What a great movie and a perfect choice for the horror movie a day challenge! We’ve got Zack Galligan (Gremlins) teaming up with Patrick Macnee (TV’s The Avengers and The Howling) to fight David Warner’s (The Omen and Tron) evil waxwork creations in this awesome piece of 80’s cheese. A couple of college girls are on their way to class when David Warner invites them to bring four friends to see a midnight tour of his creations. They, of course, take him up on it and two end up getting killed. You see, when you step across the rope and into the attraction, you actually end up being a character in that world (i.e. a horny girl getting sucked to death by Dracula).
Mark (Zach Galligan) and Sarah (Deborah Foreman (Valley Girl, April Fool’s Day) are the only two of their group smart enough to realize something is wrong when two of them don’t return from the tour. Mark goes to the police and is given a typical over acting hard nose 80’s cop to deal with who insults him and doesn’t believe him but goes out anyways because that’s what 80’s hard nose cops do. David Warner tells the cop if the damned fool kids were in there, it’s because they were snooping around after hours. So the cop disbelieves Mark automatically and goes home after checking out the wax figures. However, the cop goes back and looks at pictures of the recently disappeared townsfolk and realizes he recognizes more than a few from the waxwork. He goes back in only to find himself stepping across the ropes into the mummy museum and is entombed alive.
Meanwhile, Mark realizes all the sudden the guy running the place could be responsible for his grandfather’s death and thus decides to consult his grandfathers old friend Sir Wilfred (Patrick Macnee) who tells him the story of the evil waxwork owner and how he is planning to give his creations live sacrifices in order to take over the world! It’s then a race against time as our heroes try to stop the creations before they escape. Before it’s over, Sarah will go into the Marquis DeSade display and becomes possessed by it, which brings out her inner whore, leaving her to be brought to orgrasm by being whipped.
This movie isn’t really exploitative at all.
All in all it’s a cool movie and we get some good gore and creature FX courtesy of Bob Keen, who did Alien and Hellrasier. There is a pretty gnarly werewolf too that is played by John Rhys-Davies who would later go on to play in Lord of the Rings as the dwarf Gimili and voiced Macbeth in the cult hit Disney cartoon Gargoyles.
Director Anthony Hickcox directed a couple other cult horror movies of the 90’s: the sequel this film, Waxwork II: Lost in Time, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth and my favorite Warlock: The Armageddon. He also did the werewolf cop movie Full Eclipse and Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat, neither of which I saw during my childhood but I have since caught up with the latter film and it’s alright. He has gone on to do more gun-for-hire action movie projects instead of horror flicks which is a shame because I really enjoyed his works.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve seen it at some point but as for myself it’d been a long time. I think the last time I watched it I was a teenager introducing my nephew into these types of awesome movies. Before that, I would crack my best friend up by showing him the doorman midget who says “Welcome to de waxwokkkkkk!”. Man those were some good times. The film doesn’t entirely hold up to today’s standards but it is still a lot of fun. And while it’s not a good idea to dwell on the past it is always fun to revisit every once in a while and for that I will always hold a special place for this movie in my heart.
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