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Aug 07

Waxwork

waxworkGenre: Horror / Comedy
Year: 1988
Country: USA

Director: Anthony Hickox
Starring: Zach Galligan, Jennifer Bassey, Joe Baker, Deborah Foreman, Michelle Johnson

 

Stop on by and give afterlife a try

 

A new wax museum is opening up in the small peaceful town where Mark and his friends are living. They get a special invite to see the museum before its grand opening and the six friends arrives there at midnight to see what the place is all about.

The museum has different exhibits that are all based on classic horror stories, including one with a werewolf, one with a vampire and more. It doesn’t take long before the young students realise that there is something evil within this wax museum and that their lives are in danger of these wax creatures.

Waxwork is a silly 80’s horror comedy that shows homage to the older legendary horror films such as the classic Universal Monsters movies. It might actually remind you a little of a highly praised newer horror film called Cabin in the Woods, although this is done way more campy and without serious commentary on the genre. It is still interesting in that it is a self-referential horror film, something that hadn’t become quite common before Scream resurrected the genre in the mid 90’s.

While the premise of this strange wax museum is interesting, I don’t think it was able to live up to its full potential. It became way to silly for me and while it is a decent watch, I wish that they had toned down the comedy element of it and would show homage to the older horror films by actually going for some more horror in it.

The character got trapped within the exhibits and that made for several segments where we get some classic horror stories going on. Some of them are too cheesy like the vampire and werewolf ones, while some are surprisingly interesting. The Marquis de Sade one was my favorite, simply for the sensual and hot performance by the lovely Deborah Foreman and there is a fun little zombie one aswell.

The final part is classic late 80’s silliness where they throw everything at you, but it does not work at all for me. It becomes more stupid than silly and I disliked the last fifteen minutes a lot. The characters are also mostly dull. Zach Galligan from Gremlins fame stars as Mark, a spoiled rich slacker that has become frustrated over his love interest who is taking an interest in other boys. I don’t really understand the reason why they went with such a character for the leading part since I can’t see how he would bring out any sympathy or cheer from the audience.

Deborah Foreman is the only one that gives a good performance, and that’s not only because of her steamy semi-softcore effort during the S&M scene, but she had the typical 80’s final girl look. Horror fans should also remember her from the 80’s slasher April Fool’s Day. David Warner is also in this as the owner of the wax museum, but he fails to do anything worthwhile with his character.

Anthony Hickox was both the director and screenwriter for this film. This was his very first project and it would probably have helped the film if he had more experience before starting on this. He gets praise for the interesting concept, but the execution has too many flaws that can’t be ignored. He is still active within the genre, but he hasn’t done anything that horror fans will be familiar with since Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth from 1992 or Warlock. The Armageddon from the year after.

Waxwork is for those who enjoy silly 80’s horror films. It becomes ridiculous at times, but also does have some charm and some good scenes to it. It is a flawed attempt at doing a homage to the older legendary horror films and while it is fast paced and never dull, it is still only an ok movie at best.

 

 ★★½☆☆ 

 

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