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WAXWORK (October 14th)


YOU'VE GOT RED ON YOU TAKES PART IN THE 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE; WATCHING ONE HORROR MOVIE A DAY THROUGHOUT OCTOBER. SOME OF THEM OLD, SOME OF THEM NEW, SOME OF THEM HAVE JUST BEEN ON OUR SHELVES FOR YEARS GATHERING DUST, STILL IN CELLOPHANE...

Waxwork is a film that I have obviously been aware of for a number of years but I figured that I’d seen The House of Wax so why did I need to see more of the same? I realise that’s pretty reductive and it’s possibly more to do with the fact that mannequins and waxworks freak me out a little bit. Tourist Trap (1979) is another one that’s to blame for that. Anyway, when I stumbled upon Waxwork on Amazon Prime, I thought it was about time I faced my fears head on. For those who aren’t familiar with the completely logical plot of the movie, it’s about a group of high school students who visit a mysterious wax museum late one night. The museum employees are undoubtedly a bit odd but it’s the displays that are the reason that they should really be worried. They’re all pretty morbid and importantly all contain key figures from the horror genre (werewolves, vampires, zombies etc). Worse still, is that when they cross the ‘no entry’ rope to get a closer look at certain scenes, they find themselves in an alternate dimension where the waxworks are real living creatures/people - and are after fresh victims…

Man alive this is crazy. I think the main problem here is that I went into this film not realising that it is was meant to be part comedy, I had stupidly always thought it to be a straight forward horror movie. As a result, for periods of the film, I was laughing at it rather than with it. The stunted dialogue, the idiotic characters, the nonsensical plot logic, the sheer campiness of it all. I’ve since read that it took writer/director Anthony Hickox only four days to write the script, which is in no way surprising. The thing is I just can’t work out how much I like or dislike this movie. At one point I asked myself if it had entered into the ‘so bad it’s good territory’ but in retrospect I think that was the realisation, on some level, that this film wasn’t taking itself seriously. And that intention does change everything - I almost feel like I need to rewatch the movie with a pair of horror-comedy glasses on and maybe I’d get a little more out of it. I mean, it sounds like I am slagging it off but the reality is that I did have some fun watching this. It’s pretty hard not to as it’s just loaded with stuff that you associate with every 80’s movie that you love - the clothes, the music, the editing, the excessive practical effects. None of these characters are particularly likeable though. The main part (Zach Galligan of Gremlins fame) is essentially a rich yuppie and his mates are all affected too. David Warner is as cool as you’d expect as the sinister owner of the museum though. If I was on the fence about Waxwork (which I was for well over an hour) then the last ten or fifteen minutes won me over. Apparently Hickox ran out of money towards the end of the film and could only afford one day of shooting instead of the four that was originally planned. The result is absolute chaos. Possibly the most action packed finale of any horror film. Heads are ripped off, people are shot and blown up, things are set on fire, body parts are chewed and stabbed and everything else in between. The editing is something else too. It almost feels like you are watching a film at twice the normal speed. You know that scene in Anchorman when the news teams are all fighting in the street? Well it’s like that but instead of Brick Tamland killing someone with a trident, it’s an old man in a wheelchair shooting Dr Jekyll with a musket. Insane.

#31days2019

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