Combustible Celluloid
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With: Zach Galligan, Monika Schnarre, Martin Kemp, Bruce Campbell, Michael Des Barres, Jim Metzler, Sophie Ward, Marina Sirtis, Billy Kane, Joe Baker, Juliet Mills, John Ireland, Patrick Macnee, David Carradine, Alexander Godunov, George 'Buck' Flower, Drew Barrymore
Written by: Anthony Hickox
Directed by: Anthony Hickox
MPAA Rating: R for comic horror violence, and for language
Running Time: 104
Date: 03/01/1992

Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992)

3 Stars (out of 4)

A Trip Through the Video Store

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Waxwork II: Lost in Time is even sillier, more creative, and more elaborate than its predecessor, while at the same time making even less sense. It works better as a guilty pleasure, an artifact of a lost time, than it does any kind of well-made classic. It begins right as Waxwork (1988) leaves off. Mark (Zach Galligan) and Sarah (tall, lovely Monika Schnarre, taking over for Deborah Foreman) escape the burning wax museum, but Sarah is attacked by a stray, severed hand and is accused of murdering her stepfather. A recording of Sir Wilfred (Patrick Macnee) tells them about a time-medallion that opens doors to other times (actually alternate universes), where they might find something to help. From there, Mark and Sarah jump into worlds recalling or resembling Frankenstein, Robert Wise's The Haunting, and Alien, before landing in the movie's lengthiest episode, a kind of medieval adventure with magic and swords. At the climactic battle, there are further references to Jack the Ripper, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Dawn of the Dead, Nosferatu, Godzilla, and others. Through it all, the joking, smiling, good-hearted Mark learns to be a warrior.

Despite a kind of tentative touch by writer/director Anthony Hickox -- or perhaps it was just a low budget -- Waxwork II manages to be an early "meta-movie," a crude precursor to what Wes Craven would be doing a few years later. Yet it's more along the lines of goofy fun than it is a commentary or an essay on the nature of genre. (It's like a cinematic version of a video store.) Bruce Campbell is great in a black-and-white sequence as a ghost hunter. Look for David Carradine, and a brief, wordless cameo by Drew Barrymore in the Nosferatu sequence. The great John Ireland gave his last performance here. A hip-hop song by Dwayne 'Muffla' Simon and Darryl 'Big Dad' Pierce plays during the closing credits. In 2016, Lionsgate released it on a Blu-ray double bill with its original; extras include a commentary track by director Hickox and actor Galligan, a music video, a trailer, and a still gallery.

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