Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Terror in the Wax Museum (1973)

Directed by:
Georg Fenady

John Carradine doesn't last long as Claude Dupree, owner of "Dupree's Wax Museum" in turn-of-the century London, who wears coke-bottle glasses and coaches deformed hunchback half-wit Karkov in the art of wax dummy production. Carradine plots to sell his business to Amos Burns (Broderick Crawford), dreams his creations come to life and kill him, wakes up (love that cap!) and one dressed like Jack the Ripper stabs him. His niece Meg (Nicole Shelby) and her uptight/bitchy guardian Julia (Elsa Lanchester) show up to reopen the business and everyone fights about who actually owns the place. After a few more murders, police think the killer is angry museum curator Harry Flexner (Ray Milland), but there are many others after the inheritance who qualify as possible suspects. This Bing Crosby production has poor period detail, is cheap and very restrained (no gore, nudity, bad language), plus there are several unsuccessful attempts to copy Corman-esque nightmare sequences, but the lovable cast of veteran horror stars (also including Maurice Evans from ROSEMARY'S BABY and Patric Knowles from THE WOLF MAN) helps out a little bit. My favorite moment is when Carradine snarls, "You know I always insist on perfection!" Like in several other wax museum-set horror flicks, if you pay attention you can see the "dummies" move. Many of the cast members here (including Lanchester, Knowles and Shani Wallis) also appeared in director Fenady's horror-comedy ARNOLD from the same year.


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