Wax Works - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Wax Works Reviews

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July 24, 2013
Movies that are based on short vignettes are difficult because each story has to be interesting on its own merit yet still be able to tell a complete story. On paper each vignettes sounds awesome (titled Harun Al-Rashid, Ivan the Terrible, and Jack the Ripper) but somehow fails in execution. Jack the Ripper's story is only 6min long while the other two have 40min of screen time to get fleshed out. As a whole it feels incomplete.
May 9, 2005
There's some dispute as to whether this one belongs in the horror genre. I believe it is a loose fit, as the framing story is set among a display of wax figures in a carnival. There's something inherently creepy about wax figures, and I've come to the conclusion, based on The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, the various films of Tod Browning and the assorted works of Dean Koontz, that there's something altogether sinister about carnivals too.
If you don't know the story, a writer is hired to write stories to accompany a series of wax figures. In each story, he casts himself and the sculptor's daughter as a couple.
When the first figure's arm accidentally breaks off, he decides to write the story of how he might have lost that arm. Next, he writes of Ivan the terrible. The third and final story plays out as a dream after the writer falls asleep at his table. The stories feature the ironic twist endings that would later be popularized on The Twilight Zone.
In the opening credits, Werner Krauss is credited as playing Jack The Ripper, but in the movie the characters always refer to him as Spring-heeled Jack. Spring-heeled Jack was a prankster of sorts who terrorized London from about 1834 till 1920. It is reported that he could leap as high as 30 feet straight up in the air. He is also said to have had orange glowing eyes, pointed ears and the ability to shoot fire from his mouth. So, Krauss definitely portrays Jack The Ripper. The discrepancy with the names must be confusion on the part of the Germans.
An entertaining film which seems to be most famous for inspiring Douglas Fairbanks to create The Thief Of Bagdad.
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