A slight improvement on the badly structured original, WAXWORK II briefly suggests how the two films' basic idea might really have worked. Unfortunately, it only proves that the best use of the format would be as a brief series of sketches, not a full-length film.
The movie opens with heroes Mark Loftmore (Zach Galligan) and Sarah (Monika Schnarre, replacing Deborah Foreman) escaping the burning wax museum where several of their friends had been sucked into the horrific displays and killed. They don't notice a living, crawling hand following them out, and
it soon turns up at Sarah's home and bludgeons her father to death with a hammer. She manages to dispose of the murderous appendage bloodily in the garbage disposal, but that leaves her with nothing to back up her story when she's arrested for the murder.
The beleagured couple go looking for helpful evidence at the home of Sir Wilfred (Patrick Macnee), the occult expert who died in the previous adventure, where a home-movie message instructs them to use a time portal to stop the evil that still threatens Earth.
Using a sort of compass that guides them to time holes, Mark and Sarah first wind up as players in a Frankenstein story, where Mark grabs the doctor's book on life restoration that he believes can help exonerate Sarah. "Think about it," he explains in a typical line of dialogue. "If we can
reanimate dead flesh, then the prosecution's case is out the window!"
Pretty soon the pair are separated; Mark winds up in a haunted-house homage to THE HAUNTING, complete with b&w photography and another masochistic role for EVIL DEAD star Bruce Campbell, while Sarah is thrust into the Sigourney Weaver role in an ALIENS takeoff. Mark appears in time to rescue her
from the space beast, and the couple are then transported into a medieval setting, where Sarah is kidnapped by knights under the command of the sorcerer Scarabus (Alexander Godunov). He's got an evil plan to use black magic to impersonate King Arthur (John Ireland) and seize command of his
kingdom, but after much drawn-out intrigue, Mark manages to expose his evil intentions.
He gets into a duel to the death with the evil magician, and the two wind up jumping quickly through several successive scenarios: Jekyll and Hyde's laboratory; a shopping mall inhabited by DAWN OF THE DEAD-style zombies (where Mark slices off and retrieves an undead hand); Victorian London, where
Jack the Ripper is claiming another victim; a bedroom terrorized by Nosferatu (in which the Ripper winds up trapped); and finally Japan under attack by Godzilla.
Returning to Arthur's castle, Mark finally manages to defeat Scarabus, but when he and Sarah go to use the one time door that can take them home, only one of them will fit. Giving Sarah the zombie hand for evidence, Mark forces her to leave him and return home to exonerate herself. That she does,
and as she leaves the courthouse an innocent woman, she is approached by a delivery man, who has a package that's been waiting for her for a very long time. It turns out to be another time compass, complete with a note from Mark to "Join Me"--which she does.
The late-coming sequence in which Mark and Scarabus's duel takes them through the montage of brief spoofs--complete with jumpy b&w photography in the NOSFERATU scene and bad dubbing in the Godzilla homage--is the best thing about WAXWORK II, since it allows each parody to make its simple point
quickly before the transition to the next. The rest of the film, unfortunately, is fatally drawn out, with a wildly uneven mixture of tones.
Although, for the most part, the longer segments are played straight (complete with graphic gore, torture and sleazy attempted rape scenes), encoring writer- director Anthony Hickox peppers the film with dumb, sitcom-level humor and gags. The spoofy touches even extend to the music; when Sarah
fights off the crawling hand that has murdered her father (an ostensibly serious battle), and the thing throws hot dog buns at her, strains of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" are heard on the soundtrack.
The movie also relies way too much on coincidence and the characters' stupidity to keep the story moving. Mark is forever picking up and losing artifacts that could help his and Sarah's situation, and the rules of time-jumping are haphazardly presented; when Hickox finds himself in an expository
corner, he simply has Sir Wilfred, in the guise of a raven, turn up to help Mark out. (In one of the screenplay's many awkward lines, he refers to the time-hopping scenario as "God's Nintendo game.") And the movie never explains how, if the the characters are supposed to be traveling through
different historical eras, they wind up consorting with so many fictional characters.
Unfortunately, WAXWORK II: LOST IN TIME ends up little more than a good idea that needed a steadier hand at the helm. (Excessive violence, profanity, sexual situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: A slight improvement on the badly structured original, WAXWORK II briefly suggests how the two films' basic idea might really have worked. Unfortunately, it only proves that the best use of the format would be as a brief series of sketches, not a full-leng… (more)
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