Wednesday, October 29, 2014

9 Things I Love About Waxwork

I've reviewed the film on here previously, but Waxwork is one of those movies I just love to talk about.  To recap the plot in short, a bunch of college kids are lured into a wax museum owned by David Warner who wants to destroy the world by bringing eighteen of the most evil beings to life (don't worry, it doesn't make much sense when the characters explain it either).  Much gore and cheesy goodness ensues.

With that in mind, here are nine great things from and about  the film in no particular order.

1. Deborah Foreman

First off is Deborah Foreman who plays Sarah, the female lead.  Foreman is one of those 80's chicks who pop up in a lot of movies from this period and are just fantastic.  She fits right in with Catherine Mary Stewart: pretty, likable and a bit of a badass.  The sort of girl you really want to hang out with.

She does sort of look like The Joker when she smiles though.  But hell, I can work with that!
Her character is also the only one who has a real arc of any sort, though having the virginal cute chick turn out to be sort of kinky isn't exactly what I'd call deep storytelling.  Still, when the finale comes around she kicks ass which we can cover later.

2. Maximum O'Keefe for your money

Yes, just as with the MST3K classic Cave Dwellers, this movie has Miles O'Keefe.  Miles plays Dracula and while he's not a main villain (Kenneth J. Campbell has that honor as the Marquis de Sade) and ends up being killed by a  nameless extra, he does have one of the more memorable set pieces.  Not often you see a fight with vampire brides where they're dispatched by being impaled on champagne bottles.

3. John Rhys Davies for Nair

I'm a sucker for John as well as werewolves so any film where the guy turns into one is fine by me.

 The design of the beast is cool too, taking a cue from The Howling and having it be a frigging huge bipedal wolf.

4. David Warner... Just David Warner

Warner is one of those classic British character actors who is dependably good no matter what the role is.  Here, he's a very entertaining bad guy, delivering deadpan lines without ever really going overboard.  It's a nice bit of acting from the man.

5. Two butlers for the price of... Well, two

This brings us to one of my favorite characters from the film.  For some reason, the bad guy has not one butler but two.  First off is the Lurch-looking dude named Junior.  He's... Well, he's tall.  Sort of dumb, really strong and that's about it.

The real gem, is the other butler, Hans who is... Well, not quite as tall.

Hans is played by 2'9 Hungarian ALF performer Mihaly "Michu" Meszaros.  Michu is quite memorable here, combining a squeaky Bela Lugosi accent with a stern, authoritarian attitude (he pushes Junior around like nobody's business) and while he doesn't get a lot of time on screen, he makes the most of what he does get.  If the film had been made fifteen years earlier, Angelo Rossitto would have probably gotten the role.  And of course, like the former, he gets a really memorable death scene which we get to later.  It's generally the mark of a good character when you wish there was more of him or her in the film, as is the case here.

6. Patrick Macnee: Still Avenging after all these years

Like David Warner, Patrick Macnee is one of those Brits who will make you believe whatever crap hes spouting by sheer force of will.  Good thing too as he gets the bulk of the exposition as to what the hell is going on.  He very rarely misses the mark and here, he's just fine.

7. The VHS you can't resist!

Waxwork has one of those posters that just catches the eye, as does the VHS sleeve.  Michu standing in front of a doorway full of monsters?  Yeah, I can see how this did well on video eventually.

8. Monsters galore and gobs of gore!

The real hook of the film is the sheer number of classic monsters on display.  In addition to the aforementioned werewolf and Dracula sequences, we also get a black and white riff on Night of the Living Dead; a nicely gruesome mummy sequence and a nice variety of ghouls at the end when all hell breaks loose.  The gore is plentiful too, even in the R rated cut.  We get torn up bodies, squashed heads, impalings, you name it.  Good stuff.

9. Deborah Foreman will put a foot up your ass!

While the entire final battle is fun, my favorite aspect of it is how Deborah Foreman's character suddenly turns into a one-woman slaughter machine.   Oh, she's a little hesitant at first but before long, she's kicking ass and quite frankly makes Zach Galligan look like he's slacking off quite badly.  He kicks a little ass but as with Gremlins, his love interest is generally a hell of a lot cooler.  Granted, it might just be that I like Deborah Foreman and Phoebe Cates better.

Come to think of it, that's exactly what it is!

Best of all is what she does with Michu.  Towards the tail end of the fight, she comes across Hans beating the hell out of a hunter, though one would guess the guy's dignity is being hurt more than his face under the circumstances.  Seeing this, and more than slightly miffed, she surprises him and scoops him up by the arms before putting him into the plant seen above which implores "Feed me" before she does the deed.

Now, there are a few things about this that make me chuckle, starting with the plant that starts off being an homage to Invasion of the Body Snatchers and ends up being a reference to Little Shop of Horrors.  Also, for some reason Michu squeaks like a plush toy when he turns and sees Foreman and as he is being picked up and fed to the plant.  Not sure if that was his idea or if Anthony Hickox suggested it but regardless, it's a sound acting choice.

Second, and this is the screenwriter in me coming out, but it's actually quite funny just how pissed off Foreman is when she corners the little booger.  Disproportionally so, in fact.  When I first saw this on TV, I wondered if a scene or two had been cut for time or content since in terms of screen time, the two are in the same scene for maybe a few minutes tops and at no point do they even come close to interacting.  It's not like he even trips her up during the battle at one point or anything. She sees him, he squeaks in terror, he becomes plant food.

Honestly, the film sort of can't top that, really.  I do like the little "Well, that's done" thing Foreman does afterwards, though.

And that's it for Waxwork.  Until next time...

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.