About a month ago (April 30th), FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 was celebrating its 40th anniversary. While singing its praises I nearly stated that Jason Voorhees, as presented in that film (with a THE ELEPHANT MAN-type sack on his head), is at his scariest (because generally he is) but something stopped me in my tracks from doing so. If I was being completely honest, the most frightening I ever found Jason Voorhees was at the end of the next film in the series FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3.
Come to think of it, I was hardly a child at the time and at that point, had watched the first two films multiple times (to say the least). At the point of the film I’m referring to, most of the film’s killing, violence and bloodshed had already occurred and I had devoured it all handily.
But his was the sort of scare that hit me on a purely visual level. It felt like one of my nightmares; I was shook as they say.
Chris Higgins (Dana Kimmell) had endured a rough night but it appeared that she had finally defeated her hockey-masked assailant and exhausted, fell asleep in a boat on a shallow portion of Crystal Lake. She is awoken by a screeching bird and is clearly (and rightfully) still in hyper-survival mode. She looks about and sees only her familiar farm. After a panicked jolt when the boat hits a floating branch (!) and a jump scare provided by an obnoxious duck loudly flying by her head (!), she comes to accept that the nightmare may indeed be over and that she is finally safe. But that’s when she sees him in the window…
A fleshy, almost pig-faced, mask-less Jason in all his deformed glory, covered in blood and somehow audibly groaning! He begins to scratch and claw at the windows glass in a frenzied manor (I don’t know why figures behind glass get to me (SALEM’S LOT?) but they always do). He finally gives up on his nonsensical attempts to reach Chris through the window and disappears while Chris finds the boat she’s trying to row away in stuck on another damned branch. Jason CRASHES through the door (!) and we get an even better look at his almost smiling (?) heavily breathing visage. He starts to run for Chris (and directly toward camera) but then suddenly disappears (along with the merciless, cow-prod score).
It’s OK! Chris has just lost her mind! The window is empty. The lake is at peace. Of course this is all just to distract us from what’s coming out of the water (an iffy, worm-enhanced homage to the first film). Hey, it works. I’m not sure why it worked so well on me but it did and I have to admit, it still does. Something about the brazen early morning clarity is truly jolting and even though the series was already notorious for such last minute trickery, I continue to fall for it hook line and sinker.
Once upon a time, way back HERE we got a Name That Trauma from Dexterpie that went a little something like this:
Hello Kindertrauma, I’m trying to find a movie that I saw as a child. It had two witches in it. The ugly witch was good and the pretty witch was bad. The pretty witch could turn into animals and ended up burning the ugly witch’s house down. I’m pretty sure the movie was in black and white. Any help would be appreciated, I’ve been looking a long time!
Sadly though, this was one of those rare instances when are readers could not provide the answer. All seemed lost but then a happy ending finally materialized! Dexterpie found his own movie and it’s the Roger Corman directed 1957 flick, THE UNDEAD! I’ll let Dexterpie describe the movie further…
I saw this movie as a child. I liked it because it had witches. Since then for thirty or fourth years I’ve been trying to find it. Not even the internet could help. One horror movie buff suggested I was thinking of The Blue Bird. A Shirley Temple movie. Puh-leeze. Another suggested Hocus Pocus. The fools.
This psychiatrist hypnotizes a hooker so he can travel in time through her. Confusing. But it is done. And Satan is there. A couple witches. This pretty girl needs help. Who will help? Meg Maude, the ugly old crone witch living in a witches cottage in the woods? Or Lydia the beautiful shape shifting witch who is not so nice. Hint: do not judge a book by its cover.
Made in 1957 it’s got a whole lot of shit going on. They cut off heads in this movie like it’s going out of style. It has satanic dancers.
The owls in the trees turn into lizards. Then into an evil imp and a cat. The cat turns into pretty Lydia. Billy Bartley is her evil imp. She wants the innocent girls man and is framing her for being a witch.
Time travel. Witches. Imps. Satan. A singing grave digger.
She has to decide. Does she die here as a witch tonight and live future lives? Or does she live and marry her beloved but never live again in future lives?
Every bit as wonderful as I could have remembered it.
Wow, Dexterpie! That sounds great! Thanks for keeping us up to date on your Name That Trauma! Folks, if you want to check out THE UNDEAD, it looks like it’s free on most major streaming services (Tubi, Pluto et el)!
It’s fair to say Waxwork is not a great movie. However, when it comes to Anthony Hickox’s resume, I’ll take Waxwork over a CD cenobite any day (I’m looking at you Hellraiser III)! Take a moment with me, won’t you? As I try to plead my case for this tonally awkward 80s oddball.
- The Cast
A lot of the performances in this movie are ahem not necessarily the best, but let’s give a participation award! Zach Galligan, Billy Peltzer himself…Gizmo would be proud! Dana Ashbrook aka Bobby Briggs (Twin Peaks forever!) And most importantly, Deborah Foreman…because it’s probably time for you to rewatch April Fool’s Day for the 100th time.
- The Anthology Vibe
Even though this movie is technically not an anthology, each time a character enters a waxwork, we’re introduced to a new story and characters. Each new set piece is like a mini horror movie!
- The Special Effects/Gore
This movie has some impressive make-up and gore! In fact Bob Keen, who also worked on Hellraiser and Candyman, helped to design the werewolf in the Dana Ashbrook segment.
- (To piggyback off #3) China and Count Dracula
Arguably the best and most memorable segment is when China (Michelle Johnson) meets Count Dracula. There’s copious amounts of gore and great lines like, “Ah yes, steak tartare.” Plus major fashion moment, because her dress is gorgeous…y’know before it gets all blood soaked.
- (And to piggyback off #4) Miles O’Keeffe
How much Keeffe is in this movie anyway? MILES O’KEEFFE! (MSTies where ya at?)
You can watch Waxwork on Tubi now! After that, (whorish self-promotion), check out Electric Babysitter HERE and Electric Babysitter on IG! Hope you have a wonderful day!
I’m sure I hardly need to introduce myself; I’m sorta a big deal. Unless you live under a rock or don’t own a radio, you know who I am. If you have somehow not heard my awesome radio show (KAB rocks!) you’ve certainly seen me riding around Antonio Bay in my wicked convertible! Well, I’m not here to promote myself, but rather to expose a certain oldster who’s gotten a free pass in this town as of late. I’m talking of Mrs. Kobritz and her dubious abilities as a babysitter. I’ve ignored missing under garments, the dilution of my liquor with tap water, and habitual tardiness, but it’s high time Mrs. Kobritz be held accountable for her routinely irresponsible behavior. First of all, I realize that the other night there was an out of the ordinary occurrence that had many of our locals running about pell-mell begging for God to intervene. (I’m referring to the zombie-infested fog bank that engulfed the town.) But many of us were still able to do our jobs and even help others when the opportunity arose. I know I did everything I conceivably could to warn all my listeners of the impending danger (off the clock!). And let’s face reality folks, the crew of the Elizabeth Dane were only going to kill six of us; it’s not like the whole town was going down!
Anyway, I left my son Andy in Mrs Kobritz’s care, and where she went, or why my son ended up in a church with a bunch of questionable strangers I may never know. I have tried to contact her several times to inform her that she will not be paid for her services and all of my calls have gone ignored. I know Andy can be a handful, and I admit he’s been going overboard with the stomach pounders as of late; but an adult woman does not leave her post! Supernatural calamities come and go. If we all headed for the hills every time a gold coin transformed into a piece of wood then seeped sea water, then caused a cassette tape player to moan about an albatross, then burst into flames, where would we be? How would you like it Kobritz if you needed some gas and the attendant decided to skip off on the job? Do you expect the gas pumps to operate by themselves? I think not. And Mrs. Kobritz, I expect to be reimbursed not only for the window you broke in Andy’s room, but also for his bedroom door which needs to be replaced completely. Is it too much to expect to come home to find my house in a similar condition as to the one I left it in? The very least you could have done is clean up the pool of putrid smelling brine you left near the front door! In lieu of a proper nanny-cam, I suggest you watch JOHN CARPENTER’s THE FOG to witness this geriatric n’er-do-well in action!
Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolfman; all seemed like cool guys I could pal around with when I was little… Sleestaks, not so much. Truth told, Sleestaks freaked me out. For those not familiar, Sleestaks are inter-dimensional, reptilian humanoids that appear in Sid and Marty Krofft’s seventies-era Saturday morning adventure series LAND OF THE LOST. They’re like eight feet tall thanks to extended lower legs, have sorta crab-claw hands, a spike/horn on their heads and gigantic glassy insectoid eyes. Did I mention they hiss(ssssss)? And if there’s a group of them (I seem to remember them preferring to travel in threes) the hissing is especially worrisome (and even vaguely insulting if you are a kid who suffers from asthma).
I don’t know what my deal is but as a child, I had a near primordial reaction to them. It was sorta like that thing when you put a cucumber behind a cat and it mistakes it for a snake and jumps three feet in the air (I beg you not to do this). Although I have to admit they never failed to liven up the show, they gave me true heebie jeebies. It didn’t help that they kind of hunch over with their arms spread out and almost ape the familiar movements of an adult trying to wrangle a child. As I recall there was a kind, helpful, more sophisticated Sleestak (possibly from the future) who did indeed attempt to aid our heroes Marshall, Will and Holly but his mellow disposition did not make up for the aggressive behavior of his more primitive brethren
Here’s where it gets weird (and by that I mean, where I get weird). I have a very strong memory of my older brother riding a bike with a rope tied behind it and me on skates being pulled while holding on to said rope. This was in the basement so I’m sure we were not moving at any incredible speed. Anyway, I fell and smashed my head hard against the cement (not my first head injury by a long shot). I must have been out for a second because when I came to I was surrounded by Sleestaks looking over me and then they were quickly replaced by my familiar basement surroundings. What the hell was that? Normal brain damage or some unglued memory of alien abduction!?! Am I in some bed somewhere attached to tubes MATRIX-style and have no clue? I honestly DO NOT want to know. Anyway, Sleestaks; I very much prefer them on my TV rather than in my basement (or head).
Michael from Minnesota, here for a third time. You guys have done a dynamite job helping me in the past, now I come to you for a friend who recently asked me to identify a couple of movies he remembers watching in his adolescence. The first I knew immediately (Empire’s “Eliminators”), but this one has me scratching my head. Here’s how he described it:
Lower-budget fantasy flick. The hero is a stock Conan/Deathstalker/Beastmaster type who lives in the woods with an old witch. He goes on some sort of quest, and ends up in possession of the fragments of an enchanted sword. When he reforges the sword, it reveals to him that he is heir to the throne; his memory had been wiped by a villain years ago. It also reveals that the old witch is his mother, and restores her youth and beauty. That’s all he gave me.
This sounds like it could be any number of Corman-backed fantasy flicks from the early-to-mid-80s, but I’m not much of an expert on that subgenre. He’s positive that he saw this on cable (his dad worked for the cable company and they received free service), and that it would have been in either the very late 80s or very early 90s. Thanks in advance, you beautiful people!