Sunday, October 20, 2013


Every horrorhound's favorite month is upon us, and to celebrate, I'll be dishing out a personal pick from the genre for every day in October. Some will be obvious and rather unoriginal (sorry that I like movies other people like), while some will be a little more oddball and off-the-wall. Some may even challenge your idea of what constitutes a "horror" movie. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the month with some good movies, even if they aren't ones I recommend!

Today's Pick: Waxwork (1988)

Each decade of American cinema has a fairly overarching tone that can be ascribed to it, and if I had to boil the 1980's down to one, it would be "kooky." There's a bubbly goofiness that infects most of the films from that era, and none may be kookier than Waxwork, a melting pot of monster mayhem that feels like it's trying to inject madcap silliness into every aspect of itself.

Mark (Zach Galligan from Gremlins) and his friends are invited to a midnight showing of a newly opened wax museum, operated by the mysterious Mr. Lincoln (David Warner). However, it seems that these displays are a little too authentic, and if you get too close to them, they transport you to a world where the display is really happening. It turns out that Lincoln needs to trap a certain number of victims in his displays in order to bring them to life in the real world, and then they can take over the world.

The premise offers a fun hodgepodge of horror movie scenarios: werewolves, mummies, vampires, zombies and even the Marquis de Sade get their own sequences in the film. We also get a healthy helping of gore effects, as is expected of most 80's effects outings. Of course, some sequences fare better than others (the Marquis de Sade bit is a little lengthy and uneventful, compared to the others), but they all work well enough. The real joy of the movie comes from its almost otherworldly script and acting.

Lines are delivered in the most ridiculous way possible, the story is about wax figures coming to life and taking over the world in the name of Satan(!), and the climax of the film might be one of the most amazing pieces of consistent insanity put on film. When all of the figures come to life, it's a barrage of bizarre events. The movie is wacky enough up to that point, but the ending is really the cherry on top of the batshit sundae. It has to be seen to be believed.

Waxwork is no classic, but it feels like a film from an alternate universe, which at this point, I guess the 1980's would classify as. It's so aware of its own absurdity and ups the volume on it to eleven. This is one to enjoy after you've got a good buzz going from a few beers, and want to keep on drinking. By the time you get to the film's ending, you'll be roaring with laughter and questioning everything you're seeing on-screen. A good time is guaranteed.

Tomorrow, it's time to look at one of the best (and maybe even last) modern monster movies to come out of America. Here's a hint: It's definitely not Van Helsing. *shudder*

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