Monday, February 9, 2015

Nightmare in Wax - 1969

Now here is a horror movie that was simply a chore.  I approach most of these from the real movie standpoint, which is perhaps where I am going wrong I realize.  This movie, albeit bad, probably is an excellent movie to riff on with friends.  But as a real movie, devoid of friends with which to riff on it, and sitting there wondering how this would be entertaining, it is bad.  Bad, bad, bad.

Director Bud Townsend is the same guy who directed Alice in Wonderland: And X Rated Musical Fantasy!  I've always wanted to see that.  And this movie did had Cameron Mitchell from Space Mutiny in it.  So it does have that.  Plus, it obviously got some money thrown in it's general direction, it has like 500 times the budget of Oasis of the Zombies.  Plus, I think if I were in the right mood, maybe with a 40 and a full pipe o' weed, and maybe with some friends or something, this would be a fun thing to watch.

Cameron Mitchell plays Vincent Renard, the owner and sculptor of a wax museum.  He creates incredibly lifelike wax figures of people.  Turns out he is also a killer!  He has been offing people by injecting them with some sort of substance that makes their body freeze.  He then proudly displays them in his museum, claiming they are a wax figure instead of a real person.  In the meantime, that person he's injected is under his complete control; they must do everything he says.

Renard is a disfigured man.  He has burns on his face and he's missing an eye.  We understand that this is due to a guy his ex-wife was dating, who threw flammable alcohol on Renard as he was lighting up a cigarette!  Holy fucking shit!  For some insane reason that guy who burned Renard is still not in jail and still with Renard's ex, and Renard's ultimate goal here is to make that guy suffer, turn him into a wax figure.  Plus, Renard wants to kill his ex, and a ditzy girl he meets at a club, and maybe throw in some others, as a bonus.

This movie is just incredibly badly written.  The dialogue is insufferably bad and forced, it does not sound real or clever.  The tension is undercut and destroyed by lack of understanding as to what is happening, who is where and what's going on.  There's a really long chase sequence where Renard is chasing this girl Theresa.  It is just SO bad.  It's one of those where the killer (in this case Renard) is always one step ahead of the girl.

First Renard is literally just in front of her, all the time, from scene to scene.  It's like, she'll turn and he's there laughing, and then she'll turn the other way and he's there.  Then run up the stairs and he's at the top of them.  There's a fucking scene where he lowers from the ceiling! How in the world did he get up there?!  He was just in the other room!  It's too dumb to be believed.  It's like they want us to laugh at it.

Which I could accept except just looking at it you know they took it seriously.  It wants to be creepy and weird.  It wants to be good.  It's just bad though.  Speaking of Theresa, when Renard meets her...oh man.  A scene I would not want to re-watch.  I couldn't tell what they were going for.  If they wanted it to be smart, it was a total failure.  If they wanted it to be funny, they don't understand humor, and possibly don't understand English.  It's confusing, annoying, badly done, and not well acted to boot.  I would describe what happens, but then I'd have to go watch it again.  If you see the movie, it's the bar scene.

I may have just not been in the mood.  This could be one where I eventually redo the review, but I doubt it.  For now, 2 stars is more than enough.  For the sets, if nothing else.  At least they got a cool looking place to film.  And because I might watch it, on some sleepy Sunday night or something, and enjoy it more.

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