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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Waxwork & Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1988/1991)

"What the hell did you kill him for? We still need two more. He would have been perfect."
- Waxwork Man (David Warner)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: November 04, 2003

Stars: Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman, Patrick Macnee, Monika Schnarre, Alexander Godunov
Other Stars: Michelle Johnson, Dana Ashbrook, Miles O'Keeffe, Charles M. Caughan, J. Kenneth Campbell, John Rhys Davies, David Warner, Martin Kemp, Bruce Campbell, Michael Des Barres, Sophie Ward, Marina Sirtis, Billy Kane, Juliet Mills, John Ireland, David Carradine
Director: Anthony Hickox

MPAA Rating: R for Comic Horror Violence and For Language
Run Time: 03h:21m:22s
Release Date: September 23, 2003
UPC: 012236146629
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- BD+C- D-

DVD Review

The Scream movies seem to get all the credit for self-referential and self-aware horror comedies these days, but it's worth noting that they were anticipated by several years by the pair of Waxwork pictures written and directed by Anthony Hickox. The pair surface on a single, double-feature disc that has some positive aspects but some serious drawbacks as well.

The first installment starts off as a typical teen horror film, with a group of students (apparently college) learn of a mysterious new waxwork run by David Warner. A group of six of them are invited to an exclusive midnight showing of the chamber of horrors. But as they learn to their chagrin, they are being one by one pulled mystically into the exhibits to suffer at the hands of various famous monsters over the years.

Zach Galligan stars in both entries as Mark Loftmore. He's a pretty bland and uninteresting lead, though his pairing with Deborah Foreman as Sarah Brightman (not the singer) has some moments of interest, not least of which is her prim attitude masking a fascination with S&M. That trait is unleashed courtesy of the Marquis de Sade himself (Charles McCaughan), in a nasty little whipping sequence. Also slumming here are such notables as Patrick Macnee and John Rhys Davies, the latter of whom makes an exceedingly unconvincing werewolf. The makeup and effects work here is pretty poor overall, and the story is fairly lacking in sense. Most of the vignettes have a haphazard feel to them, though the one featuring the scrumptious Michelle Johnson facing off against Count Dracula (Miles O'Keeffe) is pretty entertaining in an over-the-top manner.

"Sometimes I think you actually enjoy all this scary stuff." -Sarah Brightman (Monika Schnarre)

The sequel picks up immediately after the end of the first picture, making the double feature presentation particularly welcome. This segment finds Sarah (now played by Monika Schnarre) facing trial for the murder of her stepfather, who was actually killed by a severed hand that escaped the waxworks at the end of the preceding picture. Using a time-door device thoughtfully provided by Sir Wilfred (Macnee again), Mark and Sarah open time doors to further vignettes in hope of finding evidence to exonerate her and back up her severed hand story. Along the way, numerous famous horror films are reenacted in a more comic manner as Mark and Sarah struggle to return to their own time.

The vignettes are much better realized this time around, with entires from Frankenstein, The Haunting (with a smattering of The Legend of Hell House), Alien, and the Roger Corman Poe pictures. Shorter vignettes include amusing reenactments of the Fredric March Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the shopping mall sequence in Dawn of the Dead, Jack the Ripper, Nosferatu, The Blob, and even Godzilla, making this an enjoyable little romp for horror movie fans. A ton of B-list stars show up here, including Bruce Campbell in a hilarious turn as the leader of The Haunting group. The comedy is much broader here (the Corman sequence, set in King Arthur's time, features some guards straight out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail), and the gore is much more copious. The effects are much better, however, with some good transformation sequences that beat the original severely.

The main problems with the sequel are the lack of a clear narrative thrust and some mumbo-jumbo about time warriors and "God's Nintendo game." But putting aside those misgivings, this sequel is really a good bit more entertaining than the pedestrian original.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Artisan continues its slipshod habit of releasing DVDs in cropped pan-and-scan versions. Heads are split down the middle on the sides with alarming regularity here, and compositions are cramped throughout. Otherwise, the transfers are fairly attractive, with good color, decent shadow detail and textures. Black levels are acceptable and the source prints appear to be in excellent shape (other, of course, than having the sides chopped off).

Image Transfer Grade: D+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 surround tracks are generally pretty good; the first installment has excellent bass in the finale and good surround effects. The second has decent sound reproduction and atmospheric use of the surrounds, but there is both persistent hiss and an annoying electronic buzz frequently audible that downgrades the results substantially.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 44 cues and remote access
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Nothing at all for extras. Chaptering is adequate, with 22 stops for each picture.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

The seminal horror-comedies come to DVD together, unfortunately pan-and-scanned and sans extras.

 


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