside The Hall of Horrors - But Dare You Pay The Price?

Alternate Titles:
Museo de Cera (Wax Museum) - Argentina
A Passagem (The Passage) - Brazil
Illusione infernale (Illusion of Hell) - Italy
Benvenuti al museo delle cere (Welcome to the Wax Museum) - Italy
 Il museo delle cere è arrivato in città (The Wax Museum Has Come To Town) - Italy
La mansión del horror (The Horror Mansion) - Mexico
Figury z wosku  (Figures of Wax)- Poland
Музей восковых фигур (Wax Museum Figures) - Russia

Reise zurück in der Zeit (Travel Back in Time) - West Germany

"I do what I want, WHEN I want.  Dig it or fuck off."

Another fun little flick from the late 80's, Waxwork manages to cram all the classic monsters into it's 95 minute run-time and then some....what's not to love?  You've got Zah Galligan (Billy from Gremlins!) playing  a well to do and snobbish teen.  You've got Deborah Foreman (the Valley Girl herself!) as the love interest, and you've got Patrick Macnee in one hell of a weird role.

It's Billy!   Er....I mean.....Mark.

It all starts innocently enough when Sarah (Foreman) and China (Johnson) are given free passes to a midnight showing of the Waxwork that just set up shop in town.  They invite their friends along and decide to make a night of it.  That of course is when things take a hard left into the Twilight Zone.  When one of the teens drops his lighter inside the wax display of a werewolf, he steps over the velvet rope to retrieve it, at which point he is instantly transported to the world inside the display.  Unfortunately for him, that world is inhabited by a werewolf.  There is a fun little cameo here by John Rhy-Davies.  I would also like to point out that he changes into one of the most ridiculous looking werewolves I've ever seen.  It's so weird and wonky I can't even put my finger on exactly what makes it so fucked-up looking.  Anyway long story short, the teen get's bitten and starts to change into a werewolf himself.  He is then permanently and prominently displayed along side the werewolf as part of the waxwork.

WTF???  What is wrong with this werewolf?  I think it's the ears now that I look at it...

Oh, so THAT'S where the Steak Tartar came from!

China, meanwhile, decides to get a better look at the Dracula display and also crosses the velvet rope into Dracula's realm.  Once again, I have to say that this version of Dracula somehow.  Maybe it's because he's played by Miles O'Keeffe, who you might know better as Ator!  You remember Ator, The Fighting Eagle, don't cha?  Of course you do......sword and sandal storytelling at it's cheesiest!  Somehow though, he just doesn't pull of the Dracula thing.  For a fine example of the awkwardness, look no further than his conversation with China about Steak Tartar.  Friggin' weird.

Monster Dance Party!  Oh, I hope they play Thriller!

Well after China and what's-his-nuts-werewolf-boy go missing, Mark and Sarah leave the Waxwork, thinking that the other two have decided to run off together for some super-fun-happy-naked-time.  When they don't show up for school the next day, Mark brings in the police to investigate the strange Waxwork.  Unfortunately for Inspector Roberts (Inspector??? What is this, The Pink Panther?) he ends up in The Mummy's exhibit.  This is one of the better sequences in the film.  The Mummy is pretty cool looking and this above all other parts of the movie holds the greatest nostalgia for me.  See my Final Thoughts for more on that.

Sarah is held captive (sorta) by the Marquis de Sade inside his display and it's up to Mark to save her.  He ends up going through several displays before he gets to her, which makes for a fun montage and send-up of various horror flicks.  My favorite being the Night of the Living Dead sequence which is even filmed in black and white!

Kinkiness abound at the Marquis de Sade's display!

If you think it's been a roller coaster ride thus far, just wait until you see the unbelievable climax with a bunch of geriatric old warhorses laying siege to the mansion's waxwork and all it's property.  You ain't lived until you've seen Patrick Macnee in a wheel chair all decked out in camo, brandishing a sword and shouting "TALLY HO!"  Trust me, it's awesome.

There is some good gore on display here.  In the basement of Dracula's castle is a man who's leg has been stripped to the bone as he lays on a table.  The Mummy steps on and crushes a praying man's head, the werewolf mauls a man and more!

Not this time, boys.  While there's no nudity there is some eroticism going on over at The Marquis de Sade's display.....kinky!


There's a regular rogues gallery of creatures on display here;  Dracula, The Mummy, a werewolf, Pod People, Zombies, Aliens and more!

It's The Mummy!!!!!

I  first became aware of this film thanks to an old short lived TV show that I used to watch on USA called Shadow Theater.  I believe I've mentioned it here, but I'll give ya the rundown on it again, just in case.  Shadow Theater was a clip show hosted by Robert Englund.  It was the very first episode that aired the clip from Waxwork...and it was (more or less) The Mummy sequence.  I was enthralled and (having recorded the show) watched it over and over.

It wasn't too long after that I caught a heavily edited version of the film on The Sci-Fi Channel back in the days before it was Syfy.  It was double featured with it's sequel Waxwork II: Lost in Time on Moonlight Matinee.  It wouldn't be until the "Video Store Excursions" that I mentioned in the CHUD II review that I came across the VHS tape and finally watched the un-edited film.



  1. Two posts in one day - you're making me feel kinda lax. Ed Wood is also a favorite of mine, easily my favorite Tim Burton movie. The current release (DVD) was recalled just prior to release, but some copies had already shipped to retailers. The recalled DVDs had a documentary about cross dressing called "When Carol Met Larry" that was subsequently removed. Yay, me! I have a copy of that one! I paid way too much for it at the time, too. They're probably giving them away on Ebay now. lol I foolishly thought when it was recalled that it may never get released again.

  2. Yeah, I'm trying to atone for the past couple of months. Unfortunately my stats have suffered quite a bit due to my lack of activity, so I'm trying to get as much content up as I can and bolster the ol' numbers! I think I have the original DVD release of Ed Wood, i will have to check. I should really upgrade to Blu Ray......but I also want to check out the recalled DVD now too! E-bay here I come!