It’s time for a really old film. This one came out over 20 years before the original Godzilla title so you can tell that this one has been around for quite a while. Unfortunately, this film doesn’t help disprove the myth that old films are boring. The pacing is quite bad and the film spends far too much time on scenes that simply don’t matter. It’s a shame since this film tried to be a mystery thriller, but forgot to include the actual thrills. The Mystery of the Wax Museum is unraveled within the first 20 minutes (Or seconds if you looked at the poster) so that doesn’t leave the film with a lot of material.
We have a reporter named Florence who typically doesn’t do too well in the biz. That being said, she’s never afraid to go after the long shots and this is the case when she finds out about a possible wax scandal. It involves stolen alcohol and dead bodies so her editor, Jim, doesn’t believe her. He spends most of the film insulting and belittling her, but deep down he’s a nice guy….or so the film wants you to think. Florence eventually realizes the truth, that the new Wax Museum’s statues are all actual people who have been murdered. Unfortunately, she is quickly overpowered by a very strong old cripple. Can the cops save her in time?
The film actually starts out in the distant past and shows us how Igor turned from a normal businessman into a psychotic murderer. See, all it took was a quick fire that burned down his entire life’s work. He murders a guy in the fist fight though…I think. Maybe the guy escaped, but it doesn’t matter. Igor decided that nobody can craft as well as he can so he’ll have to use actual bodies to make sure that they are accurate. That starts his long road into villainy. We’ve also got a subplot where Florence’s friend, Charlotte and her fiancee Ralph are thrown into the mix since Ralph works there.
Ralph doesn’t suspect anything though. He’s working along side a pair of crooks and both are pretty suspect, but Ralph fears nothing. Right up until the very end Ralph is completely useless. You’d think that he would perform well since his fiancee is in danger right? Not a chance, Ralph goes down faster than a sack of potatoes. A single punch is all Igor needs to take him down. After that, he gets up again only to be defeated once more. I found myself face palming and chuckling at the same time. I don’t think this should be possible and maybe my imagination just proved to be a stronger reality than this film.
Charlotte’s not an interesting character either and is just here to be here. Florence shouldn’t be that bad since she is made to be the tough Lois Lane character of the film. That being said, it’s hard to take seriously. She talks a good game, but the ending destroys her. She decides to randomly marry her boss despite the two of them arguing at every turn. He seemed to have no real respect for her whatsoever and just popped the question for the lolz. Maybe he didn’t think she would accept. Also, she could have been rich otherwise. The ending makes absolutely no sense whatsoever….so it was pretty appropriate.
As for Igor, he’s a pretty lousy villain. There’s nothing interesting about him at all. His final battle is humorous, but for all the wrong reasons. He was horribly disfigured by the fire and crippled to an extent. He hasn’t walked all that much in years aside from when he goes to kidnap people. Yet, he has the skills to defeat about a half dozen police officers and random civilians back to back to back. He only loses in the end to sheer numbers and firepower as he takes an unfortunate dip. I can’t help, but think that the film was just trying to extend its run time at that point.
The worst thing about the film is the fact that it is very boring. The film refuses to move at anything past a snail’s pace. The Cops don’t believe the reporter and they really shouldn’t, but I wish they would try to look around and find evidence or something. Instead, they just go back to the party and read dirty magazines all day. Is this really how the police should be portrayed? I mean seriously…this was just embarrassing for them.
The fight scenes were also pretty low end to downright bad as well. The first one with Igor and his partner was just flat out terrible. It got surprisingly intense considering this was back in the day with underhanded tactics being prevalent all around. Beyond that, the film does really show its age. Everything feels really old. The camera work suffers the most from this, but the backdrops aren’t all that bad. They hold up decently well as a city always looks good, whether it’s the 60’s or more modern.
There’s not really a soundtrack as you probably expected from such an old film. What could have saved this film? It’s hard to say since the film never seemed like it even had much potential to start off with. I suppose having a better cast would have helped a lot and taking out the random marriage proposal at the end as well. Ralph should have put up a better fight to help his fiancee and the cops shouldn’t have struggled so much against a very weakened old guy. At least say that he use some kind of super human serum on himself. Instead, he has the strength of a monster for no real reason. I also find it hard to believe that breaking into a hospital and stealing bodies is so easy, even back then. Surely they have heard of security patrols right? Also, since it made the news, you’d think that someone besides the lead reporter would notice that the victims matched the new displays perfectly.
Overall, Mystery of the Wax Museum is a mystery film that I’d recommend skipping out on. If anything, just watch one of the newer versions, but I definitely can’t vouch for those either. For all I know, those are worse. I wouldn’t call this a horrible film as it manages to keep its class for the most part, but it’s just a bore which really defeats the entire purpose of watching the film. If it’s not going to be any fun, you may as well go back to sleep and take a little nap. That way you’ll be ready to watch a different film.