Waxwork (1988)

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Released 17-Oct-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 93:11 (Case: 97)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Anthony Hickox
Vestron Pictures
Magna Home Entertainment
Starring Zach Galligan
Deborah Foreman
David Warner
John Rhys Davies
Patrick Macnee
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $19.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   Waxwork is an all-but-forgotten cult horror comedy from the mid-1980s. Following in the grand tradition of Evil Dead 2, Fright Night, and Return Of The Living Dead, Waxwork attempts to combine horror with humour, and for the most part succeeds. A group of teenagers are invited to the opening of a new waxwork exhibition that has mysteriously just opened in suburbia. The wax displays depict events from the great horror stories from literature and film, i.e.; Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolfman, Night of The Living Dead, and so forth. The teens, being curious, decide to examine the exhibits up close. They are instantaneously transported to the reality of the display and if killed become part of the waxworks. We discover that if the wax displays succeed in claiming a real life, they enter our reality to wreak havoc and destroy the world. The remaining teens must destroy the displays before they take over the world. If this sounds complicated, believe me it's not.

    The makeup effects work by Bob Keen is superb. The creatures are well designed and elevate the production from your usual direct-to-video film. The set design and cinematography are impressive given the film's obvious financial limitations. The film strives to resemble a Hammer production and for the most part succeeds. The humour in the film works best when the characters are transported into the world of the wax displays. The cast seems to be having fun, especially David Warner and Patrick Macnee, two masters of the horror genre. The hero is played with enthusiasm by `Gremlin's' star Zach Galligan. Director Anthony Hickox obviously has a love for the subject and attempts to reconstruct the famous scenes as accurately as possible. The tributes to The Wolfman, The Mummy and Night Of The Living Dead are the film's highlights. It is appropriate that during the end credits Hickox dedicates his film to his idols George Romero, John Carpenter, John Landis and Hammer pictures.

    The film was a very successful video release in 1987 and spawned a superior sequel four years later with Gallagan reprising his role, and Keen once again supplying the creatures. Waxwork is a low budget film deserving of the label cult classic.

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Transfer Quality


    Waxwork has been given a 1:33:1 full screen transfer, and as the original source material was shot open matte this is acceptable. However when released theatrically it was presented 1:85:1. I do wish we had been given an anamorphic 1:85:1 version, but having the title released at all is a bonus.

    The transfer is reasonably sharp but does suffer from soft imaging, which I suspect is the fault of the source material. Shadow setail is adequate and there is little to no grain apparent.

    Colours are somewhat muted, but again the source material appears to be in need of a cleanup.

    There are occasional film and video artefacts, but nothing distracting.

    All-in-all, this is not a great print, but it is unquestionably the best the film has looked for some time.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Waxwork is only given an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded track.

    Dialogue is always clear and there are no audio sync problems.

    The score is unobtrusive and accompanies the film nicely.

    Surround channel usage is meagre at best. There are little to no directional sound effects, but not being a big budget film the sound is more than adequate.

    The subwoofer enlivens the soundtrack when needed, but nothing more.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     There are no extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Currently there is no Region 1 version of this DVD available.


    Waxwork is an enjoyable horror comedy made during the height of direct-to-video films in the mid 1980's. It is a cult film that you will either treasure or despise dependant on your sensibilities. The film is presented on a bare bones disc with a decent transfer and sound, but zero extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Sunday, January 26, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215.
AmplificationSony HT-K215

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
More misinformation...*sigh* (Ratio blunder) - cztery REPLY POSTED
Open Matte/Pan and scan (talk about missing the point) - Jace
Talking about "missing the point"... - cztery
Yes, you have entirely missed the point - Jace
Diplomacy blunder *sigh* - Miklos (my stinkin' bio)
Btw...what's this about a cursory search? - Miklos (my stinkin' bio)
Open matte - cztery
More info.. - cztery
Bob Keen never won an Oscar??? - MaskMan (read my bio)