Lucio Fulci, the acclaimed “Italian Godfather of Gore” was not doing great health wise in the early 90’s so Dario Argento wanted to help him make another great film. The decided on a quasi-remake of The House of Wax. Dario was finishing up a film while doing pre-production on what would be titled The Wax Mask so it took them longer than expected to be ready to shoot. Unfortunately during this time period Fulci passed away. Dario ended up bringing in Sergio Stivaletti, a special effect artist to direct the film, while he stayed on to produce and help oversee. On a side note, this Blu-ray I am reviewing from Severin has some amazing behind the scenes interviews that talks about all this. Its quiet fascinating to say the least.
Set in 1900 The Wax Mask opens with a hooded killer murdering a young couple with a metal claw. He tears them up good rips off a hand and cuts out a heart. While he is doing this he doesn’t notice their young daughter hiding watching all of this unfold. Cut to 20 years later and the girl, Sonia is all grown up and trying to get a job at the new wax museum as a costume designer. The owner and his assistant find her beautiful and hire her on the spot.
The museum features crime scenes displayed complete with all the blood and gore intact. One of them strangely resembles her parents murder. We cut to a couple guys at a whore house betting who can spend the night in the creepy wax museum. The one man takes the bet, sneaks in and dies from what seems to be shear fright. Now the local police cannot figure out what happened, let alone who or what may have caused this, but a young reporter named Andrea seems to think the museum may have something to do with it. He goes hoping to interview the director but instead meets Sonia. The two naturally fall in love. As all of this is happening more and more people begin disappearing and the Wax Museum starts getting more and more displays. Sonia is not only sure that they are behind the disappearances, but she thinks it is also linked to the murder of her parents.
This is a different type of film. Its not standard slasher fair like we see here in the states, nor is it a Giallo film like Argento is so well known for. Its more of a classic Hammer film meets the Terminator with the House of Wax Plot used as a backdrop. Yes I said the Terminator. Now I don’t mean any of that in a bad way. This is a really underrated slow burn horror film that features an amazing score and really well done special effects. There’s plenty of blood and gore for the gore hounds, and enough twists and turns for horror and suspense fans as well.
Severin has done it again with an amazing transfer. I have a couple Blu-ray’s of this film already, but I must say this is the best transfer I have scene. The film looks and sound amazing. All the dark colors are gorgeous and never deepened with that horrible Blue tint. Everything is crisp and clear from bright fire and blood, to dark dimly lit streets. Throw in an amazing pulse pounding score booming from your speakers and you have an amazing atmospheric picture in front of you. Not only did Severin do an amazing transfer they absolutely loaded this release with Special Features.
Audio Commentary with Director/Special Effects Artist Sergio Stivaletti and Michelangelo Stivaletti
Beyond Fulci: Interviews with Producer Dario Argento, Director Sergio Stivaletti, Producer Giuseppe Columbo, Production Designer Massimo Geleng, Actress Gabriella Giorgelli and Filmmaker Claudio Fragasso
The Chamber of Horrors: Interviews with Producer Dario Argento, Director Sergio Stivaletti, Producer Giuseppe Columbo, Production Designer Massimo Geleng and Actress Gabriella Giorgelli
Living Dolls: Interviews with Producer Dario Argento, Director Sergio Stivaletti, Producer Giuseppe Columbo and Actress Gabriella Giorgelli
The Mysteries of the Wax Museum: Interview with SFX Artist Sergio Stivaletti
The Waxworks Symphony: Interview with Soundtrack Composer Maurizio Abeni
The Grand Opening: Interviews with Producer Dario Argento, Director Sergio Stivaletti and Producer Giuseppe Columbo
Wax Unmasked: Interview with Film Writer Alan Jones
Vintage Featurettes: Behind the Scenes, Special Effects, On Set with Dario Argento
5.1 and 2.0 English and Italian Audio
English with Closed Captioning, Italian with English Subtitles
This is one of the last great pieces of atmospheric horror I have seen from Italy, and this transfer just makes it all the better. Horror fans and film fans alike should view this film. Add it to your collection today.
Overall 4 out of 4 Stars!