Yesterday, we took a look at director Anthony Hickox’s 1988 cult classic VHS hit WAXWORK, and hypothetically discussed the best way to remake it, if the stars had aligned and the timing was right during the golden era of New Line Cinema’s “House Of Horrors.” It’s unlikely that it’d ever happen, but it did put my brain back on the original movie.
Very few horror titles manage to combine all the elements that WAXWORK did with such success. You’ve got several of the silver screen’s most prominent and scary monsters all featured in it; a great cast consisting of Zach Galligan (GREMLINS), Michelle Johnson (DEATH BECOMES HER), Deborah Foreman (APRIL FOOL’S DAY), Dana Ashbrook (TWIN PEAKS) and David Warner (THE OMEN); Some wild, imaginative gory set pieces; AND it’s actually really hilarious and fun!
If you haven’t seen it, the basic premise follows a group of high school friends that attend a private midnight viewing of the new wax museum that suddenly appears in town, ahead of it’s official opening to the public. There are several amazingly lifelike depictions of some of the world’s most notorious monsters within it. But if you get pushed past the rope barrier, you will be teleported into the world of that monster, and worse, if you die there, you die in real life and forever become a part of the wax display. The owner (David Warner) needs to fill each of his displays with “souls,” and once he succeeds, all the monsters will come alive to wreck havoc in our world.
It’s a super cool movie, and it’s a great way to give us a “greatest hits” of monster mythology. For those of you that have seen it, I wanted this week’s character showdown to be a poll deciding which of the set pieces you thought was the strongest. Let’s have a look!
For the first one, Dana Ashbrook’s Tony stumbles into the set of a werewolf movie, where a paranoid man in a secluded cabin is mere moments away from transforming. Tony thinks that his friend China (Michelle Johnson) slipped acid in his drink, again. But once the beast appears, he realizes it’s all for real. He’s bitten by the werewolf and then a hunter armed with a silver bullet arrives, but he’s too late. If anything, the werewolf in this segment looks bad-ass!
For poor China, she finds herself in a Dracula sequence. The young, debonair version of Dracula invites her to dinner where her and his guests feast on a raw, bloody meat meal. It turns out it’s actually flesh from her fiance’s leg! He’s still chained down in the basement when a flock of the Count’s vampires attack her and she fends one off by crossing two silver knives and turning them into a crucifix.
Mark (Galligan) at one point does go to the police when Tony and China go missing, but after a quick visit to the wax museum, the Detective isn’t buying any of it. That is, until he’s looking over the files of several missing persons cases and starts having flashes of those same faces in the displays at the wax museum. He heads back to investigate and is pushed into the scenario of The Mummy! This version of the Mummy is big, mean and kind of gross. But bad-ass. He literally crushes a guys head just by stepping on it and impales the other guy after he stabs him with a spear. Epic.
Last but not least is the Marquis de Sade, a sadist known for the cruel torture and murder of women. For whatever reason, Sarah (Deborah Foreman) has a sudden infatuation with him and once in his world, she has a difficult time separating reality from fiction. (Repressed much?) Mark manages to make his way into this world and save Sarah before the climatic battle in which the world of the living is forced to fend off all the monsters of the wax museum.
There are so many fun, amazing displays hinted at all while walking through the museum, including a version of Frankenstein’s monster, the Invisible Man, the Phantom Of The Opera and even the giant plant from LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS! But alas, we didn’t get to see those worlds. We saw the four above!
So for all you WAXWORK fans, let us know! Which was YOUR favorite monster set piece from the movie?