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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 117: Waxwork

Hunter S. Thompson's brain on a good day

A friend of mine that reads my blog, who is a big horror fan himself, asked me if a movie quote came from Dolls or Waxwork. I had never seen Waxwork, so I wasn't entirely sure at the time. In fact, I had never even heard of Waxwork. I wasn't sure what to expect, especially since I had no idea what a “Waxwork” was. Would the movie be a mixture of House of Wax and Dolls or something completely different? Judging from the poster art, it looks like it could really be scary! Seriously, look at the poster. That is some crazy shit right there. Let's give it a shot and see if I can figure out where that quote came from.

Waxwork is a 1988 horror/comedy starring Zach Galligan (Gremlins, Infested) as rich student Mark Loftmore. Mark is having trouble in school and his ex girlfriend China is going out with the school jock. China and her friend Sarah are invited to a viewing of a Waxwork museum at midnight by the strange David Lincoln (David Warner, Cross of Iron, Tron) and are told to invite their friends. The group splits up to look at the very life-like displays and two of the friends step beyond the velvet rope and are transported into the living scene. One is a scene involving a werewolf that kills the boy that walked into the scene and the other involves China being attacked by Dracula. The wax scenes alter to make the dead bodies look like they are not real. Mark gets a detective to investigate the waxwork, but Lincoln shoves the detective into the scene containing The Mummy who kills him. Mark and Sarah do some research and find out that Mark's grandfather was murdered and the only suspect was a man that looks exactly like Lincoln. They speak with his grandfather's friend Sir Wilfred, and learn that Lincoln sold his soul to the devil, stolen trinkets collected by his grandfather from the 18 most evil beings who ever lived. By feeding each wax scene a soul, it will bring about the being's resurrection, which will destroy the world. Mark and Sarah go to the waxwork to burn it down, but Mark ends up in a zombie scene and Sarah in a Marquis de Sade. Mark escapes the zombie scene because he does not believe it is real. Sarah does not want to leave de Sade, but Mark convinces her that the scene is not real and they escape back to reality. Unfortunately, Lincoln was able to get 2 other souls to be sacrificed and the 18 beings come to life. Will Mark, Sarah, and Sir Wilfred be able to stop them and save the world?

"Did you eat all the raspberry pie?

This movie has an interesting, if not weird concept. I couldn't get over the fact that of the 18 most evil beings, most of them come from horror and literature. They use zombies, Dracula, the Mummy, the Wolfman, and body snatchers for example. If you're going to use fictional characters, why would you include the Marquis de Sade, who actually existed? I guess they wanted to get across some weird, Cinemax After Dark thing with Sarah (which was incredibly uncomfortable and unnecessary), but why use a real person? They clearly got lazy because we see flashes of unknown, generic beings like some sort of mutant baby and an axe murderer. What, there wasn't enough famous monsters to use? I like the idea, but the execution wasn't very good. Waxwork is also classified as a comedy, and while there are a few scenes worth cracking a smile at, it wasn't particularly funny.

It was weird seeing a movie where the protagonists are rich yuppies. Watching this through 2012 eyes, I can't really think of a reason why they made the characters rich snobs. It just seems odd and unnecessary. There are a few good scenes of violence and plenty of nods to classic movies and literature. The acting is decent, with David Warner putting on the best performance. Mihaly Meszaros (Big Top Pee-Wee, Freaked) is enjoyable in his small role as Hans the butler. The directing is good and makes the best of an odd and sometimes convoluted story.


Waxwork is an interesting and fun premise, but unfortunately the execution is poor. The movie doesn't know if it wants to be horror or comedy and achieves neither. The story is a bit confused and jumbled with logic taking a backseat to cramming in different classic horror references. There are some good scenes of violence and decent acting, but not enough to overcome the weak writing. Waxwork is good if you're looking for something from the 80s that you may not have seen before. Otherwise, you can probably skip it. Oh and to answer the question, the quote came from Dolls. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.


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