Waxwork (1988)

The star of Gremlins ends up having to face off against the forces of evil in a wax museum, where all of the exhibits are actually parallel dimensions trying to get human sacrifices so that the eighteen most evil creatures in history can then be revived to walk the earth. For the most part they’re all horror film tropes and characters too, ranging from George Romero-style zombies to a demon baby to the pod people, aliens, mummies, the Phantom of the Opera, etc. Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Invisible Man…oh, and the Marquis de Sade, because the movie needed more sex apparently.

So what’s going on? A bad guy is trying to bring about the end of the world by sacrificing victims to the 18 most evil beings in history, which happen to be popular media horror figures. Sacrificing to them all will release their souls and let loose the end of days. So now the museum curator goes around throwing people into the displays, which are in fact alternate dimensions which kill the poor prisoners. Seems like a legit plan.

Waxwork is a bit disjointed at times and feels occasionally like scenes were cut that bridged between points A and B, but the premise is definitely fulfilled, and it gets ridiculous towards the end. But the main characters are folks you want to root for: super rich but still down to earth, goofy, trying to do the right thing. They may have loads of money, but our hero is still a loser in his own way, so when he finally starts to succeed, it’s a good feeling. And then there is pretty much every major horror movie trope and icon all thrown together at once too, which is awesome in its own way. John Rhys-Davies as a werewolf? Yes, please.

So, what should you expect? How about a brawl between a bunch of movie monsters and a horde of old guys, including a butler and a dude in a chariot wheelchair? A skull crushed by a mummy, some nasty and ridiculous gore, a severed hand that would make Thing T. Thing proud, a professor of history who is WAY too into the Nazis, and perhaps the greatest method to get out of a class I have ever witnessed.

I think I’ve seen five minutes of the sequel, but I’ll likely track it down as a result of how much fun this movie is.

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