Why the Waxwork movies are amazing...well let me remind you...
So a while back on my Facebook page for getting support in Waxwork and Waxwork II being released on blu-ray, somebody messaged me asking to write a quick review up on both movies. Well I waited for them to give me their info to send the article but they never got back to me. Never wanting to waste something I've written, I decided to just go ahead and publish it here. Now I know how many of you who follow the blog or my Waxwork page know how much these movies mean to me. Well...here's another reminder...because why not!
Would you like a closer look?
Waxwork – The 1980's Cabin In The Woods.
Many people believe that towards the end of the 1980's, horror was beginning to die a slow and painful death. With slashers, yes this was completely true. They had their glory years from the years 1980 to 1985/86 or so. As for horror itself, I believe in the final years of the decade there were a few years where some truly amazing sequels and original titles were released. These few years were the last hurrah for horror itself before the 1990's began and it took years before this genre were given a brand new breath of life along with a whole new found respect. For the end of the 1980's, I believe 1988 was by far one of the strongest years for that decade in horror. One of the most underrated tiles to be released that year was Waxwork.
Waxwork tells the story of a small group of collage age preppy teens who get invited to a very mysterious wax museum in the middle of the night. Curious, the group goes inside and wander around the displays based off some of the most famous movie monsters and killers. It isn't until before the audience learns all is not what it seems. The kids become hypnotized, and slowly walk over the velvet ropes and become transported into the wax displays. Here they become trapped in these mini worlds of horror, slowly getting picked off one by one and then becoming part of the display themselves! It isn't long before Mark (Zach Galligan) begins to suspect something is wrong when some of his friends go missing after the private showing. With help from Sarah ( Deborah Foreman) the pair investigate the museum’s owner and his master plan toe release evil by using his displays onto the world.
Waxwork is a movie that I'm sure many people my age have grown up with. This was one of the many iconic posters we all remember and love seeing in the horror section in those old fashion mom & pop video stores. Everyone instantly links our tiny little butler friend, welcoming us into the open doorway of melting faces of complete horror. With plenty of memorable scenes and moments, Waxwork is an original classic filled with amazing special effects, an up and coming attractive talented cast, a great adventure storyline, and one of the greatest showdowns in horror history.
This movie has it all, blood, guts, romance, whipping, aliens, werewolf’s, vampires, mummies, sword fighting, zombies, and a great score. With likeable characters, and the famous scene where all the wax displays come to life, creating utter and complete chaos very much like Cabin In The Woods, Waxwork is the perfect horror movie since at least in my eyes it's fun for all ages. A truly underrated piece of freshmen genius from director Anthony Hickox, this is a movie that even twenty-five years later holds up even today!
Sarah and you have stumbled into God's Nintendo game...
Waxwork II: Lost In Time – A bizarre thrill ride of a sequel.
The early 90's was a very strange time for horror. After the craziness of the 1980's, horror titles seemed to slowly slow down to a trickle as the new decade progressed. Wanting to end of reign of the villains who had gone to complete sequel Hell, both Freddy and Jason were killed off, and strange new attempts for sparking life into original ideas were made. Most of which failed. Still, a good number of sequels and new films were made and are simply underrated or undiscovered because of the time they were released. Almost four years after the original Waxwork, Anthony Hickcox decided it was time to make a sequel to show more adventure of Mark Loftmore and Sarah Brightman.
Picking up moments after the first film ended, some dramatic and very noticeable changes have been made. First off, Deborah Foreman does not return as Sarah. Instead model turned actress Monika Schnarre fills the virgin shoes, and the character looks a whole lot different. With much longer hair, and a shorter dress, it seems that zero fucks were given in matching up this film to the original. Zach Galligan does return as Mark, but with a hair length difference, and a different colored shirt it seems that movie continuity wasn't on the top of this film's list.
With the character of Sarah framed for her stepfather's murder after a piece of the wax museum escapes and sneaks into her apartment, she's put on trial for murder. Here Mark decides to find evidence to clear her name. The young couple then discover a strange compass that has the ability to have them time travel. Together, they fall into several different worlds which all pay homage to classic horror movies. Finally the two land in Mid-Evil times where they become captured by a crazy warlock who used black magic.
As strange as it sounds I really enjoyed Waxwork II. This movie was made at a very strange time where horror didn't exactly know what to do with itself. Still, as I said before many underrated sequels and original ideas were made. For Anthony Hickox he seemed to be on a roll with sequels. First Waxwork II, then Warlock 2, and finally Hellraiser III: Hell on earth. Waxwork II didn't have the charm the original had, yet still captured the adventure like story, with some truly amazing and memorable scenes. Paying tribute to such films as Frankenstein, Alien, The Haunting, and Dawn Of The Dead, Waxwork II seems to have everything put the kitchen sink in it.
I'll be the first to admit, my first viewing of this movie I didn't exactly like it, or even get it. Finally after a few re-watches, the movie won me over with it's larger than life ideas, and amazing captivating scenes. Zach Galligan steals the show as Mark Loftmore, and truly shines in this movie. With cameos by Bruce Campbell and Drew Barrymore, this movie had a great action packed, romantic feel towards it which was nothing less than epic. Sure people say it's silly, but I feel this is a sequel that truly could have had a third installment due to the open ended final scene. With great characters, and a great continuing story with our lead characters, my heart still bleeds that we didn't get the chance to see Mark and Sarah together one last time.
I feel Waxwork and Waxwork II were great films made by Mr. Hickcox and has a rich storyline that is nothing short of a great time. This is exactly what horror movies should be, fun and bring back great memories of our childhoods. The Waxwork movies do exactly that. Hickcox is a wonderful storyteller and he crafts such an interesting adventure ride with the characters of Mark and Sarah, that even to this day, twenty-five years later I still wish we could have seen them one last time traveling through time and different worlds.
With a strong cult following I feel in this day of age where so many classics from the 70's, 80's and 90's are being re-released on blu-ray in special edition, a double feature of both of Hickcox's films is exactly what fans want. I feel in time with enough fan support, hopefully these films with get the treatment they deserve! So keep the numbers climbing! Keep up the support! And spread the word! Let these classic fun movies become immortalized for all time!
- Stacy Still