WAXWORK 2 (1991)
WRITER: Anthony Hickox
DIRECTOR: Anthony Hickox
Zach Galligan as Mark Loftmore
Monika Schnarre as Sarah Brightman
Martin Kemp as Baron Frankenstein
Bruce Campbell as John Loftmore
Michael Des Barres as George
Marina Sirtis as Gloria
John Ireland as King Arthur
Patrick MacNee as Sir Wilfred
David Carradine as the Beggar
Alexander Godunov as Scarabus
SYNOPSIS: The adventures of Zach continue with an all-new, all-different yet still easily confused Sarah, as they jump around time and space to try and save Sarah from a horrible fate in the electric chair. Chaos ensues.
Well, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the next movie after Waxwork that I'm going to review is the sequel, Waxwork 2. I mean, they're on the same DVD. I may as well, right? This movie takes all the fun of the first movie and ramps it up 100-fold, in the most insane and convoluted ways possible.
The movie starts off, not on a title card like I usually like, because it's a good way to start a review, but rather with a quote from one of the Wonderland books. Yeah good, gives us an example of classic fiction, because that won't raise our expectations at all.
Waxwork 2 does not start off right where the first one left off. In fact, it starts off about half an hour from the end of its predecessor, and speeds through all the important bits a body needs to know to get what happened. There's a lot of deaths in the end of that movie, and since this is reused footage, I'm going to say that they don't count towards the first death watch. Those are Waxwork 1 deaths, not sequel deaths. They're not fresh.
Patrick Macnee gets a brief line as they revisit his doom, and his squawking of "Oh my goodness!" *after* his head is ripped off cracks my shit up.
Finally the new movie starts up, and we see Mark and Sarah slipping away into the night, and being followed by the severed zombie hand that used to be a wax replica. The more I type that, the more normal it seems. I'm scared.
Mark blurts out the old horror movie chestnut, "It's finally over!" that someone always says when its clearly not over. Not if the movie is actually a sequel, you fool! I like using that classic line at the start of the movie for a change, it plays with the conventions a little.
The dynamic duo get into a cab, and the hand follows them, grabbing onto the back window. It dangles there for all to see as they talk about how nothing could escape the fire. Yeah, they're not the most observant pair in these movies. You know that phrase, "You wouldn't know it if it came up and bit you in the ass"? That was first said about Mark.
It's probably worth noting that Sarah has been recast for the sequel, and is now played by Monika "I've been a guest star in damned near everything" Schnarre. Personally, I always preferred this Sarah to the original. She has more presence, and is a better actress at these respective points in their careers.
Sarah returns home to the slovenly pit she calls home, with her equally slovenly stepfather waiting up late for his little girl. He ain't exactly happy to see her waltzing in at 3am. But what do you expect when you're out having a rollicking night of arson out on the town?
Her stepdad is just on the right side of being borderline abusive, but never crosses it. He seems more broken by the death of Sarah's mother than actually being a bad guy.
While Sarah goes to her room to fondly recall everyone who died the last time out and escaped the sequel, Handy arrives and tries to perform an executional on stepdad. I'm of two minds here; on the one hand, he's painted as a bit of a jerk, and you're clearly meant to sit back and cheer as he's getting beaten, and the hand might actually be doing Sarah a favour. On the other hand, the brush used to paint him as a bit jerky is a pretty broad one, and he's only given a few minutes of screen time before they shuffle him off this mortal coil of film. They even give hints that he might not be that bad of a guy, in those brief moments. I start out cheering his demise, but the more I think about it, the worse I feel.
Sarah hears the commotion and rushes out to lend her stepdad a hand. Yes, I went there. Handy lands in a toolbox, and gets his fingers on a hammer, and skitters across the floor back towards the dad.
I want to sit here for a moment and ponder just how it's 'walking', not to mention carrying a hammer, and even swinging it, but you know what? It was a wax severed zombie hand reanimated into reality by a voodoo spell to bring back the 18 most evil men in history. I'm just gonna let the zombie hand slide.
Anyways, Handy bonks the stepdad on the head, with what must be the most gentle hammerfall I have ever seen. I don't think it would have even knocked a nail into a piece of wood. And the stepfather's performance isn't any better. He has a hilarious delayed reaction. Clearly not a stunt performer. Handy crawls up onto the dad's chest, and continues to gently beat him in the face until it looks like a ketchup bottle exploded in his face.
Sarah yanks the hand off her stepdad, and we get a long scene of Sarah dancing around the apartment, struggling against the hand, which is really just the actress fighting herself. It's truly absurd, and just gets moreso. The fight culminates when Handy grabs a bottle of mustard and sprays Sarah in the face with what must be the entire contents of it.
The fight continues after that into the kitchen, where there's a cup filled with onions. I only knows this because the jar is conveniently labelled with a piece of masking tape and 'onions' written on it. I know I like to keep my onions in glass mugs, and make sure everyone knows they're onions by labelling them with masking tape.
Handy grabs the cup and throws the onions in her face, sticking all over the mustard. He doesn't throw the glass, which might actually hurt or do damage. Just the onions. Then it grabs several hot dog buns and tosses them at her as well. I suspect that the script may have called for the joke to continue with actual hot dogs, but someone said that smacking the actress in the face with weiners might have gotten them a harsher rating than they got.
And all this is going on with "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" playing in the background. This is some high comedy here, folks.
She finally gets the upper hand (The puns keep me sane, people.) and shoves Handy into the disposal and it gets spun around and sucked down to his death. Which is really just some guy under the sink, poking his hand up through the drain, writhing a little, and then yanking it back.
I'd complain about the lack of blood splatter, but after about five seconds of thinking it's over, the sink shoots out blood like a firehose or a stabbed anime character. I approve. Sarah ends up covered in more corn syrup than China in the first movie.
Finally, the title card! Almost ten minutes deep, that's quite a ways in to do that. But everything before pretty much ties up the last film, and sets up this one, and now things kick off on their own right.
Next we're in a courtroom where Sarah is on trial for the murder of *ahem* 'loving, caring stepfather'. I guess no one would believe the old story of the reanimated zombie hand doing it. Which she actually tried to use as her defense. The prosecutor naturally had a field day with it.
This leads to some lively discussion on whether she was involved in the mysterious waxwork fire, if that has any bearing on her stepdad's murder, etc. And holy crap, the body count at the waxwork is up to 200? They might not even be done counting?? I didn't see that many people there, wax or otherwise! I assume that the reanimated figures are being counted since they died as living creatures, but still. That's a crapton of bodies.
I love the honesty of Mark standing up in a courtroom and shouting for all to hear that the waxworks came to life and did all the damage. That's a sure way to not sell your case. Especially when the case sounds like three kinds of crazy.
Mark and Sarah leave the courtroom to head to Sir Wilfred's case. Wait, logic check time. Sarah is on trial for murder, and is suspected of 200 more deaths. They don't normally let those people just up and leave custody, do they? "Well, Mr. Gacy, we're done for the day. Would you like us to get a cab for you to head home and say hi to the kids?"
The pair are scouring Sir Wilfred's home, since he said if there was ever any trouble, to head there. I would say being on trial because of a murderous zombie hand qualifies. They come across a mostly empty room with a curiously suspicious chessboard, as well as a film projector.
Patrick Macnee makes a return appearance as Mark starts up the film reel. It plays a message he left for the two of them in the event of his death. Nice way to keep him in the film, make more continuity with the movie, and not conjure up some BS way for him to escape his decapitation. He hopes they succeeded in their task, and stopped any sequel bait from escaping the waxwork. Oops.
Wilfred says he has left everything to Mark, which surprised Mark so much he blurts out, "You did?" And the filmed message actually responds with a yes! Next, he tells Mark to make sure that no matter what he does, he must never, ever blink.
Mark now owns Wilfred's and his grandfather's extensive collection of weird shit they gathered on all their adventures, and he hopes that Mark and Sarah can find something that will aid them in their quest. His final message is a cryptic one about finding the secret room by following Alice through the looking glass. And Mark is such a smart guy that he has zero clue who Alice is. C'mon. Who doesn't know at least the basics of Alice in Wonderland? Apparently this guy.
Anyways, genius checks out the only mirror in the room while Sarah pokes around at that curiously prominent chessboard, and sees all the pieces are Alice themed. When she picks up the Alice piece, the square she was standing on rises, and the mirror receeds into a passageway.
Ok, that's a pretty clever hiding spot, but what happens if something had happened to everyone, and there was no one to claim Wilfred's stuff? What if some moving guy was packing everything up? Wouldn't the door open, and then some random schlub finds Wilfred's Batcave?
The secret room contains a bunch of crap that references other crap. Silver bullets, keys, 'ex living dead' and even Jason's blood stained hockey mask. I bet Mark knows what THAT is. I blame the public school system.
Mark gets drawn to a small shiny device, and a tiny scroll. Because this is the perfect room to just casually pick stuff that could potentially be supernatural. What could possibly go wrong?
Sarah spies a half-covered painting of a man in armour, and she is drawn towards it, reaching out. Remember how she was easily drawn to anything shiny in the first movie? Yeah, that trait persists.
She probably gets her life saved yet again when Mark calls out to her to check out the strange device he found. Mark explains that it's a Cartagrian Time Door Opener.
Well, of course it is. How silly of me to have not recognised it.
Mark suspects it's some sort of medieval expression. Time door opener? Really? What could that possibly have been slang for in the dark ages? "Forsooth, Yorick! Hast thou visited yon time door opener this e'en?" "Nay, Broderick. I stopped off at the time door opener before I came hence!"
Anyways, he wants to use the device to travel back in time to the night of the fire, and get some evidence to back up Sarah's story. What happened to 'some sort of medieval expression'? How do you go from thinking it means something else to it's a time travel device that quick?
Mark justifies his idea by saying they've time travelled before. And that worked out so well the last time, didn't it? And technically, as I understand it, they didn't actually travel through time in the first movie, just stepped into little pockets of alternate places, just off the side of reality. And I can't believe I'm arguing the semantics of this.
Still, the way Mark nonchalantly says they've time travelled before, like everyone else says they've been to the corner store, kills me.
Mark cracks open the time door opener, which shall henceforth be known as a compass because I can only type time door opener so many times and maintain my sanity. The mirror closes behind them and begins to glow blue, bathing the room in light.
They run through the mirror, which is probably a more sensible plan than sitting through the trial, and they fall through the blackness, and into bad green screen effects. As they fall, they lose their grip on each other and are seperated, until a batcreature grabs Sarah and flies off with her.
At this point, the movie gets really weird. Seriously. Mark suddenly finds himself watching old home movies of him and his parents, which seem nothing like the mother we saw from the first movie. It looks more like a regular middle class family, not the spoiled, haughty rich woman we saw before. His mother begs young Mark, which I think is also old Mark, to come to mommy, while gesturing vaguely at her stomach, and her uh...nether regions. She even grabs at her skirt and lifts it a little.
What the hell, Waxwork 2?
Young Mark runs straight for his mother, and yes INTO her womb. We're treated to the sight of...of foetal Mark.
What...the ever lovin' HELL, Waxwork 2?!
Finally the supreme weirdness dissipates and we're left with just the regular weirdness of Mark appearing in a mansion somewhen, dressed in a tuxedo, and sporting a Tony Stark mustache.
Mark answers a loud knock at the door, and is greeted by a trio of villagers asking to speak with Baron Frankenstein. This naturally confused our little genius, until the real Frankenstein arrives. The people question him about rumours from the village, but the plot gets interupted by the arrival of Sarah, who is once again totally lost and sucked into this new reality and personality of Frankenstein's wife.
So yes, there is no waxwork in the movie entitled Waxwork 2. We're still jumping through various time periods and homages though, which were clearly the highlight and main point f the first movie, when all is said and done. Also, probably the most fun stuff, as well. The characters still get new clothes and the occasional new personality, while everyone mistakes them for someone who's been there all the time. Hence the Lost in Time subtitle. Weird way to go with a sequel, but understandable, for all the reasons I said. But it's almost like doing a Nightmare on Elm Street 2 without any nightmares.
Where was I? Right. Mark gets dragged off by Igor to feed and clean up after the famous monster. I wonder if Mark is still sympathetic towards the working class like he was in the first movie, or if he's starting to think this stuff is beneath him.
The monster, which looks nothing like the hints we saw in #1, wants his slop but Mark find that stuff rightly disgusting as it looks like a mixture of chunks of meat and worms. He spies some real food left on a desk, and is about to hand that over when he sees a notebook of Frankenstein's, which has clues on how to reanimate dead flesh. That's pretty clever. It makes this location actually have a point, part of their quest, relative to the plot, and more than just some random homage for homaging sake. And Mark knows Frankenstein well enough to know this, but doesn't recognise Alice from Adam?
With the monster fed some real food, and Mark unlocking the Find Notebook achievement, he goes to wake up Sarah in more ways than one. She's so far gone in this reality, that even she mistakes Mark for the person whose body he's slipped into. At least he snapped her back without getting almost shot and whipped.
They're about to make their escape, but a noise at the door gets Frankenstein's attention. He sees his wife, calls out her name, and that's all it takes to suck Sarah right back into this reality. I bet I could sell this girl a bridge.
Since we're watching a Frankenstein movie for the moment, the noise at the door is naturally an angry mob. Complete with torches and pitchforks. Ahh, the classics.
Mark breaks Sarah out of her spell once more, when everyone heads to the basement to try and escape. It is like a game of ping pong with this girl's mind.
He thinks he's found the time door out of there, but the monster is in the way, and Igor is chasing Mark with a two by four. Mark at least remembers the rules of the first movie, and isn't afraid since he knows if he doesn't beleive in them, they can't hurt him.
That was going pretty well until Igor clocked him in the head, showing that the rules are different this time out.
The blow flings Mark across the room an right into the monster's arms. Not to mention the journal going flying. With that, he tells Sarah not to listen to a word he says. Yeah, I've been following that advice for awhile now, bub.
The not so good doctor urges the monster to kill Mark, belittling the creature, but the monster doesn't like the name calling, remembers how its been treated, and Mark giving it real food instead of slop, so lets him go. Time to resolve some daddy issues.
He tells Igor (His name is Felix in the movie, I know that. I also don't care. It's Igor and everyone knows it, damnit!) to kill the beast, and Igor's response is pretty much the only rational response to such a request. He rolls his eyes, and shakes his head as if to say, "Oh hell no!"
Sarah escapes through the time door, and Mark retrieves the notebook. He watches as the beast crushes the doctor's head so hard he starts spitting out teeth like they're Tic Tacs. Which now that I think about it, they probably are.
He keeps on squeezing until the eyeballs launch out of their sockets. I'm a sucker for popping eyeballs, especially with the very well done head of the doctor they used for the gruesome scene.
As if that wasn't enough, the monster KEEPS squeezing, and makes even the doctor's brain launch out of the top of his head, just in time for Mark to run straight into the path and catch it.
Mark runs through the time door, or he would have if it hadn't disappeared, and he careens right into the wall. Man, with Mark, the Jonathan from Shocker, and the guy from Popcorn, this site could almost be renamed Head Injury Theatres.
Apparently, the time doors never stay long in one place. Aside from making it a blatant tension heightener, what could possibly be the purpose of that? Only someone with a compass can open a time door, so there's no need for them to move. They only shift as the plot dictates. But whatever, I can live with it. I just hate seeing the plot threads being pulled so blatantly by the writers.
Mark finally finds the time door, but pauses long enough to watch the beast shove its fist straight through Igor's chest like an alien baby busting free.
On the other side of the time door, Mark has stumbled back into another black and white land, and a bad blonde wig. Once again there's no Sarah to be seen, but hey we got Bruce Campbell!
No bad movie can ever truly be that bad if it has The Chin in it. Or is that a sign that the movie is bad, but in the best way possible? Either way works I guess.
Now, the credits say Bruuuce plays John Loftmore. Zach is Mark Loftmore. I'm confused. Mark doesn't recognise his relative, it never comes up in the script, and only in the credits does it even get mentioned. It seems an odd relationship to toss off in the credits, but not do anything with.
It looks like Mark has fallen in with Ghost Hunters 1950, as the people his maybe relative is working with are trying to prove the existence of ghosts. The cohorts include one Marina Sirtis, who should be busy making a decent paycheck on Star Trek and not slumming it here for a quick paycheck. I have no idea why she fell into this film of all places. You would think in the 90s, she'd have her pick.
The scene pans up across the Creepy House (Trademark Vincent Price), into the sky, then int colour, and finally all the way into space where we see a waiting spacecraft. All to the strains of Also Sprach Zarathustra. Or the 2001 theme to some of you. This movie is literally all over the place.
And this is where we find Sarah, stuck into a Sigourney Weaver role. The best part is how the camera work very clearly, and very unsubtlely shifts at this point. It goes from very static, very steady work in the 1950s world and most of the movie so far, to being very frenetic and handheld in the space movie. They're very different styles, and perfectly suited to each of their own tones and time periods they're emulating. Such a wild, sudden shift rarely works in movies, but it really works here and isn't that jarring, as it's almost like you changed the channel.
One of the crew members is examining a dead body, and commenting on how surprised he is at how quickly some creatures grow from an embryo to a full grown organism in just a matter of hours. Can you guess what movie this is?
Thought it was safe to bring something on board?
From a ship lost in space hundreds of years ago?
By a diverse salvage crew being torn apart by paranoia?
Must be Predator.
A not-Alien alien arrives, and he is just the cutest wee little thing ever! I think they were going for some forced perspective shot, or a kid in a suit, but instead it just makes the alien just look so tiny, and cuddly.
Everyone gets suited up so they can decompress the area and take care of the not-alien, so they hope. They blow the wall, stuff gets sucked out and blown around. Etc etc, we've all seen this movie before. This is going a bit beyond homage.
The not-Alien kills one guy by crushing his head, and yanks the airhose off the spacesuit of another once the air is gone, and his head pops like an overinflated balloon. This movie is rather in love with head trauma, isn't it?
The movie pans back to Earth and black and white, with Mark trying to find a time door, but not having much luck with a non-cooperating compass.
This section of the movie is again filmed in very much the style of a 1950s horror movie. There's weird thumping noises in the distance, with only shots of whatever's on the walls to punctuate the unknown sounds, intercut with increasing close ups of Mark's terrified face. I really like sticking to the styles these 'movies' should have.
The investigators rush down to their machines to see if they recorded anything during the manifestations. You would think after Evil Dead, Bruce would be a bit wary of using these things around ghosts.
The ladies wander off, and Mark goes to find them. When he does, they're doing absolutely nothing interesting. I'd complain about there being a bit of buildup for a very anticlimactic revelation, but that too is very much in the style of the day.
There's a brief splash of colour as a child's ghost appears to give Mark a cryptic clue that buzzes over his head. Good use of colour really, and lets it pop in the B&W world. But it does make me wonder if Mark is seeing everything in colour, or B&W, and if he sees the girl the way we do. I guess I'll let that one slide too.
The walls begin to pulse, and then they begin to bleed buckets of blood. The movie once again splashes colour in with the vibrant red of the blood. Using colour to make the supernatural stand out as not part of the world is a good gimmick, and couldn't have been done back in the day. Have I mentioned how much these movies love to pour on the blood?
Mark stumbles across Marina hanging from the ceiling, and the other girl crying. The crying girl gets up and wanders off once again, and Mark follows, coming across Bruce chained to a frame, with his torso pretty much completely exposed and a bird pecking at the ribs and muscle.
Warning: there is a lot of absurdity coming pretty fast and heavy. I'm not going to call the movie on any of it, at least not as much as I should, because A) it's damned hilarious and B) Bruce Freakin' Campbell hamming it up.
Yes, he's hanging there with his chest opened up with his ribs and guts exposed to the air, and he's calmly carrying a conversation. It's just so damned silly from the get go, this whole franchise in, and at this point you just gotta go along for the ride and enjoy the laughs.
Mark tries to set him free, but undoes the wrong rope, sending the frame falling onto the floor Bruce-first. He lands right on the gaping chest wound, on the dirty, dusty floor of the basement.
Bruce accepts Mark's apology once they've got him back upright, saying that accidents happen, and Mark's all worried that it's going to get infected. Dude, it's not a papercut. Your boss has a giant, gaping hole in his chest. That's not gonna get infected, that's gonna get a lung to fall out!
While Bruce tries to give the backstory of the house, which none of us really care about, Mark picks out some of the debris that got stuck in between Bruce's ribs. Each rock comes out with a loud, comedic pop, and accompanied by a yelp from Bruce. It's so wonderfully over the top.
They realise they need to put the ghost's spirit to rest, and as Mark turns to think, he slips in Bruce's blood and lands on his ass. He then gets asked if he's ok. BY THE GUY WITH NO FLESH OVER HIS RIBS! I'm not pointing this out to nitpick. This is hilarious.
Mark spies the blood pool, and that it's in the shape of a diamond, just like the clue the ghost girl gave him. I could think about how the ghost would know the vital clue when there was no bloodstain yet, and just roll with the movie's punches.
They're about to put the girl's spirit to rest, but the spirit of the father has possessed the other girl, and he's intent on burning the book they need to do so. He/she/it starts throwing things at Mark to keep him away, and every time he ducks the projectile. And every single one whizzes over his head and instead clocks Bruce in the face. Because it's not a Bruce Campbell appearance until he's been beaten senseless.
He gets beaned first by a book, then a hammer, a coil of rope, a knife fortunately sticks into the frame beside his head rather than connecting, and then another book. But wait, it gets even better.
The possessed woman holds up a bag of salt. And I only know *this* because the bag is very clearly and conveniently labeled 'SALT'. It hits Bruce squarely in the chest and bursts open, all over his ribs. If you've ever put salt on a cut, just multiply that sensation by like...a billion.
Bruce calls for water to clean up, and Mark willingly obliges. But wait, the screams get louder. Oops, the jar Mark grabbed was actually vinegar. Oh yes, it gets even worse.
Mark apologises, and Bruce again takes it in calm stride, mostly because his wound is beginning to go numb. I absolutely adore the sheer, over the top craziness of this scene. No one could have done as good a job as Bruce Campbell. He is just so damned hilarious to watch in this literally impossible situation, that you love it, despite the unreality of it. Which is pretty much how you want to play these things. This isn't horror, this isn't reality, this is straight up comedy.
With the sun coming up and time running out, Mark reads the commital for the girl's spirit, and it's coming out as gibberish until Bruce points out he's reading the book upside down. Mark continues to be a moron. And I think after everything the movie just did to Bruce, they should have skipped that cheap laugh.
It all seems to be over, but Marina returns, possessed as well. Too bad her empathic powers didn't sense danger this time.
With the ghosts cast out, the compass works again, and Mark asks if everyone will be all right. Bruce regards his chest for a moment, and gives the the classic Black Knight quote from Monty Python.
Mark escapes through the blue swirlyness, and the movie jumps back to Sarah and friend in space still, almost about to escape.
They've made it to the shuttle, and are about to escape. Once again, Sarah is lost in her character, surprise surprise, and has figured out the infection was spread from the food they ate in the cargo they brought aboard. She's thankful she had the steak, but is unawares that her shipmate actually had the chicken alien surprise.
Her shipmate starts gagging up tentacle after tentacle, and there may be a head in there somewhere, and other parts, but I can't tell and I don't want to stare too deeply into the abyss. They grab Sarah by the head and try to force their ways into her mouth.
Wait...with this attack, and all the blood, oh gods this IS an anime, isn't it?!
Fortunately, Mark makes a timely arrival and kills the alien with a handy fire axe. It's a nice callback to Sarah using an axe to save Mark from the Marquis De Sade in the first movie.
Sarah immediately snaps back to herself at the sight of Mark, who has apparently been on a long series of adventures we didn't get to see, while trying to find Sarah. He lost Frankenstein's notebook the Loch Ness monster, but he grabbed a voodoo coffin for bringing the dead back to life from Haiti. This thing is huge, and I can just imagine it being lugged along all this time.
They're about to make good their escape through a time door, but another not-Alien arrives and grabs Mark. He makes quick work of the beast and shoves a grenade into its chitonous shell, and it sticks to all the dangly bits.
Before he grenaded the thing, it grabbed the compass and it is stuck firmly in the creature's grasp with the ship about to self destruct. Mark gets the compass open to find a time door, but he doesn't have time to get it out of the claw, nor can he grab the coffin before everything goes boom, so only Sarah and himself go through the time door. One step forward, 12 steps back.
From space, the movie yanks us wildly in the opposite direction into a pastoral field surrounded by trees, and medieval times no less, based on the garb of our heroes. Sarah is in a simple, yet elegant dress, and Mark is dressed like a common adventure, for the most part, except for the t-shirt you can see underneath. Possibly a sign that he's gaining more and more control and experience with all the jumps he's made on his journeys, as opposed to Miss Forgetshername.
They try to figure out how they're going to get home, they whinge about the trial, and fortunately the movie spares us and interupts the whining with a bunch of helpful, evil knights on horesback, who take Sarah away.
Sarah tries to fight her captors, but typical Hollywood girl syndrome befalls her, or maybe just typical medieval girl syndrome, so she gets tossed over the horse as the knights ride off.
Once they're gone, an NPC played by David Carradine appears out of nowhere and gives Mark the mother of all infodumps on the bad guy, Scarabus. Mark asks Basil Exposition where the castle is. Well gee, maybe in the direction the horses rode off in? Just a thought.
I really like David's performance in this. He plays it absolutely straight and deadly serious. He's a great actor to give this sort of performance to, and he brings a lot of weight to the character that he would have lacked otherwise.
Old Man Carradine hands Mark a shiny sword that matches one of the ones in the title card, and with information, good acting, and a sword passed along, David up and disappears from the movie. What is it with Davids and disappearing in these films?
I guess the movie jumps to The Castle next, since it sure looks like one. It also looks like the Marquis' lair. Oh, this won't be good for Sarah.
We meet Scarabus and his head minion, George. Scary is your typical villain; all black leather clothes, long flowing blonde hair, accent. George is also dressed all in black but comes across as a bit...um, a bit of a fop, to be nice. He seems vicious, but also seems a bit swishy at the same time.
They have a plan afoot to get Scarabus on the throne of England, and when George (Seriously? George? George the evil minion?) calls Scarabus by his current title, the master grabs him by the cheeks and forces George to call him, 'your majesty,' all the better to get used to calling him that. Quite goofy to watch him try and force it out with squished cheeks. Not the best idea to make your bad guys seem goofy. But it's a step up from David Warner in a purple coat and tails.
Sarah is brought in front of Scarabus and shocker, she's forgotten who she is again, other than this Madelyne person, an important part of Scarabus's plan. Oh, and she's his sister.
Mark finds the castle, and Sarah, and they start to make their escape, although she's been drugged and even more out of it than usual. To give her a chance to shake more of it off, Mark finds a hopefully safe spot to hide, and it also gives them a handy vantage point on an arcane ritual happening below.
A maiden is brought in and chained to a stone slab in the center of the room, and a black panther is brought in, while Mark watches. The monks do their chanty thing, and the girl begins to transform into T'Challa, king of Wakanda. Er, I mean a human/black panther hybrid.
For this sort of film, with a limited budget, the transformation is very well done, and very much in the vein of An American Werewolf in London. Nowhere near that good, but just about as painful looking, and detailed, as the transformation is very slow and laborious, taking place over many minutes. All of this while Sarah dozes and makes cute sleepy noises over the screams.
The girl is on her way to pantherdom when the monks borrow some of her blood and give Scarabus a hemoglobin smoothie. I may be a little off on those details, because it was hard to follow, and I tried watching the scene a few times.
Sarah finally wakes up as the drugs wear off, and immediately recognises Mark. He's understandably surprised at this, and she doesn't know how he could think she could forget. Well gee, maybe because you've done precisely that over the course of two whole movies?
But don't worry, that doesn't last long. The pair make their way down to the altar room, pondering if they should bother to interfere with anything, it's not their problem, getting a moral quandary in. And while that's going on, Sarah reverts to her Madelyne personality. And switches right back. It's like watching a tennis match with this girl's personality.
Monika does a fair job making each personality somewhat unique, but damn is it frustrating to watch.
Sarah actually has a pretty decent argument for non-interference, in that history worked itself out fine with their meddling, or they'd have heard about it in history class. Which again seems to be the only class that college teaches, huh?
Of course, we didn't learn about Scarabus trying to take over the throne and failing either, so what are you gonna do?
Sarah also makes the argument that they need to get back to their own time before one of them gets possessed permanently. Both of them? Only one of these two can't remember their name unless someone says it every five minutes, and their name ain't Mark.
But all that gets cut short when George fops his way in and has Mark carted off to the dungeon, and makes a deal with Madelyne that he'll be safe as long as Madelyne goes along with her brother's plans.
Mark gets chained up, and I'm serious, put in an iron mask, and left to rot down in the dungeon. What, you thought the bad guys would keep their word? The deal was for Mark to leave the country and never return, so Madelarah would never know.
Meanwhile, Sarah and Scary are at a feast, as the king arrives and he's pretty aged. And the credits list him as King Arthur. I'm a big Arthur geek, and I could go on for days about how wrong this all is, but sigh. Maybe a seperate post. But it's still just another reference solely in the credits that goes nowhere, like John Loftmore. He's really little more than a generic English king.
Back in the dungeon, Mark has taken to passing the time before the rats eat him up by singing One Billion Bottles of Beer. Fortunately he gets interupted by a familiar voice reciting a little Poe.
A raven with the voice of Patrick Macnee comes fliting over to help Mark out of his oversized headgear. Mark's dubious, but the raven says it's really him, and this is the only way they'd let him appear in this movie. And that sound you just heard was the fourth wall exploding in your face.
Mark says Lucy has some 'splaining to do, but Wilfred says he's forbidden from saying too much, and this is the last time he or his grandfather can help him.
Wait, what? Yes, David Carradine was actually Mark's grandfather.
Wilfred gives one of the biggest infodumps of all time, and explains that the compass opened up a gateway between our world and one called Cartagra, and this is the place where the true battle between good and evil occurs. This actually isn't the real world, and that handily explains away a lot of the issues I've had with the movie up to this point, since it literally is more like jumping into movies and stories, as opposed to actual time periods. And they could even have each pocket world be an area unto itself and not dependent on any other world. They actually learned from the first movie, and found a way to make their homages work.
The raven describes this in what may be one of the best descriptions of anything ever, and the only way this could be described; Mark has stumbled into God's Nintendo game.
In Cartagra, God and the Devil fight endless battles with their proxies, time warriors, as various characters at various times, forever trying to tip the balance one way or the other. The outcomes of the battles in this alternate reality will affect events in the real world though, like earthquakes if evil wins, so there are stakes to be had.
Once Mark's mask is off, the raven gives him back the compass, and continues his job as Basil Exposition, Jr. Wilfred explains that each compass can allow its user to open up an infinite number of doors around Cartagra, jumping around time, space, and my DVD collection. However, they can only open up the doorway between Earth and Cartagra twice. So once the doorway home is opened, Mark can never return to Cartagra if he goes through it, or if he chooses to stay, he can never take back that decision and will be trapped in Cartagra forever.
Naturally, Mark is all set to get the hell out of there and go home, sidestepping the issue, but Sir Wilfred Ravensbeak puts some doubt in his head by saying it is a great honour to be chosen by God to be a time warrior.
I need a moment to let the phrase "God's time warriors" sink in.
Mark asks if Sarah is also a time warrior, but Wilfred suspects she has too much unfinished business in the real world, what with the trial, and her dead friends and family. Yeah, there's that. And also the fact that she forgets who she is in every new world. Not the best candidate there.
With all his exposition out of the way, Patrick Macnee escapes the franchise.
While that infodump of doom was going on, the banquet upstairs continues, while George slips some drugs into the king's wine. I refuse to call him King Arthur.
The king is rushed off to rest and try and make sense of Wilfred's exposition, and I can't blame him, that's a lot to digest.
Mark makes good his escape and sets all the other prisoners free. Now, I get wanting to have some helping hands, but they are prisoners, right? I'm sure are wrongfully imprisoned, but there might be people in those cells for good reason, even under Scarabus's rule. They might be in the mood for some payback though, so maybe it'll work out. Just don't trust them, Mark!
He asks if they can fight, and they cheer. He then says lets go kick some butt and he says it with such confidence that at first they cheer, but then they realise they have no idea what he just said. Damn you, modern lingo! Too often, movies always have everyone understand everything. Of course, in real medieval England, they'd barely understand anything he said, but oh well.
With the king resting and hidden from view, Scarabus ducks into the next room where his monks are ready to cast their proximity shapeshifting spell they used on the panther girl, and thus he can replace the king by literally becoming the king. Not a bad plan, even if it is a bit on the crazy side.
Mark's rebellion is cut short as he hasn't improved his sword skills any, and is now up against knights at the height of chivalry.
They check on the king, who is back on his feet and seems ok, and even says to get Mark some food and rest, eager to hear more of this plot against him. The king's head guard notices his signet ring is missing, and Mark sees a piece of the king's cloak poking out from a crack in the bed's headboard. He leads them through the hidden passage he reveals with a good swift kick, just in time to save the real king from being killed by the monks.
Mark and the knights return through the passageway, and find the false king has been let go by his dimwitted knight left to watch him, thinking he was the real king, despite explanations otherwise. It's very Pythonesque, again.
King Scarabus with Sarah in tow is pursused by Mark, and Mark takes out a guard who gets in the way by shoving him into a moat. Inside. Who gets quickly attacked by some creature. Where the heck did either of those two things come from?? Nice to set those up for us.
Mark demands Scary let Sarah go, and the false king laughs madly, as he covers his face with his hands. The worst jump cut since Herschel cut a man's leg off occurs as it goes from stationary to the real Scarabus waving his hands wildly.
Another random guard attacks Mark, and since he doesn't have any fear of water, he beats on Mark pretty well, with Sarah making great winces with each blow he lands on her friend. She makes some really cute faces while her friend gets beaten.
They fight across the altar room, until Mark grabs the insanely huge book of black magic and clocks him on the head but good.
Mark passes out from his beating, and Sarah rushes to his side. Scary replies by telling her to get away, and as his wife, she must obey. That's all Sarah needs to slip back into Maddy's head. She points out that she's his sister, and he retorts that since he became king, she is now his wife. Logic check time; he's not the real king, and wasn't the king at the time of any ceremony we didn't see, so...oh you know what? Never mind.
Madelyne is rightly disgusted with the idea that her brother Adolph wishes to have 'pure, beautiful children' with her. With the realisation that his sister doesn't love him anymore now that she knows just how sick he is, Scary orders George to kill her. I wonder if his 'kill the bitch' line is a deliberate callback to Lincoln's 'twerp' from the first movie, or it just happened.
Sarah tries to hold off George with an embarassing impersonation of the Cowardly Lion's fisticuffs, but fortunately Mark wakes up and grabs Little George, sending the fop to the ground.
As if the movie hasn't packed in enough stuff, they even throw in some forced patriotism. Scarabus asks what village would breed such troublesome people, and Mark responds proudly with, "America!" While Yankee Doodle plays away in the score. Since he's never heard of America, the moment falls flat on Scarabus, and he shrugs it off. The joke was bad, but at least they kinda bought it back with the villain's cluelessness, taking away from the joke in a good way. And that leads to more bad swordfighting.
Scarabus swipes the compass with his sword, and it opens up, activating a time door. The movie sends the pair swordfighting through movie after movie, cramming in tons of stuff.
It starts with Mark slipping into Mister Hyde's lair, where he fights Scarabus through the time door, while a confused beastly Hyde watches. Scary follows through the time door, and George returns to grab Sarah from behind.
The swordfight continues through another time door and leads the pair into a mall crowded with zombies, and people shooting at the undead. Mark is dressed up hilariously as John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever, and Scarabus in a jean jacket and bandana is even more laugh worthy. Not so much because the actor looks silly, but it's just out of place for the character.
Mark slices off a zombie's hand, and catches it. Thus the movie comes full circle, with a zombie hand to replace a zombie hand. I like the symmetry that the first one came from a Night of the Living Dead homage, and the replacement comes from a Dawn of the Dead send up.
Jack the Ripper is about to finish off his latest victim when he gets interupted by the time hopping duelists. Which gives us Scarabus in an eyepatch.
Just to make things all the more confounding, Mark kicks the Ripper away from the poor girl, and right into a time door. And he lands right in the middle of Nosferatu, complete with black and white footage, tinkly piano music, and even dialogue cards since the movie was in the silent movie era.
Mark and Scary fight their way casually through that movie and out the next time door, leaving Jack the Ripper behind to be eaten by the vampire.
Did...did this movie just try to explain the disappearance of the Ripper, and his murder spree stopping by saying he was kicked into another time?? But that can't be, Cartagra's not real! Although it is fun to say.
Meanwhile, the movie jumps our swordsmen over to Japan for a Godzilla flick. Complete with bad bowl haircuts, people screaming into the camera, a bad rubber monster, and bad, bad, BAD dubbing. If the first movie was insanely chaotic with its crazy fight between all the monsters, this single duel goes for broke and ups that crazy factor to 11.
Oh right, there's that other fight going on between Geoge and Sarah. He's easily got the upper hand, but she does something right and gets his knife out of his belt and buries it in George's back. Just in time for the boys to come home. Preceeded by a robot of some kind.
Scary gets the upper hand, until Mark shoves Handy 2.0 into his face, and the pair crash through a door. This sends Scarabus right into the waiting arms of the panther lady, and she gets to have her revenge as she executionals the villain.
With all the loose ends taken care of, and a new hand to show as evidence, Sarah is more than ready to get home, but Mark has yet to figure out Sir Wilfred's riddle of a clue. I'd complain about people being unable to speak plainly, but I'll let it slide from a dead man, and because he did say he was forbidden.
He recites the clue again for Sarah, who instantly recognises it as a quote from the Red Queen, which Mark can all of a sudden identify as a character from Through the Looking Glass. He must have taken some time out to do a lot of reading in all his unseen journeys.
They find a mirror, activate the compass, but they can't just make their escape. No, they have to be assaulted by the guard that got facebooked by Mark, looking like he instead had his face sucked on by the Necronomicon. Sarah again saves the day when she grabs his flail and cracks him in the head with it.
They try to run through the time door, but bounce right off of it. Mark the genius says it must be smaller now, and only one of them can go through. Why do they have to go through side by side? Why not single file? Or maybe they should've found a larger mirror in the first place? Such a forced way to make them choose.
Sarah is ok with staying, wants to even, but Mark says she'd never be happy there. Sarah tells him she'd be happy anywhere so long as he's there, and in the most self-deprecating reply ever, Mark says that she is so wrong. Wow. Low self-esteem much? Can you imagine having that conversation with the person you like?
"I love you!" "No you don't."
Maybe Mark just knows people can't be happy when he's there. Whatever it is, he gives her the hand, and sends her on the way through the time door so she can work out that whole trial thing.
Sarah lands back at Sir Wilfred's, and finally gets the chance to pull back the covering on the painting of a knight, revealing it was Mark all along. At least it wasn't some other perverted historical figure for her to get all gooey over. Although, we don't know that much about Mark, so who knows?
Hey, if Cartagra is a seperate universe from this one, then how can an old painting of him be in this world? Is it too late for logic checks?
With Handy 2.0 sitting there in a hamster cage, Sarah actually manages to use it as real evidence and get out of the murder charges. Although, she was responsible for the fires, but nevermind that. But yes, they actually presented a real live zombie hand as evidence in a murder trial. That's whole new levels of weird. But not time travelling through your own foetus weird.
Sarah gets led from the courtroom by a police escort, into the waiting arms of the press. Which is understandable. If I saw a trial get tossed out over a zombie hand, I'd have a few questions myself! The implications of this happening in the real world are mind boggling.
An older man breaks through the crowd to give Sarah a package. He explains he's from one of the oldest delivery companies in the world, the package has been in their care longer than he can remember, and he has instructions to deliver it to her on this day. Yes, we've all seen Back to the Future 2.
Inside the package is a compass, with the message, "Join me." But...Cartagra isn't...not the...this is the real world...and its... Zzzffftttt.
Yet another Waxwork movie that can't follow its own rules, and things were so promising.
As she's getting into a cab, a reporter asks her what she's going to do now. Rather than say she's going to Disneyworld, which would have made me giggle, Sarah just says she's going back. Which makes me wonder how much she told in the trial, making her story even crazier. Anyways, that line ends the movie, but not their adventures.
The credits roll over an amazingly cheeseball rap song that's actually about the movie. Someone managed to turn the story of this movie into a semi-coherent rap song. I'm loathe to admit it, bu the song's actually catchy. 15 years since I first saw the movie, and the song still gets stuck in my head. The song and credits run over footage from the movie, like an instant rerun, cut with shots of the singer rapping in sets used in the film, and sometimes during filming or on breaks. It's like the cliffnotes in music form. There's even a number of shots of the cast dancing in the background. Watching Sarah and Scarabus boogie down in the banquet hall is a sight to behold, and just...bizarre.
With the declaration that this movie was "Filmed entirely in the 4th Dimension!" it must be time for...
Video: Same as the first movie, obviously. The quality is a little better, since the movie is a little bit newer. Solid images, nice colours, wish it was widescreen.
Audio: Again, same as the first movie. Solid stereo mix, not bad for where it came from.
Special Features: A whole other movie, called Waxwork! In other words, nothin'.
First Kill: Following in the footsteps of the original, but taking a little more time, Sarah's stepfather gets offed in a respectable five minute timeframe from the start of the movie. Or, if you choose, a crapload of people buy it from the first movie pretty much from the opening moment.
Best Kill: There are a lot of memorable deaths in this movie, and it's almost hard to pick, I am so spoiled for choice. But a clear winner does sneak out from the pack with Frankenstein's death. His head gets squeezed for a good couple of minutes, and every single spare piece that could pop out of that skull does just that. It's a wonder to behold.
Blood Type: If Waxwork the first had a lot of blood, this movie brings even more buckets to the party. There's so much blood the movie could almost have been filmed entirely in Red-o-vision. It's kept to a few scenes, but what there is, there's a lot of it. There's also some gruesome scenes that are less blood filled, and I give a special shout out to the panther transformation which isn't gory, but still creeps me out to this day.
Sex Appeal: Well, Monika is pretty to look at, and Zach's not to bad on the eyes either. But aside from a few women chained to walls, this movie is pretty light on the titilation.
Ratings: This movie definitely isn't quite the normal fit for this site. It's not exactly horror, although there are horror elements, and a good number of outright horror homages throughout the film, but it's hardly a scary movie, or even close to one. But then, what could you possibly classify this movie as, other than cinema chaosiae? We've got horror, suspense, scifi, fantasy, LOTS of comedy, even romance, and yes it even gives us some drama. But it's also pretty cheesy, and it has a ton of blood, and it's also an inspiration for this site existing, so it had to be reviewed. And since I did the first one, I couldn't leave this one out, even if they are so wildly different in tone.
For the actual movie, well...I've said it before, but Waxwork 2 is all over the place, and it's really not the better for it. They crammed everything into this movie, including the kitchen sink. I think their reach far exceeded their grasp. That said, there is a decent enough plot idea in there somewhere, and it is pretty clever and unique, so while there's a ton of flaws and logic issues, I'd still lean towards giving it a three out of five squished heads.
Oh, but for the fun value, this movie is hard to beat. The jokes and silliness come left and right, and just don't let up. Everyone was in on the joke and runs with it to the bitter end. Watching this movie with a group of friends is a real treat, and its fun to just try and pick out all the references. I'm still finding new ones. The movie's far from perfect, but it's just so damned fun, I have to give it a four out of five different personalities.
And before this review gets away from me any more and gets even longer than it already tediously is, I must be off. Cartagra awaits!