Bad Movies Beware!
Back into the Gorehouse Greats!
In case you don’t remember, or are just recently joining in on the horrors that I display here, Gorehouse Greats is a DVD collection straight out of the $5 bin and wherever the hell my in-laws were Christmas shopping at the given moment in time. I got it a few years ago and plowed through quite a number of movies off of it. But, I never got around to a few and figured I’d dive back in and see what I could find.
Because I’m a masochist like that, and apparently, I hate my eyes.
Nightmare in Wax comes from Crown International Studios, which was run by the former branch head of RKO, Newton Jacobs. During the Howard Hughes years, RKO became notorious for coming up with film titles, handing them to directors, and saying, “Here, make me a movie with this title.” Often, the movies had NOTHING to do with the titles. While this movie isn’t quite guilty of that, it IS a true nightmare to watch.
So let’s get rolling!!
Nightmare in Wax is a story about a love triangle between Vince, Max, and Marie. And then, there’s Tony.
He doesn’t do much.
Vince is head of the local wax museum and an effects expert. Max is a producer and is as slimy as it gets. Marie is the young beautiful starlet to be married to Tony, but Tony vanishes, and the police are clueless as to his whereabouts.
In fact, they’re all fairly clueless. Except Vince. Vince knows what’s up.
As it turns out, some of Vince’s wax statues aren’t statues at all. They’re people he’s taken revenge on by injecting them with a hypnosis serum and posing them in the museum as wax statues. He’s decided to do the same thing to Tony.
This all goes down in the first act.
The police come and question Vince, but he manages to steer them clear. We also notice that Vince as some putty on his face and wears an eye patch. Funny story told via one of many flashbacks: Vince and Marie used to be an item (ew). Problem was, Max and Marie ALSO used to be an item (no really, EW). Marie tells Max that she and Vince are to be married, and Max throws liquor in Vince’s face while Vince lights a cigar. Vince catches fire, and the result is a bad eye and a scar on his face that comes off every other scene.
I can’t make this up.
Vince McFlappy-Scar makes statues out of Marie’s former lovers after she and him called it quits, which is what makes what he’s dong significant. It’s all out of revenge. Because damn, dude. I mean seriously, is there anyone at Paragon Studios (the fictional studio Max runs) that Marie HASN’T slept with?!
I wish I could do a good synopsis of this film, but it jumps all over the place. The serum is perfect, but it’s not because electrical interference makes it wear off. But it’s perfect. But Vince has to re-inject the victims regularly. But it’s perfect.
At one point, we meet Theresa, a Go-Go dancer who believes she’s involved with Vince. She feeds the stereotype of the Go-Go dancer to the point of overdoing it: overly affectionate, doe-eyed, and dumb as a meat suit at a vegan convention. She serves no purpose other than to have a chase scene so we can see Vince stalk and kill her, then make out with her corpse while he leads the cops on a “high-speed” car chase that makes Granny look like she’s gearing up for the next Fast and Furious movie.
No, really: the movie is a hot mess. Let’s just skip to the ending.
The ending makes absolutely NO sense whatsoever. Vince’s statues come to life while Vince chases Marie around after she discovers that Vince has Tony and is making him into a statue. Haskell, one of the cops, bursts in, and Vince has his statue people attack him. They start to come around, and Vince tries to dump Max into the vat of wax. Max starts to laugh at him, and Vince goes snowflake and can’t take it. He ends up falling into the vat of wax and is haunted by a vision of everyone in the cast standing over the vat laughing hysterically at him while he drowns.
The End. The messy, nonsensical, WAY out of left field end.
VERDICT: WHAT HAPPENED?!
No, seriously: what the hell just happened? What was Bud Townsend thinking while he was shooting this? Did he have a little kitty in his ear the whole time telling him that everything was fabulous? That he was making a masterpiece?
All movies are supposed to have an unlikable character or two. NONE of the characters in this s**t show are likable. Even Theresa, who is the clueless damsel in distress, is so utterly annoying that I ended up rooting for Vince when he was chasing her around the museum. Marie can’t help but to date or be in love with SOMEONE, and Tony…yeah, he really doesn’t do much. He appears during his and Marie’s engagement party in the beginning, and then doesn’t really come back around until we see that Vince has to keep up on the serum to keep his victims from waking back up.
The sound is awful. The dialogue is canned, the music is mundane and boring, and the sound effects are indicative of a crash studio set up in someone’s garage. The effects are laughable, the most notable being Vince’s scar that just can’t seem to stay on for the duration of any given scene. It seriously looks like someone took Play-Doh and smeared it on his face. The more he talks or shows any facial expression, the more it peels off.
The acting is atrocious except for the two principle characters, Vince and Marie. Cameron Mitchell and Anne Helm (respectively) really do a lot with the weak dialogue they’re given, and it’s a real show of talent when you can take crappy writing and do something with it (Bob Hoskins, you were the ONLY thing good about Super Mario Bros. RIP, good sir). Theresa is over-played to the point of absurdity, and Max is likely one of the weakest characters in the film next to the detectives.
This movie is supposed to be a take on House of Wax, the 1953 film starring Vincent Price. Crown International was trying hard to give the old film the Hammer (Studios) treatment, but fell short by a longshot. Hammer’s Horror of Dracula was a timeless landmark.
Nightmare in Wax was underwear skid-marked so bad it looked like someone filtered coffee through it.
I’m slapping it with the full six Piles of S**t. If you want to give it a look, feel free. It’s about as entertaining to watch as an anal probe with a spinning cactus.