Waxwork (1988) Review

**I’m skipping the IMDB Top 250 thing today & posting another Horror Comedy review for my Horror Comedy-Themed Week! Woohoo! More fun than boring Top 250 films anyway.** 😉

Waxwork (1988)

Directed by Anthony Hickox

Starring: Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman, Michelle Johnson, David Warner, Dana Ashbrook, Miles O’Keeffe, Patrick Macnee, John Rhys-Davies

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A wax museum owner uses his horror exhibits to unleash evil on the world.

My Opinion:

You know how you have certain movies on your “Watchlist” for years and for some reason you just never saw them? Waxwork was one of those for me. I don’t know why the hell I never saw it. An 80’s horror (comedy-ish) movie starring my beloved Zach Galligan! (Who, by the way, follows me on Twitter. I’m so proud of that fact. Hi Zach!). 😉 Anyway, it took me a very long time but I’m glad I finally saw this one. What a relief after watching a load of shit for the blog this October to finally see one that I actually enjoyed!

Waxwork is quite odd. I liked that! I didn’t really know what to expect but always thought it was more of a straight-up horror. It’s not quite what I’d call a “horror comedy” as it isn’t strong on the comedy but it also doesn’t take itself seriously, which I think works better for a movie like this. As it’s kind of hard to classify, though, it may be why it wasn’t as big of a film as it could have been. It’s also much more violent than I was expecting for the somewhat lighthearted nature! It’s not exactly extreme by today’s standards and the gore is very dated in that 1988 kind of way but this may be another reason why it wasn’t as big of a movie at the time. I’d also say it’s aimed at an older audience with characters such as the Marquis de Sade & scenes of a slightly sexual nature plus the movie’s use of famous older British actors (like, aimed at late teens/early twenties). Waxwork is kind of a weird sort of mishmash of styles. But I liked it! Granted, regulars here will be aware of my age and the fact that I tend to like most movies from the Eighties & am often much more forgiving of their flaws than I am with current films.

Anyway, these two college girls are walking down the street when they suddenly notice this waxwork museum which seems to have appeared out of nowhere. Then the above creepy British guy from The Omen appears, tells them it’s his, and invites them and their friends to come & see his horror-themed wax exhibits that evening.

One of the girls is a bitchy slut and one is a nice virgin because, of course, all girls fall into one of these two categories! The bitchy slut is played by Michelle Johnson, who has very large breasts (you can check out her IMDB page if you want proof) and the nice virgin is played by Deborah Foreman from 80’s horror classic April Fool’s Day, which I keep putting off reviewing each October for some reason. I like that so many people in this movie were in some pretty damn awesome other films (as well as The Omen and April Fool’s Day we have, of course, adorable Zach Galligan from Gremlins, John Rhys-Davies from the Indiana Jones films, Patrick Macnee from The Howling, and some other small actors from other horror films not really worth mentioning). Waxwork isn’t as good as these films but I appreciate the effort they put into the cast for this. Zach Galligan is sort of dating/broken-up-with the bitchy slut so he goes along with the group of friends to the waxwork museum.

What I really liked about Waxwork is that it’s got a great idea even if it’s somewhat poorly (and weirdly) executed. There are all these wax exhibits of famous villains and monsters throughout history (vampires, werewolves, zombies, mummies, the Marquis de Sade dude I mentioned, etc). I don’t think it’s exactly a spoiler to say that these exhibits are somehow alive and that our college students are in for some trouble when they visit this creepy British dude’s wax museum in the middle of the night. What follows are a series of different stories as these college kids are each “sucked into” the different horror displays. The best (and bloodiest) story is probably the bitchy slut’s journey into the vampire display.

The movie really could have used more of these individual stories as they were a lot of fun but there’s too much focus on the overall story of the wax museum and why its owner is seeking out victims for his wax creations. It’s a pretty silly and convoluted set-up just to have a movie showing college kids getting killed by various historical figures but I appreciate the effort as those scenes make the movie worth your time if you’re an 80’s movie-lover and missed out on this one like I did. The ending is pretty crazy and SO over-the-top but, hell, I didn’t mind that. It’s a horror comedy, after all, so you’re not meant to take it seriously. I now really want to see the sequel, Waxwork II: Lost In Time, which looks… not so great. But I’m totally going to watch it anyway. I’ll review it next October if I’m still doing this blogging thing! I’m also going to mainly stick to just watching horror films from the Seventies & Eighties as I always enjoy those the most. I recommend Waxwork as I liked it a lot but I’d only really recommend it to other fans of horror movies from the Eighties. If you’re of a similar age to me, I promise you’ll have fun watching this one.

My Rating: 7.5/10

The Lord Of The Rings (Full Trilogy) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from James of Slate The Silver Screen. Thanks for the review, James! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about The Entire Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, IMDB ranks 9, 13 & 21 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.


Peter Jackson’s critically acclaimed Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy is adapted from J.R.R. Tolkein’s incredible books. These films take you on an epic journey through the detailed and beautiful cinematic universe of Middle Earth and the arduous battle between good and evil., The films are widely regarded as one of the most critically and financially successful franchises of all time, spawning a highly divisive prequel trilogy (The Hobbit) that could never live up to the success of the original.

Wait…this is an exact description of Star Wars…You sure?…alright fine. Anyway!

So without further a do, here is a trailer for the LOTR trilogy:


FUN FACT: The word Frodo is said 116 times in the trilogy. This is a rate of 0.208 Frodo’s per minute.


The LOTR franchise is split into The Fellowship Of The Ring, The Towers and Return Of The King. I will not go into too much plot detail, as this is a review, not a PhD thesis.

Frodo (Elijah Wood), a young, inquisitive hobbit, comes into possession of a mysterious ring following the disappearance of his uncle, Bilbo (Tom Holms). Gandalf (Ian McKellan), an aging, powerful wizard discovers this is ‘’The One Ring’’ of power that belonged to the Dark Lord Sauron. Thus begins a chain reaction which sees Frodo on a quest to destroy the one true ring and save middle Earth…COME ON…THIS IS JUST STAR WARS SET IN THE MIDDLE AGES…THERE IS DEFINITELY SOME COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT GOING ON HERE…FINE…I’LL DROP IT


Frodo, accompanied by Sam, his closest friend and gardener, sets off to meet Gandalf in the village of Bree so that he can get the ring somewhere safe. En route they bump into Merry and Pippin, while they’re stealing crops, who join them on their journey. Incidentally, Merry and Pip are the least qualified saviours in the history of everything…during the course of the trilogy they make blunders of such utter stupidity that I wonder how they made it this far in life. When they reach Bree Gandalf is not there and instead they find Stryder, a mysterious ranger, who helps them evade Sauron’s Black riders. Something they only had to do because Pip blew Frodo’s cover.

The group reach the Elven stronghold of Rivendell where they are reunited with Gandalf. Here a Fellowship is formed to aide Frodo in his quest. The Hobbits, Gandalf, Stryder (now called Aragorn), a bitter man called Boromir. And finally Legolas and Gimli, an elf and dwarf who are constantly bickering.

Plot wise that is about all you need to know. What follows in a 558-minute epic that takes you through highs, lows, battles, betrayal, love, immortality, obsession, mental illness and emotional connection. (By the way there is a 683 minute extended cut, which is also worth a watch).

The first instalment, The Fellowship, serves as an introduction to Middle Earth, its inhabitants, its history, the horrors of the previous war and the malevolence that once again threatens Middle Earth. At its core is the journey of our Hobbits and the bonds of the fellowship. The violence and hardships are personal, the losses are intimate and the battle is for the life of you and your friends. The film never drags and is a great first entry and, although not small by any stretch of the imagination, it is on a smaller scale than its sequels.

The second film, Two Towers, shifts away from Frodo and Sam and more towards the realms of men and Saruman’s fall from grace, the white wizard who Gandalf initially considered a friend. This film is really about redemption; the bonds of the fellowship following their breakdown, the waning strength of men and of those lost to evil. There are a myriad of new characters, however, the standout is Gollum, played by Andy Serkis using motion capture CGI. Gollum was once a hobbit who was corrupted by the ring and is obsessed with it. His ‘’precious’’ fills his every waking thought since he lost it to Bilbo Baggins (see prequel trilogy for clarification). He exhibits serious symptoms of a nearly dozen mental illnesses and disorders that I would not wish on my worst enemy. But grudgingly he develops a fragile relationship with Frodo and agrees to help him find his way into Mordor. Serkis is exceptional in every scene, he is nuanced, he is over the top and he is captivating. It truly is a remarkable performance!

Everything is bigger this time around. The battles, the castles, the enemies, the stakes. Sauron grows more powerful each day, and as such the second film should feel more charged and deadly. It all serves to increase the tension and completely draw you in.

The final instalment, Return Of The King, is the big finish. Everything is stepped up to another level. This time we are not fighting for our home or friends. This could be the end of everything and you can feel it through every second of the final confrontation with Sauron’s army.

You cannot discuss LOTR without discussing the visuals, it is basically a giant tourism piece for New Zealand, where it was filmed. The beautiful landscapes are combined with CGI and set pieces and in doing so become the most important character in the trilogy. The Shire is green and tranquil and captures the innocent, simple life of Hobbits. The grandiose pomposity of the Elves is captured by Rivendell. The realms of men are impressive and foreboding but have been neglected and miss repaired, much like the fading strength of men maligned at the beginning of the series. Then there is Mordor, explored deeply in the final film, a putrid landscape so foul and toxic that it could only breed pure evil. These backdrops are all encompassing, detailed and beautiful and draw you in. You become part of Middle Earth, this is a fight for your home and your people! Without this the series would have not been the success it is!

Furthermore, they provide the huge scale that makes the series so impressive. Even the first film, with its much smaller set pieces and action, takes you on a journey across half a world: the Shire, Bree, Weathertop, Rivendell, mines of Moria, Woods of Lothlorien, the woods of Parth Galen (the final action sequence is here)… This is a complete world of such magnitude and detail that it paved the way for modern cinematic franchises. Before this film no one even attempted something of this scale. The Marvel cinematic universe wouldn’t have been possible without LOTR blazing a trail.

But a series of pretty pictures do not a film make. The film needs heart, you need to care about the characters and believe their relationships. And you are not let down. Elijah Wood and Sean Astin, Frodo and Sam, provide the emotional core of the film as they go through hell and back. Their relationship is heart-warming and it is difficult to watch their burdens way heavy on it. Interestingly they haven’t delivered performances anywhere near this level since. Ian McKellan’s Gandalf is fantastic, his stage background was perfect to produce the gravitas and presence needed. He received the trilogy’s only acting Oscar nomination. Viggo Mortensen delivers a strong turn as Aragorn. And I’ve already mentioned Gollum.

However it is not all sunshine and rainbows; the rest of the cast do a great job but for the most part they are replaceable and not memorable of their own accord. The screenwriting and dialogue is generally great, but there are some scenes that come across as quite cliché. There also seems to be an undercurrent of sexual tension between Sam and Frodo, although I could be reading too much into this. There are lots of longing glances, intimate dialogue and a slow-mo scene towards the end where Frodo’s laughing turns into a deep, sensual stare as Sam enters the room.

Alas, with praise also comes criticism:

  • The female characters are strong, powerful and interesting but underused. Most of the time the women serve to propel their male counterparts forward in the plot. And they do not once interact with each other, although with this being a book adaptation maybe this wasn’t possible within the confines of the story. The exception maybe Eowyn but even she falls for Aragorn who cannot return her love.
  • The entire cast is white. I know this is a fictional place so we don’t have anything to base racial proportions on but that’s sort of my point. Would it have really mattered if some of the characters were played by non-white actors? No. This is less of a problem with the film itself than the industry as a whole but it is still worth mentioning.

The relationship between Legolas and Gimli is interesting as they overcome, generations of tension and animosity between their races to become close friends. This obviously has some current relevancy as we have a long way to go with racial equality. But again they are both white…so see above.

  • Even Nazgul, Sauron’s minions, whose only drive is their primal need to find the ring still fall victim to, ‘’Bad Guy Monologue-ing’’. We’ve all seen it. The good guy is done for all the bad guy has to do now is just get on with it. Instead he wastes just enough time explaining his plans that the good guy can escape. And while the Nazgul do not monologue they do waste time and get distracted. Or, more frustratingly, just aren’t very good at finding things. This happens at least 7 times during the trilogy.
  • Multiple endings! This has been the films biggest criticism. The final film takes about 40 minutes to end including: eagles, two weddings, book writing, narration, a whitewash reunion and a boat trip. There are at least five different places where the film could have feasibly ended without causing any problems.

There is no denying Tolkein’s genius but here are some of my issues!

  • THE FUCKING EAGLES. Whenever Tolkein ran out of ideas on how to solve a problem he just called in the eagles. Gandalf’s trapped. Eagles. Outnumbered in battle. Eagles. Frodo’s trapped. Eagles. The entire prequel Hobbit trilogy. Eagles. Why not just give them the bloody ring and let them fly to Mordor? It’d certainly be much quicker.

  • This one is more of a niggle. Dwarfes and Elves hate each other. SO why, in the name of all that is holy, is the password to get into Moria an Elvish word?
  • This series is black and white. Good vs Evil. The characters are either one or the other. I suppose it makes sense in this story but it does leave some of the characters a bit flat. I suppose everyone has the same enemy so maybe they put all other duplicitous plans on the back burner for now? I mean if you exclude Sauron the biggest dicks in the series are men. But even then that’s only because there are two evil men and the rest are good. The only character with any level of grey is Boromir, but his grey is negated by the fact that his actions are part of a misguided plan to do the right thing for his people by fighting the enemy with his own weapon.

All that being said, this series is not just an exceptional cinematic achievement but is an all-encompassing, engrossing and enjoyable watch. Do yourself a favour, set aside 9 hours and watch it!


PS/ If you want to make a good movie, cast Sean Bean and then kill him. It just works…Patriot Games, Golden Eye, The Field, Game Of Thrones. It’s not worth the risk of letting him live, just ask Jupiter Ascending or The Silent Hill franchise! Although he does still die in some bad movies…trust Michael Bay to ruin a good thing!

PPS/ As a reward for reading all that here are some fun facts.

Number of times Legolas stands and stares at something : 7

Number of moments of intense sexual tension between Frodo and Sam: 9

Number of times you hear the ‘’Shire’’ music: 32 fucking times!