Blu-ray Review: Waxwork / Waxwork II: Lost In Time (Vestron Video Collector’s Series)
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Directed by: Anthony Hickox
Written by: Anthony Hickox
Cast: Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman, Michelle Johnson, David Warner, Dana Ashbrook, Miles O’Keeffe, Patrick Macnee, John Rhys-Davies
Distributor: Lionsgate
Rated R | 100 Minutes
Release Date: October 18, 2016

“I do what I want when I want. Dig it or fuck off.”

The Vestron Video Collector’s Series unleashes cult horror-comedies Waxwork and Waxwork II: Lost in Time for the first time on limited-edition Blu-ray on October 18 from Lionsgate.

Written and directed by Anthony Hickox (Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth), 1988’s Waxwork follows a group of college students “” Mark (Zach Galligan, Gremlins), China (Michelle Johnson), Sarah (Deborah Foreman), Gemma (Clare Carey), James (Eric Brown), and Tony (Dana Ashbrook) “” as they visit a mysterious wax museum, only to enter another dimension where the morbid displays are living, breathing monsters.

Tony encounters a werewolf (John Rhys-Davies) while China explores a Gothic castle and meets Count Dracula (Miles O’Keeffe). After his friends disappear, Mark enlists the help of Inspector Roberts (Charles McCaughan) to investigate museum owner David Lincoln (David Warner) and get to the bottom of the supernatural goings-on. They end up consulting Sir Wilfred (Patrick Macnee, The Howling), a friend of Mark’s grandfather, who explains how he and Mark’s grandfather collected trinkets from “the most evil people who ever lived,” because sure why not. I mean, that sounds like a pretty kick-ass hobby, right? Some people enjoy gardening or needlepoint, these dudes collect relics from monsters and mass murders.

Turns out Lincoln, having sold his soul to the devil, stole the artifacts in an effort to bring their previous owners to life. His plan? Create wax effigies of the creatures and feed them souls, a concept taken from Haitian Voodou. By feeding all eighteen, Lincoln will bring about the “voodoo end of the world, when the dead shall rise and consume all things,” which, again, sounds pretty kick-ass.

Waxwork isn’t particularly well-made and the performances aren’t anything to write home about, but it’s a clever concept charmingly executed, with just the perfect balance of horror and camp, and some impressive practical effects. At one point, a werewolf grabs a dude by the skull and rips him in half – right down the middle – like he’s unzipping a sleeping bag filled with blood and meat. You’d be doing a disservice to yourself by not experiencing that in high definition!

Waxwork II: Lost in Time
Directed by: Anthony Hickox
Written by: Anthony Hickox
Cast: Zach Galligan, Alexander Godunov, Monika Schnarre, Martin Kemp, Bruce Campbell, David Carradine
Distributor: Lionsgate
Rated R | 104 Minutes
Release Date: October 18, 2016

Having escaped the fiery destruction of the original Waxwork, Mark (Galligan) and Sarah (recast with Monika Schnarre, Beverly Hills, 90210) must prove their innocence, when Sarah is accused of murdering her stepfather. After discovering an ancient artifact that allows them to travel through time and space, the two lovers find themselves caught in the eternally recurring battle between good and evil, searching for the real killer. Together they must stop the legendary Lord Scarabus (Alexander Godunov), one of the most powerful and demonic figures in history.

1991’s Waxwork II: Lost in Time is completely fucking bonkers in the best way possible. As Mark and Sarah travel through time, they jump into dimensions where fictional stories have become their own realities. These universes include homages to films like Frankenstein, The Haunting, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Alien, Nosferatu, Dawn of the Dead, and even Godzilla. As if this wasn’t mind-blowing enough, Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead) and David Carradine (Kung Fu, Kill Bill) show up!

According to Sir Wilfred, now in the form of a raven, these alternate dimensions comprise “God’s video game,” where God and Satan battle over the fate of the world. Who would have thought God’s Video Gameâ„¢ would involve xenomorphs, zombies, giant radioactive lizards, and pod people? If this is what Heaven looks like, I may need to rethink this whole atheist thing. Like its predecessor, Waxwork II isn’t a compelling piece of cinema, but it’s a hell of a good time. The love and appreciation for films like Dawn of the Dead, Alien, and The Haunting – no doubt huge influences of writer/director Anthony Hickox – is evident in how authentic these worlds are rendered, replicating not only the designs and sets, but the style in which these classic films were made.

If you have fond memories of watching Hickox’s horror-comedies on cable or VHS as a kid, you’ll be pleased by this Blu-ray release, with 1080p high definition transfers (16×9 Widescreen 1.85:1) from the original film elements. The original 2.0 Stereo Audio is included, as well as DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Audio. This limited edition Blu-ray is packed with bonus features too, including an isolated score by composer Roger Bellon as well as two audio commentaries with Hickox and Galligan. In addition to theatrical trailers and still galleries, there’s also “The Waxwork Chronicles,” a six-part featurette on the making of the film.

This Waxwork / Waxwork II: Lost in Time double feature is a must-own for horror fans and is now available at Amazon. Also available from Vestron Video Collector’s Series: Blood Diner, Chopping Mall, Return Of The Living Dead 3, and C.H.U.D II: Bud The Chud.

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