Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Waxwork (1988, USA / UK / Germany)

Directed by: Anthony Hickox
Produced by: Staffan Ahrenberg
Written by: Anthony Hickox
Starring: Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman, Michelle Johnson, David Warner, Dana Ashbrook, Miles O'Keeffe, Patrick Macnee, John Rhys-Davies
Music by: Roger Bellon
Cinematography: Gerry Lively
Editing by: Christopher Cibelli
Distributed by: Vestron Pictures
Release dates: June 17, 1988
Running time: 95 min. (R-rated), 100 min. (unrated)
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $1.5 million
Box office: $808,114
Plot: A waxwork museum comes to town, and a mysterious man invites some teens to come to a special showing at midnight. Once inside, while viewing different exhibits, the scenes come alive and the viewer is sucked into the story.

Info: Waxwork is a 1988 American horror comedy film starring Zach Galligan and Deborah Foreman. Often cited as the first self-referential horror well before Scream and such, the film was given a limited release in the United States by Vestron Pictures in June 1988. It grossed $808,114 at the box office. It was released by Vestron Video the same year on VHS in both R-rated and Unrated editions and went on to sell over 150,000 units (an estimated gross of $2 million). The film's budget was $1.5 million.

Film Facts: The 18 wax horror exhibits in the movie are: The Marquis De Sade - The Werewolf, The Mummy, Dracula - Count Dracula, Phantom of the Opera - The Witch, It's Alive - Demonic Baby, Invasion of the Body Snatchers - The Pod, Frankenstein - Frankenstein's Monster, Little Shop of Horrors - Venus Fly Trap, The Invisible Man, Jack the Ripper - Mr. Hyde and Romero-style zombies.

There were three characters that were supposed to be displays in the Waxwork, but left out of the film for legal reasons: Jason Vorhees from Friday the 13th (1980), five children from Village of the Damned (1960), and The Thing.



Waxwork original 1988 trailer.

Kane Hodder, who did stunt work for the movie, also had an uncredited role in the film as Frankenstein's monster.

Writer/director Anthony Hickox wrote the screenplay in only 3 days.

Effects artist Bob Keen spent 18 hours a day for 8 weeks working on the monsters in the film.

After the policeman visits the Waxwork with Mark, he realizes that many of the statues of the victims resemble missing people from posters he had seen. These posters are actually just copies of one of the posters from the opening credits of The Lost Boys (1987). All of the missing person posters have a single photo of a missing adult, but the posters all have the same information of two missing children on the poster: William G. Bailey 7-26-62 Sandy blond hair brown eyes Missing since August 6, 1979 (or 1973) Call the Santa Carla Police Department Susan Wilbur 5-30-69 Black Hair Blue Eyes Missing since February 6, 1983.


Waxwork promotional photo; The Mummy scene.

In the original shooting script, the caged "cobra-man" circus freak was supposed to be a were-beast and the Man in the Iron Mask was supposed to be one of the exhibits.

During the scene in the basement of the vampire's mansion, crew on the sets said that it was "The bloodiest thing ever put to the screen". Much of the gore in the scene was cut by the MPAA.

End Credits: Dedicated to Hammer, Argento, Romero, Dante, Landis, Spielberg, Wells, Carpenter, Mom and Dad, and many more ...

Christopher Bradley, who played Stephan, said in an interview that the bridge attached to hold the fake fangs in place to the roof of his mouth broke during production. Bradley had to stuff chewing gum inside of the hollow fangs in order to get them to stick to his teeth.

Patrick Tantalo said that the Zombie sequence was filmed in one night in Griffith Park. Because they only had one night to film the sequence, the scene where a severed Zombie hand grabs Zach Galligan (Mark) on the wrist was filmed in reverse.


Waxwork art by horror artist Jim Warren.

In the shooting script, there was supposed to be scene where Mark and Sarah visit James and Gemma after they had decided not to attend the Waxwork tour. The couple are watching Dawn of the Dead (1978) together in James's basement and Gemma unsuccessfully tries to get her boyfriend's attention since it's just the two of them. James isn't in the mood, as he's too caught up into the film, and Gemma sulks by getting a cigarette. Gemma hears a scraping noise on the window. and she switches the TV off to get James's attention. James originally dismisses Gemma's claim as nothing, until he hears the same noise, louder than before. James goes to the window and finds nothing, but is startled when Mark grabs his throat and leaps up screaming like a zombie. James falls to the floor, Mark and Sarah peer up from the window laughing, and James tells them to get lost. James leaves to go to bed, with Gemma shrugging and following after James. It remains unknown if the sequence was ever filmed or simply scripted.

Michael Gough, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Donald Pleasence were all possibles for the cameo role of Sir Wilfrid.


Released by Artisan / Lions Gate. Waxwork / Waxwork II: Lost in Time Double Feature DVD. You get both great movies at one low price. A must for horror fans!

Amazon: Waxwork / Waxwork II: Lost in Time (Double Feature) - $5.75 (DVD)

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