Waxwork (1988) – Review

3 Stars

College students Mark (Zach Gilligan), his girlfriend Sarah (Deborah Foreman) and several of their friends receive an invite to a special showing at a new wax museum in town. The kids decide it might be fun to poke around. The owner (David Warner) and his two incredibly odd assistants, both height challenged in opposite directions, have much darker plans for their guests and one by one the exhibits suck the viewers into their worlds. Once there the kids are horribly murdered and become a part of the wax set piece themselves. Can Mark and Sarah find out the truth behind the museum and stop the evil waiting to escape before it’s too late?

Waxwork would be very close to the film we’d get if Ed Wood had directed The Monster Squad. There’s plenty of goofs in this low budget gore pleaser. As a kid I remember this movie being far scarier, especially the vampire sequence. After having seen it off and on through a few decades though I can’t imagine an adult being frightened at all. Waxwork is full of low budget charm and 80’s flare. The score is heavy with organs and other synth sounding instruments. It’s gory, but at just the right intervals so as to give the audience enough of a breather to forget about the blood. There’s a ton of tongue-in-cheek jokes here about horror movies and it’s clear that writer/director Anthony Hickox is a huge fan and does the genre proud in his directorial debut.

The acting is on par with other 80’s horror flicks, a little over the top at times but horror can be a heavy handed genre. The one thing about this flick I always forget is how adult it is. The incredibly gruesome and bloody vampire sequence and the sexual language in the Marquis de Sade sequence come to mind immediately. Of course the fun and ridiculous ending fight sequence, which essentially pits torch and pitch fork wielding townspeople against the waxwork monsters much like a huge Frankenstein brouhaha, is the icing on the cake.

Waxwork is one of my must for horror fans, and after this one be sure to catch the sequel Waxwork II: Lost in Time.

Director: Anthony Hickox
Stars: Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman, David Warner

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