Directed By: Anthony Hickox
Starring: Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman, Michelle Johnson, Patrick Macnee, Charles McCaughan, David Warner, Miles O’Keefe, J. Kenneth Campbell, John Rhys-Davies
Waxwork is a fun little story about a bunch of college kids in a small town going to check out a wax museum that has seemingly popped up out of nowhere. Be warned before watching this, there are some outrageous plot twists, coincidences, and just a lot of shit that doesn’t make sense. Roll with it. Have fun.
Sarah, China, Tony and Mark (played by Zach Galligan) go to a special midnight showing at the museum, only to find they are the only guests invited, but decide to stay anyways. Oh, the butler is a “little person” and his cohort is a monster of a man. Seriously, you add up all this shit so far and I would so out of there, but, if people made good decisions in these movies, they would be pretty boring, so into the wax museum we go.
All of the displays are from the horror genre and feature Frankenstein, Mr. Hyde, Dracula, an alien pod, Jack the Ripper and many more. Tony drops a lighter into a display and when he reaches in to grab it, finds himself transported into a forest. It looks like each display is a portal into the actual scene. Tony has the misfortune of meeting John Rys-Davies, who soon turns into a werewolf and bites him, as werewolves tend to do. Two hunters burst into the door, killing the werewolf and Tony, who is already starting to turn. The camera pans out and back into the wax museum where we see that Tony has become part of the display. It’s no surprise to anyone, but this wax museum is not what it seems! China happens to stumble into a Victorian dinner occupied by vampires, which doesn’t end well. Mark manages to gather up Sarah before she enters the Marquis de Sade display and they get the hell out.
We see a couple more “display” scenes, including a pretty decent Mummy one. Here is where the plot gets a little nuts. Mark recognizes the owner of the museum from a newspaper clipping, and after talking to Sir Wilfred, a family friend, discern that Lincoln (the owner) has 18 trinkets belonging to some of the most evil people in history. Lincoln needs a victim for each display to bring about the end of the world, where the dead will rise, and chaos will run rampant. Never really understood that as a goal for the bad guy. Doesn’t sound like much fun. World domination, sure. Mountains of wealth? Why Not? But the Earth in chaos being overrun with the living dead doesn’t appeal to me, unless brought to me by Romero or Fulci.
Anyways, enough souls are gathered and all the displays comes to life just as Sir Wilfred and a small group of armed men show up at the museum. A battle-royal busts out that rivals anything Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan brought us in the past. Pretty much everyone dies, with the exception of Mark and Sarah, who escape the museum as it bursts into flames, taking all the evil displays with it.
It looks like we have a happy ending, except that a severed zombie hand is shown scuttling away from the burning house, setting up the sequel that would soon follow.
Waxwork is fun, mostly because of the different displays. It’s fun to see the different takes on classic genre staples, even though most of them were fairly generic in the first movie (something that changes in the second one). Fans of campy 80’s horror should check it out.