Saturday, April 24, 2010
Waxwork (1988, Anthony Hickox)
Waxwork is another one of those 80s horror movies that I must have seen hundreds of times on the video store shelf as a kid. I wasn't much into horror movies as a kid and my mother wouldn't let me watch R rated movies anyway so I never really had much interest in it. Actually it wasn't until I recently read an article about the film in an old issue of Fangoria that made me really want to watch the film, detailing many of the gory FX in the film and the modern spin it put on many of the classic Universal Monsters.
Mark (Zach "Gremlins" Galligan) is a wealthy college student who doesn't care about school and makes his maid do his school work. He had a rocky relationship with China (Michelle Johnson), a promiscuous girl who complains that she didn't get enough action from Mark. China and her friend Sarah (Deborah "Valley Girl" Foreman) get an invite from a mysterious man to visit his wax museum. They drag Mark and their friend Tony (Dana Ashbrook) along and while inside, China and Tony get sucked into a parallel world created by the wax scenes, which each involve different characters from horror stories. Mark and Sarah must find out where their friends went and unravel the secret to the wax museum.
Waxwork definitely excels in the one department that I was hoping for: FX. Blood sprays, people are ripped in half vertically (something we don't see enough in horror films) and several of our favorite monsters all appear. The cast was great, including Galligan, the lovely Foreman (also from April Fool's Day) and David Warner (The Omen, Straw Dogs). The "relationship" that Foreman's character develops between her and Mark as well as another famous historical figure was a nice touch too. I thought the story could have used some polishing, there was too much "going in, coming out and going back in" the museum, but the scenes in the museum were mostly really entertaining, but a few dragged on a little long. Lastly, there was also an interesting approach to the film, making parts of it feel like an old black and white noir instead of just your standard copycat 80s horror film.