Liner notes state that this loose remake of "House of Wax" was to have been directed by Lucio Fulci ("Zombie," "The Black Cat") who died before he could begin work. It was produced in part by Dario Argento, but the important thing for horror fans to know is that this one owes just as much to Stuart Gordon's "Re-Animator." It takes the same gleeful approach to outrageous medical horror and sex, though overall, it is a much more polished looking film with expensive production values, an attractive (if unknown in America) young cast, and a sharply focused image. The setting is Paris and Rome in the early 20th century. Sonia (Mondello) witnessed the brutal murder of her parents as a child. Years later, she goes to work for Boris Volkoff (Hossein), whose macabre wax museum hides terrible secrets. Director Sergio Stivaletti came to the job through special effects expertise and his work here (in both capacities) is very good. This is a man to watch. The plot goes much too far for the film ever to find a large mainstream audience, and that's the point of Grand Guignol horror.
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Available on DVD
Running time 98 minutes.
Originally from Italian, French.
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