The 1988 Anthony Hicktox (Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth, Warlock: The Armageddon) classic Waxwork, revolves around a small suburban town, where a brand new wax museum has opened up shop. A group of college kids decide to attend a private midnight viewing, offered to them by the museums bizarre owner. After two of them mysteriously disappear, their friends, Mark played by Zach Galligan (Gremlins) and Sarah played by Deborah Foreman (Valley Girl) set out to find out what has happened.
Unlike other wax museums, this one was created for the sole purpose of capturing souls. Each of the exhibits inside represents one of eighteen of the most evil beings to ever exist, featuring an artifact that was owned by each of the sinister individuals. Those unfortunate enough to cross their rope dividers find themselves sucked into the world of whomever the exhibit represents, if they die while inside their soul is captured. Once all eighteen are infused with a soul, it will set into motion the “voodoo end of the world”, where the dead rise and consume all things.
The eighteen beings featured in the museum are; Wolfman, Count Dracula, the Mummy, the Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein’s monster, the Invisible Man, Jack the Ripper, Marquis De Sade, zombies, voodoo priest, Body Snatcher pods, a mutant baby, alien, ax murderer, witch, snake man, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Creating high levels of nostalgia that are sure to please even the most hardcore of genre fan boys.
Waxwork is one of those films that I originally discovered randomly scanning the shelves of a local video rental store. Instantly drawn in by the box art, I brought it home, popped it in my VHS player and fell in love. Featuring many familiar faces from my favorite era of the genre, not to mention the lovely Deborah Foreman, I knew I had just discovered a gem, that would forever stick with me in my horror travels. The werewolf transformation featured in the film, is one of my favorites, and is often the first image that pops into my mind whenever I hear someone mention the term. Waxwork also showcases some great 80s latex and buckets of blood style of gore.
Two different cuts of the film were released on VHS; Artisan released the film cut to an R rating, while Vestron released the film uncut, the differences of the two very minor, mostly consisting of shots being extended for a few more moments. However, for those wanting the full experience you will want to seek out the Vestron release. The Artisan double feature DVD featuring Waxwork and its sequel Waxwork 2: Lost in time (which we will be looking at next) also features the first film uncut with a running time of 97 minutes, where the R cut runs at 95 minutes.
If you are looking for some 80s popcorn fun, I highly recommend popping in Waxwork and falling in love with the era all over again. As mentioned above, next, I will be looking at the films sequel Waxwork 2: Lost in Time, until then keep it weird!