Yesterday, we hit the horror/crime genre with From Dusk ‘til dawn. Today, he hit the horror/comedy/genre with Waxwork. True fans of horror, which I am not, would dare not include Waxwork among horror films, even within the cheesy flicks of the late ’80’s era. I will grant them Waxwork is a Goosebumps script with some minor gore and BDSM (!) thrown in to elevate it beyond kiddie fare, but it is still an enjoyable film to watch.
Right off the bat, the film loses credibility because of its leads. Waxwork’s hero is Mark, played by Zach Galligan after the Gremlins money ran out, and Sarah, played by Deborah Foreman of Valley Girl fame. So that is two early ’80’s icons relegated to a low budget escape from a wax museum with living exhibits.
Poor foreman has the longest fall. she is part of the most memorable sequence in the film which involves a long, barebacked whipping from the Marquis de Sade, for whom she winds up developing a strange attraction. Women suffering degradation in horror films is nothing unusual, but what I dismaying here is that she never earns any revenge or redemption. Sarah is rescued by Mark, but as she came to enjoy the torture, she does not want to leave. He snatches her up, anyway. Definite proof the screenwriter is a guy who knows very few real women.
The plot is pretty straightforward. A wax museum appears over night in a small town. Local kids go inside and discover they can enter the exhibits where they will be transported to another dimension in which the exhibit is real. Unfortunately, the exhibits are all classic horror displays, from Dracula to pods from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The kids have to rescue missing friends and find their way out while dealing with Sarah’s newfound fascination with being tied up and whipped.
What ensues is a predictable romp. It is mostly tame kills as far as horror films go, but there is the occasional impressive bit of gore. The perverts out there will probably dig Sarah’s ordeal. It is cleaned up enough she has no markings from the beating, nor does she react appropriately to the punishment she is supposedly suffering. But the sequence lasts a good ten minutes with other scenes interspersed to ratchet up the tension. For better or worse, it is what you will takee away from the film as a whole.
Waxwork is trite fun. I thought, as a non-horror fan, it was fun, but not anything special. I would not even call it a comedy. There were few laughs. Most of those were at the absurdity of it all. They might as well have made it a time travel movie in which Mark has to rescue Sarah from the Marquis de Sade, all things considered.
Ratings: *** (out of 5)