Step into the
Void Vault! The time (traveling) has come for the doors to the NOFS Video Vault to open again… or has it? Perhaps they have already opened and you have been here before doing the exact same thing you’re doing now. Or perhaps this hasn’t happened yet and you have somehow slipped down an interdimensional wormhole and entered into another time. A time where your doppelganger visited the NOFS Video Vault and had this very same conversation with my doppelganger about this exact same topic! Either way, one can never be completely sure if where we are standing is indeed the present, the past or the future.
Doppelgangers and inter-dimensional time-travel aside, I have a film for you that taps into the very notion that it is perhaps possible to slip through the rifts of time and space and visit other worlds. This month’s feature presentation is an ambitious horror/comedy/fantasy that bends the boundaries of time and plunges you into a wacky world full of homages and cameos. Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the wax museum, I give you Waxwork 2: Lost in Time (1992)!
Back of The Box Overview
A sequel to Waxwork (1988), Part 2 focuses on lovers Mark Loftmore and Sarah Brightman as they flee through centuries on a time-traveling trip of terror in a showdown with the demon lord Scarabis. If Mark doesn’t succeed in defeating the despicable demon, Sarah may be doomed to her death in the electric chair for a past murder she didn’t commit.
Zach Galligan (Gremlins, 1984) returns as Mark Loftmore, the same dude from the original movie who, in this installment, is trying to clear his girl’s name of a murder she had no “hand” in committing. Of course, the girl in question is Sarah Brightman, also from the original film but recast in this one with supermodel Monika Schnarre (Warlock: The Armageddon, 1993). Once the couple comes across a compass that can transport people through time, they meet a whole host of characters along the way.
Baron Von Frankenstein played by Martin Kemp (Embrace of the Vampire, 1995) and his monster played by the late Stefanos Miltsakakis (Cyborg, 1989) show up, King Arthur played by John Ireland (Terror Night, 1987) makes an appearance and even Godzilla (Gojira, 1954) as himself stomps through a sequence in this one! The rest of the main cast is a veritable whose who of 80s/90s genre moviedom with Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, 1981) as John Loftmore, Drew Barrymore (Firestarter, 1984) slums it as Vampire Victim #1, the late David Carradine (Trick or Treats, 1982) panhandles as The Beggar, Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3, 2009) plays Gloria, Michael Des Barres (Ghoulies, 1985) plays George and the late Alexander Godunov (Die Hard, 1988) plays Scarabis, the villainous demon.
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Go Direct To Home Video, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200
Waxwork II: Lost in Time began filming on April 29th, 1991 with principal photography wrapping on June 1st, 1991. The movie was largely shot on location in Los Angeles, California with some scenes shot in Toronto, Canada.
While the first Waxwork film wasn’t a huge box office smash, it had a decent home video return, enough for the production team and director Hickox to come back for Part 2. The first film also had a theatrical release, though it was limited. But it was clear from preproduction onward that the sequel would be a direct-to-video release.
A Waxy Reception
It didn’t take long to see that Waxwork II: Lost in Time didn’t have the same allure as its predecessor. The film’s time-traveling gimmicks and homages to films like The Shining (1980), Nosferatu (1922), The Legend of Hell House (1973), The Haunting (1963), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 & 1978), and even Monthy Python and the Holy Grail (1975) couldn’t save the film. Cameos from some Hollywood heavyweights as well didn’t have the pull to save it from the wreckage and despite the filmmaker’s efforts, the movie fell victim to the endless void that is direct-to-video purgatory where it was ultimately and ironically… lost in time.
That being said, it’s not all gloom and doom for the film because Hickox’s sequel certainly has its fans. In fact, most horror fans claim to enjoy the horror movie homages that litter the film with some even claiming that Part 2 is superior to Part 1. They seem to understand the tongue-in-cheek approach to the material where it was lost on others. Fans of this film are fans of the first and knowing the over the top, campy stylings established in that movie, it brought most onboard for the further adventures of Mark and Sarah in Part 2.
Time-Tripping Tidbits of Terror
It’s time to travel back in, well, time to the early 1990s when the film was being made and muse at some entertaining anecdotes that occurred during the making of this out of this world fright fest. Moments like when Drew Barrymore was given her cameo simply because she was a friend of director Hickox and she happened to visit the set one day. Or when Hickox also offered the role of Frankenstein’s Monster to Dolph Lundgren (Masters of the Universe, 1987) but the imposing Swede turned it down opening the door for Greek actor Miltsakakis to step into Frankie’s platform shoes.
Then there was that time when actress Deborah Foreman (April Fool’s Day, 1986) and Hickox were dating while working on Waxwork. They subsequently broke up in decidedly messy Hollywood fashion before the second movie was filmed forcing Foreman to decline the sequel. Oh and that one cast member from the first film that returned for the sequel, albeit as a different character. Actor Buckley Norris played the Nazi obsessed Lecturer from the first film and came back for Part 2 as the Judge. In fact, aside from the two Waxwork films, Norris made a bit of a career acting in originals and coming back for sequels as different people. He played Bob in Alligator (1980) and the returned as Doc in Alligator II: The Mutation (1991) and he also played a Reporter in The Hidden (1987) only to come back in The Hidden II in an unnamed role.
Say what you will about Waxwork II: Lost in Time, but the imagination and pure love of the genre are impossible to deny when watching this movie. Its heart is as big as its list of cameos and it delivers on multiple levels. While it may not be a flat out horror film, at its core its just as much a legit horror flick as any ever made. The homage sequences alone are worth the one hour and forty-four-minute runtime and if those don’t hook you, the familiar faces that are dotted throughout them will. This is a fun ride through a time when horror movies, in general, were in flux. After the decadence of the 1980s and before the sensible meta-horror of the mid-1990s, Waxwork II was launched into purgatory where horror films didn’t really have a place or an identity. They were as a mismatch of original ideas and dying franchises that floated around lost somewhere in the cross-over.
And that, as they say, is that! I trust you will take this home and watch it with bated breath as I’m sure you do with all of our recommendations. What’s that? You may have missed a couple here and there? Well, I have just the thing for you. Follow, like, share, maim, mutilate, or mangle us on Twitter, Reddit and the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook for all of the creepy recommendations, nauseating news, repugnant retrospectives, and of course the occasional human sacrifice. You’ll be glad you did. Until next time fellow fiends, stay creepy!