Waxwork (1988 film): Wikis

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Waxwork

Promotional movie poster for Waxwork
Directed by Anthony Hickox
Produced by Staffan Ahrenberg
Written by Anthony Hickox
Starring Zach Galligan
Deborah Foreman
Michelle Johnson
David Warner
Music by Roger Bellon
Cinematography Gerry Lively
Editing by Christopher Cibelli
Release date(s) June 17, 1988
Running time 95 min. (R-rated)
100 min. (unrated)
Country USA
Language English
Followed by Waxwork II: Lost in Time

Waxwork is a 1988 horror/comedy film starring Zach Galligan and Deborah Foreman.

Contents

Plot synopsis

In a small suburban town a wax museum appears, seemingly overnight. The owner invites two college students, Sarah and China, to attend that night with four more guests of their choice. The two girls pick Mark Loftmore, a rebellious rich student and China's former boyfriend, and three other classmates - Tony, Gemma, and James. That night James and Gemma are spooked and quickly leave, while the other four enter the waxwork, where they are welcomed by a diminutive butler and his giant companion who usher them to the exhibition. Inside they encounter several morbid displays, all of which contain stock characters from the horror genre, including a mad lumberjack axing a passerby to death, Frankenstein's monster, a voodoo houngan, Mr. Hyde, Dracula, a cobra-like circus freak, the Invisible Man, one of the alien pods from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Jack the Ripper, and the Marquis de Sade.

Tony drops his cigarette lighter into a forest display and stumbles across the felt rope, finding himself inside an actual forest, and is bitten by a werewolf. Two hunters appear and shoot the werewolf and Tony, who is already turning into a werewolf himself. As the camera zooms out, it appears that the dead Tony has completed the scene in the display.

Similarly, China is drawn into a waxwork of a mysterious caped figure. She participates in a Victorian dinner, hosted by a soft-spoken count, and is later attacked by the count's son, who reveals himself to be a vampire. China flees down to the basement, where she manages to dispatch the intruding Stephan and four female vampires, but back in the dining room she falls victim to the hypnotic charm of the count, who sinks his teeth into her neck as the camera again retreats to reveal another display.

Sarah is fascinated by a display of the Marquis de Sade, while Mark searches for the missing friends and interrupts Sarah just before she could enter the display. The two decide to leave and are told by the butler that the others have already left. The same night, China's current boyfriend, who is looking for her, sneaks into the Waxwork and ends up as the victim in the Phantom of the Opera exhibit.

The next day, seeing that Tony and China still have not been found, Mark contacts Detective Roberts, who reluctantly agrees to have a look at the waxworks. In the exhibition, Roberts is especially attracted to the scene of an Egyptian tomb and is almost shoved into the scene by the owner. Roberts tells Mark to go home but later returns to the waxwork, where he takes a probe of China's face from the vampire display. He is then drawn into the Egyptian display, where he is attacked by a mummy and dumped into a sarcophagus. His partner, who was waiting outside, also enters and is killed by the giant butler, after which the owner berates him.

Mark tells Sarah that he recognizes the owner of the waxwork and takes her to the attic of his house, where he shows her an old newspaper detailing the murder of his grandfather (which was seen in the prologue); the only suspect was David Lincoln, his chief assistant, whose photograph closely resembles the waxwork owner. The two then consult the wheelchair user Sir Wilfred, a friend of Mark's grandfather, who explains how he and Mark's grandfather, a benevolent adventurer, went around the globe collecting trinkets from "eighteen of the most evil people who ever lived" and that Lincoln stole the artifacts; Lincoln, having sold his soul to the devil, wanted to bring their previous owners to life by creating some wax effigies and feeding them the souls of victims, a concept taken from voodoo. Providing all eighteen with a victim would bring about the "voodoo end of the world, when the dead shall rise, and consume all things".

On the advice of Sir Wilfred, Mark and Sarah enter the waxwork at night to burn the exhibits, especially those still without a victim. As they douse the museum with gasoline, Sarah's attention is again captured by the Marquis de Sade, and, before Mark has the chance to pull her away, she steps into the display while Mark is pushed into a zombie display by the two butlers. Mark is approached by a horde of zombies and is soon overwhelmed, but reasons that none of the displays is real and that if he does not believe the monsters, then they do not exist. This theory proves correct and Mark finds his way out of the display. He dashes past the butlers and also enters into the Marquis de Sade exhibit, where Sarah is being whipped by the Marquis. Mark unchains Sarah, but she refuses to leave. Mark tells the Marquis that he is not real and, unharmed by bullets and strokes of the whip, takes Sarah out of the room and the exhibit, while the Marquis vows revenge.

Back in the real world, Mark and Sarah are apprehended by Lincoln and his two butlers and are dragged into hiding, as James and Gemma, the friends who earlier shied away from the waxwork, step into the display room. The two unknowingly stray into the final two displays and within seconds they appear dead and are waxed inside the Zombie and Marquis display, accomplishing Lincoln's plan and bringing the various displays to life.

Mark and Sarah attempt to flee but are stopped at the door by the mad lumberjack. Suddenly, Sir Wilfred and a huge group of armed men arrive and in the ensuing battle, several waxworks and slayers die, including Lincoln's butlers and Mark and Sarah's former friends, now evil. Lincoln attempts to escape but is pursued by Mark. The Marquis de Sade, bent on revenge, follows Mark and challenges him to a fencing duel. The Marquis eventually gains the upper hand but as he pauses to look up to a balcony, where Lincoln orders him to kill his opponent, he is killed by the lumberjack's axe, wielded by his former whipping-girl Sarah.

The reunited couple is confronted by Lincoln, who points a gun at the duo but before he shoots Sir Wilfred bursts onto the scene and shoots Lincoln, who falls off his balcony and into a tub of boiling wax. Lincoln tries to drag Mark into the tub as well but is quickly stopped and dies in the wax. Sir Wilfred tells Mark and Sarah to save themselves before he is killed by a werewolf. Sarah and Mark manage to escape the burning waxwork with their lives and begin to walk home, not noticing that the hand from the Zombie display is scuttling away from the rubble.

Cast

Several crew members appear in small roles:

  • Anthony Hickox, director, as English prince
  • James Hickox, assistant editor, as werewolf hunter's assistant
  • Gerry Lively, director of photography, as Sir Wilfred's butler

References to other films

Apart from the waxwork exhibits itself, the film contains further references to other films:

  • The town name "Santa Carla" and the use of an identical missing persons poster reference to The Lost Boys.
  • Sarah kills the midget butler by feeding him to a plant that was earlier portrayed as a pod from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Now, the plant calls "Feed me!", just as Audrey II in The Little Shop of Horrors
  • Before bat-shaped Dracula is shot, his shooter quotes Dirty Harry: "Make my day!"

External links

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