Waxwork II: Lost In Time (1992)

waxwork 2 lost in time

“Sarah and you have actually stumbled into God’s Nintendo game.”

The Scoop: 1992 R, directed by Alan Hickox and starring Zach Galligan, Monika Schnarre, and Martin Kemp

Tagline: A killer is waiting…In the past, present and future.

Summary Capsule: Teens battle bad horror movies through a time portal.

Justin’s rating: God Mode on N64

Justin’s review: Let’s get this out of the way first off: Waxwork II is not a great movie. It’s not a bad movie, unless you hate bad movies, which this spoofs, in which case you might think this is a bad movie. It’s kinda cool in parts, ridiculous in others, and the acting has to be smelled to be believed. But all in all, Waxwork II: Lost in Time is enough of a buffet of quirky ideas that it’s fairly easy to be entertained by the effort.

While Waxwork 2 is “technically” a sequel to Waxwork, that’s like saying Scotch tape is a sequel to duct tape just because both are sticky. Or something like that. Mark (Zach Galligan from Gremlins) and Sarah (Monika Schnarre) have somehow survived the burning inferno of the waxwork of the first film, but are followed by an amputated hand (Mr. Hand). After the hand kills Sarah’s evil stepfather, Sarah is blamed in court, and only a magical amulet that lets the teens cross time can prove her innocence.

This is, without a doubt, the weakest reason to plunge characters into time travel. Well, it’s not too bad if they could control where they’re sent. But they can’t, and instead of returning to the crime and taking a photo or two, they somehow get caught up in horror movie parodies (so it’s not actually traveling across time, per se, but celluloid instead). At least they’re just so genuinely goofy about the plot that it makes the sort of sense that’s easy to swallow with milk. What I love is that instead of letting the tenuous plot drop, they (as in the first film) spend a TON of screen time trying to explain it away through exposition. In Waxwork 2’s case, they use a talking raven that used to be Mark’s uncle to explain that all history is a massive Nintendo game between God and the devil. There’s also some sort of tie-in to Alice in Wonderland that is dropped mid-way through.

You can’t make up this stuff, at least not without licking toxic toads.

Mark and Sarah are incredibly dimwitted, and it’s only through the use of some clever parodies does this film obtain ha-ha quality. There’s an inspired Alien ripoff, a cool bit with Frankenstein getting really gory, and a trip back through memory lane with a remake of the mall/zombie scene from Dawn of the Dead. While some of these parodies drag on, there’s a lot of fun bits that more than make up for it. Waxwork 2 owes a huge debt to Evil Dead 2, with it using a rogue hand (down to the hand throwing all sorts of junk at the good guy), a flying eyeball (or brain this time), a geyser of blood, and even a cameo of that ultra-manly star, Bruce Campbell. Bruce returns as John Loftmore, a professor in a Poltergeist/Legend of Hell House clip. Nothing huge, but he does get a few good scenes and laughs, and it just made my day to see him here. Two years later, Campbell would return in the third Evil Dead movie.

It’s a lot of fake gore, and a lot of real camp. There are parts that drag and drag, but you must endure to get to the final “movie jumping” scene that’s plain awesome (New! Plain Awesome! Now in six varieties!). Waxwork 2 doesn’t break any new ground, but it manages to retread old paths with tongue in cheek and Frankenstein’s hand through gut.

Ash gets his due

Intermission!

  • Product placement wasn’t available, so the modern characters drink cans labeled “BEER” (like Repo Man)
  • Once again, a two-pound hand proves more than a match for two grown adults.
  • “It’s only a flesh wound” – reference to the classic line in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • 200 people were reported to be killed at the Waxwork (from the first movie)
  • Mark and his dead uncle talk to each other over the film reel
  • Drew Barrymore has a cameo as a vampire victim
  • Some of the artifacts in Nigel’s closet include: Jason’s bloody hockey mask, an “ex-living dead”, silver bullets, Van Helsing’s stake, the Ark of the Covenant box from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the time door opener
  • What’s-her-name, Counselor Troi from Star Trek, has a cameo in the haunted house scene
  • The blood river coming out from the door is a direct reference to The Shining
  • In the courtroom, Sarah sketches a hanging girl; later this vision comes directly to life
  • Bruce gets a bag of salt thrown on his gaping chest wound, followed with a flask of vinegar
  • No matter what costume he’s in, Mark is always wearing the same T-shirt (with the letters OTE showing)
  • The dumb guards are another homage to Holy Grail
  • The “oldest delivery service” that gives Sarah a package is a blatant reference to the same plot device at the beginning of Back to the Future part III
  • At the end of the credits, it says “Filmed entirely in the 4th Dimension”
  • This movie spoofs: The Haunting, The Legend of Hell House, The Shining, Alien, The Masque of the Red Death, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jack the Ripper, Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, Dawn of the Dead, Gojira, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Saturday Night Fever, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Frankenstein.
  • Sean: Here’s a scary thought, folks. Reprising his role as Sir Wilfred from Waxwork I is Patrick MacNee, who is most known for playing John Steed in the BBC cult series, “The Avengers.” Now he plays a talking raven who says, “Sarah and you have stumbled into God’s Nintendo game.” Not to mention the fact that Keith Carradine (Caine from “Kung Fu”) has another bit role as a beggar who gives our hero a sword. *sigh* Sad, isn’t it?

Groovy Quotes:

John: Read directly to the bones… page 210, chapter 13, verse 7.
Mark: Ecapsmi evig nig inglock…
John: Douglas, the book is upside down.

Mark: I have to go.
John: Where to?
Mark: You wouldn’t understand. You be alright?
[John is hanging on a cross with his chest torn open]
John: Oh. Sure. It’s only a flesh wound.

Stepfather: Precious friggin daughter! It’s three o-friggin-clock in the morning!

Mark: [yelling in a courtroom] Sarah didn’t kill anyone, you IDIOT!

Uncle Nigel: [speaking from a recorded film reel] More importantly, Mark, I’ve left this all to you.
Mark: You did?
Uncle Nigel: Yes!

Crew member: [sees alien] Eat lead, tribble!

Mark: [chained in prison, with a metal mask on his head] One billion bottles of beer on the wall, one billion bottles of beer…

Raven: Sarah and you have actually stumbled into God’s Nintendo game.

Raven: Remember, it is one of the greatest privileges ever to be chosen as a Time Warrior!
Mark: You mean he, I mean God, wants me to be a Time Warrior?

SWAT soldier #1: Who are they?
SWAT soldier #2: Whoever they are, they’re bad.
SWAT soldier #3: Word.

Mark: [subtitled in the Nosferatu scene] Bloody hell!

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