Directed by Paul Leni in 1924, WAXWORKS is a silent film from the German Expressionist movement that predates MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM by nearly a decade. In it, a writer is commissioned to create a series of exciting tales about the exhibits in a local wax museum. Each story that the writer begins transports both he and his assistant into the world of the characters he has created. WAXWORKS is one of the most technically-accomplished films of its era, with all of the elaborate costuming, exotic sets, and dramatic physical performances that the great Expressionists were known for. Leni introduces a number of intricate new shots taken through prisms and mirrors, and uses overlays during the nightmarish finale to make the characters appear as if they are ghosts wandering through an ethereal dreamscape. The chase sequence that occurs after the Caliph is presumed dead displays and incredible design, which recalls the twisted staircases of M.C. Escher. WAXWORKS is a fun and imaginative fantasy adventure with thrilling elements of horror that stands beside the works of Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau in creativity and originality.
If you liked WAXWORKS, check out:
WAXWORKS (1988), MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM, HOUSE OF WAX.