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If you are in the mood for a balls to the wall horror film that takes no prisoners and is out to destroy your very soul with its very bleakness, then this is not the film for you. However, if you are in the mood for an extremely sly, tongue in cheek, exciting, fun scary type of film, here is a treat for you: 1988′s “Waxwork.”

I remember first hearing about this film in the late ’80′s when VH-1 had put together a documentary/retrospective on current horror films and “Waxwork” was heavily featured as a film that paid tribute to all that had come before.

And when I saw it, especially at age twelve, this film had it all. And rewatching it again today, it still does.

Featuring a cast that includes Zach Galligan (“Gremlins”), Michelle Johnson (“Blame it on Rio”), David Warner (“The Omen,” “Time After Time”), Dana Ashbrook (“Twin Peaks”), John Rhys-Davis (“Lord of the Rings,” “Indiana Jones”), Patrick Macnee (“The Avengers”) and my personal favorite, Deborah Foreman (“April Fool’s Day,” “Valley Girl), you know you’re in good hands from the first frame. Each of the actors finds the right tone and sticks to it, because if anyone were to actually step out, it would have winked the wrong way at the intended audience.

What also helps immensely is that writer/director Anthony Hickox’s debut film is both well written and brilliantly directed. One just knows from the opening scene that they are about be told a thrilling and spooky campfire tale guaranteed to give you a good time.

Roger Bellon’s music adds to the magic every step of the way. It effectively gives the scenes the extra oomph to help them feel epic at times, even when the budget may not reflect that.

The film, in my opinion, never falters–even when it appears to go a little over the top in its silliness. You see, we’re already invested in the overall fun nature of the film so it all just seems to fit.

So if you like old school Hammer vampire films, “The House of Wax,” “Night of the Living Dead,” werewolf films, The Marqis de Sade, etc. please seek out “Waxwork” because it truly is a film that needs to be rediscovered.

Just promise to stay away from “Waxwork 2,” no matter how much you want to see it after this. With the exception of a (admittedly very funny) Bruce Campbell cameo, it is absolutely horrid.

The only Anthony Hickox film I can half heartedly recommend after this one is “Hellraiser 3″ and that is not saying much.

What happened to him? “Waxwork” is near brilliant.

Somebody please tell me.

 

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