Continuing with their incredibly intriguing and nostalgia filled Vestron Video line - Lionsgate brings forth another couple VHS-era favorites with not one but two WAXWORK films. The first has reached veritable classic status in the HORROR community since its 1988 release. It's basically an enjoyable spin on the horror anthology featuring a bunch of 80s youths finding themselves invited to an odd private exhibition at a creepy wax museum that has oddly sprung up out of nowhere in their affluent suburban neighborhood. This ain't your average waxwork though. Instead of offering guests a macabre wax examples of horrific scenes, this particular place (run by David Warner) has a unique gimmick. As each person finds themselves engaged by a particular display, they are compelled to step into it and, in doing so, they become active participants in scenes themselves via a cool-looking 80s portal effect (which reminds me of XANADU for some reason). As you might imagine, things often go poorly for our "heroes" after they find enter into one of these scenarios. Once dead, the people who enter the scenes then become part of them - forever frozen in wax. So the movie, though set in the present of 1988, offers a sampling of werewolves, vampires, mummies, zombies and other horrors via the waxwork. Being that the movie is blood soaked and the main characters (played by Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman, Michelle Johnson & Dana Ashbrook) are all sarcastic, wisecracking college kids, it's easy to see how this appealed to the video store generation for sure. It has cute gals (one of them straight out of VALLEY GIRL), lots of gore and the guy from GREMLINS. What more could a teenager prowling the horror section for an interesting VHS cover be looking for? All in all - a delightfully perverse and more gore-filled 80s update on the classic HOUSE OF WAX idea (with a climax to rival the ending of that movie). Also - props to any movie that can have a man on fire within the first minute of screen time. Bonus points for having John Rhys-Davies as werewolf.
WAXWORK II: LOST IN TIME is an interesting follow-up (made four years after the first) in that it sees director Anthony Hickox and star Zach Galligan return (but notably not Deborah Foreman). On top of that, it is one of those sequels that reprises the closing moments of the previous film and picks up directly where it left off. This movie sees actress Monika Schnarre replace Foreman in the role of Sarah and we are treated to a nice cameo by Buck Flower as her stepdad. Other colorful bit parts are filled with the likes of Bruce Campbell, David Carradine, Marina Sirtis & John Ireland among others.
More of a time travel movie (as the tittle indicates), this one pulls in the Frankenstein story, Jack the Ripper, King Arthur, THE HAUNTING and even ALIEN as plot elements for the various time travel stories. It also goes with a much more comedy slant from flying brains and slapstick to self-aware dialogue and other over the top gags. Not deviating from the first film in other ways, Hickox keeps copious amounts of blood flowing here. Bruce Campbell's role in the black and white ghost story is a highlight. Some very humorous Ash-esque moments there.
-Audio Commentary with director Anthony Hickok & actor Zach Gallian.
-Isolated score & audio commentary with composer Roger Bellon.
-The WAXWORK Chronicles featurette (parts 1-6).
-The Making of WAXWORK featurette.
WAXWORK II: LOST IN TIME
-Audio Commentary with Anthony Hickox and Zach Galligan.
-Isolated score & commentary by composer Steve Schiff.
You can purchase the WAXWORK Double Feature here: