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The F*cking Black Sheep: Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992)

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We’re hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

WAXWORK II: LOST IN TIME (1992)

DIRECTED BY ANTHONY HICKOX

Hey now, where’s all my fellow WAXWORK fans at? Yeah, well, if you raised your hand and happen to be in the NYC area next week, do wise and be sure to scope the flick on the big-screen during an event at Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn. The event is programmed by yours truly, AITH.com (GET ALL THE DETAILS HERE). Indeed, one of the reasons WAXWORK is being screened at the event next week, aside from being a very solid standalone late 80s horror flick, is that WAXWORK turned 30 years old less than a month ago. Seriously, what better way to celebrate said landmark anniversary then by eyeballing the flick in the theater with fellow adoring fans?

Oh, I know. The only thing better than WAXWORK is Anthony Hickox’s hilariously heartfelt ode to horror of yore in his four-year follow-up, WAXWORK II: LOST IN TIME. Obviously meant as unabashedly fun-loving horror homage…a parodic send-up to damn near every supernatural genre under the sun: mad-scientist, zombie, vampire, space-alien, haunted house, slasher-serial killer, etc. I really never understood why LOST IN TIME was so poorly received by not just the general filmgoing public, but perhaps even more so among OG WAXWORK fans. Yes, WAXWORK II pushes the campy B-grade humor sci-fi kitsch further than its predecessor, but so what. There’s no way in a flame roasted hell, given the veritable cloaca of unwatchable 80s horror sequels, that LOST IN TIME should have suffered a paltry direct-to-video release. Straight up, if ever there was a F*cking Black Sheep of a horror sequel, WAXWORK II: LOST IN TIME is it!

Just as we recently praised Don Coscarelli or taking ample time to conceive of and properly pen PHANTASM II, we should similarly extol Anthony Hickox for taking four years to do the same with WAXWORK II: LOST IN TIME. Despite its low budget and overt B-movie tableau, nothing about LOST IN TIME feels rushed or existent only as a means of cashing in on its predecessor. In fact, that Hickox went so wildly off-the-rails into the realm of the humorously absurd – something the original touched on but never went full bore – really ought to be commended. He didn’t simply recreate what worked well in his original. It seems that, as a genuine horror fan himself, he was far more intent on recapturing specific horror subgenres and waggishly toying with the expectations therein. You can tell Hickox is having an absolute ball with his amalgamated pastiche of differing horror epochs, and what’s more, he’s calling you to have just as much fun while watching it. WAXWORK II is a damn good time from start to finish, mainly because Hickox is in on his own jokes, and because we’re sent to a new time period ever few minutes. This shite’s WAXWORK meets BILL AND TED!

Here’s the deal. Mark (Zach Galligan in a f*cked up farrago of hairpieces) and Sarah (this time played by Monika Schnarre) survive the waxwork museum inferno that ended the first flick. When Sarah is followed by a severed hand, playing to everything from THE ADDAM’S FAMILY, to THE HAND to FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH, it brutally waylays her odious step-father in a brilliant tone-setting blend of humor and horror (the FX of the severed hand hold up quite well by the way). Mark and Sarah then get a clue from Sir Wilfred (Patrick Macnee) to enter a time portal through a certain mirror (a la Alice through the looking glass). Once they do, they’re whisked from one horrific time-period to the next, squaring off with infamous characters such as Dr. Frakenstein, Jack the Ripper, and Nosferatu, to more contemporary genre-monsters inspired by the likes of ALIEN, DAWN OF THE DEAD, and a shite load of others. It’s a goddamn blast!

One of my favorite sent-up set-pieces takes into the black and white tableau of classics like THE HAUNTING and THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL. Mark, donning a ludicrous Zack Morris wig, is met by John Loftmore (good old Bruce Campbell) as one of the fellow guests tasked with proving the presence of the paranormal. One thing leads to another, and soon John is getting his chest-boned pecked to skeletal viscera by ravenous bird. Gnarly to look at, yes, but hilarious in the way Campbell plays it straight, acting as if nothing is at all wrong with him. It’s silly beyond belief, but genuinely funny and morbidly macabre at the same time.

Crosscut with this scene is one aboard a spaceship, in which Sarah gets unceremoniously stuck. This one mordantly lampoons ALIEN and all of its many imitations and off-shoots, as a salvage mission populated by bunch of macho idiots and lead by a kickass androgynous woman (a la Ripley) must fight off a nastily perverted space-alien. The first part of the scene is hysterical in the way in nails the tone and dialogue of arguing crewmates. But it’s the second part of the scene later in the movie that presents the scariest, most authentically unnerving part of WAXWORK II. When Sarah is unsuspectingly attacked by a disgusting alien-beast that slithers its way out of the tongue of one of her infested colleagues, I recoil in terror every time. It’s that well executed!

Another sequence that is expertly realized, if overstaying its welcome a bit, is when Mark and Sarah travel to medieval times. Not only is the baddie Scarabis introduced, played menacingly by Alexander Godunov (Karl from DIE HARD), we also get to see the late great David Carradine play a beggar. Of course, the real madness comes when we’re treated to a baleful brand of bestial black magic when a shadowy cabal of robed figures forces a woman to have sex with a black panther. Shite’s wild, especially in the nasty CAT PEOPLE offspring that is produced. Also, here’s a little known fact: Drew Barrymore filmed a cameo during this elongated sequence, having been a longtime friend of Hickox. Watch the flick again and see if you can spot her in the crowd.

We could go on, but we’ll wrap up by adding one last reason why WAXWORK II deserves more love. The ending of the film was actually meant for the original WAXWORK. Hickox did not have enough time or money to bring the ending to fruition, which is why he hastily changed the script to feature the huge battle sequence. Hickox loved the idea though and recycled it for the ending of LOST IN TIME. For those few who haven’t seen WAXWORK II, we’ll let you discover said ending on your own. And no, we’re not talking about that epic rap song by The L.A. Posse, although that shite’s an absolute heater too. A true F*cking Black Sheep right here…WAXWORK II does not deserve to be LOST IN TIME!

STREAM WAXWORK II: LOST IN TIME HERE

GET WAXWORK: LOST IN TIME ON BLU-RAY HERE

Extra Tidbit: Thoughts on WAXWORK II?
Source: AITH

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