Thursday, June 19, 2014

Throwback Thursday Review: WAXWORK (1988)

RUN TIME- 95 Mins
WRITER(S)- Anthony Hickox
STARRING- Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman, and Jennifer Bassey
DIRECTOR(S)- Anthony Hickox 

Synopsis taken from IMDb
A wax museum owner uses his horror exhibits to unleash evil on the world. 

Unlike most of the other films reviewed for Throwback Thursday, Waxwork isn't one that I grew up with. I was about one year old when it was made, and somehow it passed by me growing up. I remember seeing it at a young age and actually not liking it. But, since then my opinions have matured, and I have better taste now. I wish I could have enjoyed this one in its prime at the right time, but it still looks good from my couch on my 54" plasma screen.

So no, I actually don't have a ton of knowledge on this film. Honestly, I don't know if I care to educate myself on it, either. Reason being, it's just a fun movie, and it's pretty cut-and-dry. There's no complexity to it, it's not hard to understand, and the FX are fantastic for its time. But, that's it for me, and I think that I'm okay with it just remaining a fun flick. No need to look further into it in my book. I recently bought it on a 4-pack of movies from Walmart, and that inspired this review.

When university students, Mark (Zach Galligan), China (Michelle Johnson), Sarah (Deborah Foreman), Gemma (Clare Carey), James (Eric Brown), and Tony (Dana Ashbrook) all visit a strange wax museum that's recently moved into the neighborhood, it changes their lives forever, and they're given a major history lesson. Some of the displays in the exhibition are pretty macabre, and when the students go near them, it places them into different worlds that puts them in the real scene of goings-on that the wax display depicted.

Nothing out of place at all about this wax museum. Nope. 

Tony, ends up at a cabin, and gets attacked by a werewolf (John Rhys-Davies) and after being turned, gets shot by a hunter, who's son was torn in two by the lycanthrope. China, ends up at a dark, gothic castle that's inhabited by a classy group of snobby vampires. And, Count Dracula (Miles O' Keeffe) turns her into a vampire. Mark and Sarah, never cross the barrier rope around the wax set-ups, so they're the only two who actually leave the castle without their friends, unharmed. But later, Jonathan (Micah Grant) goes to the museum and ends up going into the Phantom of the Opera frame-up after influence by the Waxwork Man (David Warner).

However, Mark is no fool. He knows there's something up with the wax scenes, and goes and gets some police to investigate the building. But to no avail. After inspection, the cops deem nothing wrong with the wax museum. Later, the police inspector Roberts (Charles McCaughan) comes to realize that some of the figures in the wax set-ups are familiar to some missing persons in the area. But, after trying to sneak around investigating, Roberts ends up stuck in the mummy museum. This leads to Roberts' partner being murdered by the butler, Junior (Jack David Walker).

Mark shows Sarah an old newspaper article about his grandfather's murder. The catch is, the only person suspected of killing him looks identical to the Waxwork Man. Now, they know something funky is going on, and they go seek the help of Sir Wilfred (Patrick Macnee), an old knowledgeable man who is wheelchair-bound. Sir Wilfred is an old friend of Mark's grandfather, and explains their past adventures, including how they've collected trinkets from "eighteen of the most evil people who ever lived", and  how the Waxwork Man stole them to bring his displays to life by feeding them souls. The Waxwork Man sold his soul to the devil, and is using a Haitian Vodou concept to bring his creations to life. If all 18 of the wax showcases are fed a soul, it will bring about "voodoo end of the world, when the dead shall rise, and consume all things".

Look into my EYES, not the missing chunk of skin on my cheek.

Later, Mark and Sarah arrive at the wax museum with a purpose to burn it down. Only things don't go as planned, and Sarah is taken by Marquis de Sade (J. Kenneth Campbell), and Mark is forced into a crowd of hungry zombies. But, rather than cave in fear, Mark realizes that if he doesn't believe in them, they don't exist. This allows him to rescue Sarah from Marquis. But before they get a chance to escape, Gemma and Jonathan return to the museum and are lured into the Marquis and zombie displays. Now, all 18 of the evil showcases return to life with intentions to end our world as we know it.

Only thing is, Sir Wilfred shows up in his wheelchair with a hoard of hunters and brings the war to the evil people rather than vice versa. There's casualties on both sides, and Sarah defeats Marquis via axe after Mark and Marquis have a duel. Then, the Waxwork Man is shot and killed by Sir Wilfred, only to then be attacked by a werewolf himself. Mark and Sarah leave before the building crumbles in a heap of fire. And they don't notice the hand from the zombie display that has survived and is crawling through the grass.

When it comes down to it, Waxwork is kind of silly, as most films from the late-80's era are. But it's genuine and fun, and very entertaining. This movie is viewed best when you have a group of friends over, and pizza being delivered. You'll get no complaints from me about this motion picture, because I take it as it is. You can't take it seriously or you just won't get it.

BEST SCENE: I've gotta go with the werewolf scene. This thing is damn cool looking, and is made by practical effects.

BEST QUOTE: Dracula's "Raw meat. Do you like raw meat?" line is probably my favorite. It's gross, cheesy and fun.


1 comment:

  1. David Warner (a great Villain voice in Many cartoons) and "Mechu" Give creepy performances.... and the "Vampire" part was rather gruesome....
    Over-All an enjoyable film....


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