Waxwork is one of those movies that I remembered watching on Monster Vision hosted by Joe Bob Briggs on TNT. It was heavily edited and pared down A LOT for television but I absolutely loved it. Where else can you get vampires, werewolves, voodoo priests, mummies, demonic babies, and so much more all in one place?
The movie revolves around a waxwork museum that has popped up out of nowhere in a suburban part of town. A group of college students decide to investigate when the mysterious proprietor invites them to come to a private midnight viewing. Each exhibit contains evil beings (eighteen in total) and if the velvet rope barrier is crossed you are teleported into the world of that monster. If you die in that world you become part of the exhibit, which is exactly what the owner wants. If souls are fed to all eighteen of these monsters they will rise up and the dead will take over the world (or some such voodoo nonsense).
The film was distributed by Vestron, and for those of you who don’t know already, they developed all kinds of 80’s B-films. Waxwork is no exception and features terrible dialogue, questionable special effects, tons of blood splatter, and music sometimes so loud you can’t hear what the characters are saying. It’s not Troma level, but it’s close. It certainly falls under the “it’s so bad it’s good” category because it succeeds at being very self aware. It does a great job of poking fun at multiple horror stereotypes and also works as a pretty good horror anthology film, with each horror exhibit working as a film within the film.
The copy I viewed was the “unrated” VHS edition, though it has long been speculated that there is a further unrated cut out there. With Vestron re-releasing Waxwork and Waxwork II on Blu-Ray I’m hoping for a complete package with lots of extras for the fans. Home video was where Waxwork found its biggest success so I’m glad that there’s still a lot of interest in these “classics”.