Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Nightmare in Wax (1969)
This film has no connection to the Vincent Price film, though I am sure the producers of this movie would have welcomed the association. I mean, it's probably not a coincidence that the main character in this shares the famous actor's first name.
This Vincent is a former make-up artist who was disfigured by a movie producer in an argument, he now works as the chief sculptor for a wax museum. He's also, as I am sure you have probably deduced from the film's title, a very naughty boy. Not that you would have much trouble deducing it even if you didn't know the title. Given that what Vincent is up to is abducting movie stars, drugging them into "immobility" (which I have put in quotes for reasons we'll discuss later), and displaying them as waxworks, the real question is not "what is going on?" but "how is he getting away with this?". Subtle, his plan is not.
Now to be generous to the film, it doesn't make any effort to pretend that the audience isn't in on Vincent's activities. It does rather strain credulity that none of the characters seem to suspect anything is amiss for so long, though. The film's also hampered by its structural and directorial defects. On the former front, the script is way too fond of flashbacks, and I suspect it throws up so many to disguise the fact that the "current day" storyline doesn't actually have much going on. On the latter front, one of the "immobile" victims clearly wobbles in numerous shots. This is not her fault: the position she has been asked to stand in is not one that can be maintained with perfect stillness for any length of time. The director should have realised that and given her a more sustainable posture.
Cameron Mitchell is entertainingly hammy as Vincent, and if you have a thing for 60s go-go dancers there's a sequence in the middle of the film you'll enjoy, but this is forgettable stuff on the whole, and not recommended.