Nightmare in Wax – USA, 1969 – overview and reviews

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[Total: 21   Average: 2.4/5]

‘Frozen into zombies… doomed to unbearable horrors!’

Nightmare in Wax is a 1969 American horror feature film directed by Bud Townsend (Terror at Red Wolf Inn) from a screenplay by Rex Carlton (Blood of Dracula’s Castle; Unearthly Stranger; story for The Brain That Wouldn’t Die). The Paragon International Pictures production stars Cameron Mitchell, Anne Helm, Scott Brady, Berry Kroeger and Victoria Carroll.

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Plot:

Vince Rinaud (Cameron Mitchell) is a former film special effects engineer who is disfigured by Max Block, the head of Paragon Pictures, and also a rival for the affections of a woman (Anne Helm).

Leaving the film industry, Vince becomes a recluse and opens a wax museum. Within a few months, four popular Paragon stars disappear. Wax figures of the missing stars soon feature as wax models in the museum and the police become suspicious…

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

” …does its best with the limited wax museum theme and builds to an effective enough climax. However, the overall impression is one of time-spinning and the film is no match for either Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) or House of Wax (1953).” Phil Hardy (editor), The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

” …the movie has a pretty cool dimestore Mario Bava candy colored aesthetic. The photography is especially effective in the scene where Cameron chases around the aforementioned redhead through the museum, what with the atmospheric lighting and distended camera angles.” Thomas Duke, Cinema Gonzo

“Mitchell chews the scenery in an eye-patch while reliable TV actors Anne Helm (as our big haired heroine), Scott Brady (as the gruff detective), and Victoria Carroll (as the ditzy go-go dancer) get some hilariously banal dialogue to spout off during uninspired scenes. The occasionally skewed camera angles, garish lighting (I thought this was in 3-D for a few moments there), and out-of-focus fun can’t make up for how dull Nightmare in Wax truly is.” Cinema Somnambulist

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“Apparently, the dumbest motherf*ckers in the world were assigned to solve the case of the missing actors, and it takes them the entire movie to figure out that maybe, just maybe, the weird, one-eyed and burnt guy who acts like Cameron Mitchell, and has “wax” figures of all of the missing people on display in his weird museum, might have something to do with it.” Horror Movie a Day

“Rather too slow to be really effective, the climactic scene where the embalmed stars come to life and destroy their ‘creator’ is well realized.” Alan Frank, The Horror Movie Handbook, Batsford, 1982

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“The script whips up a series of melodramatic conflicts with a certain vigour. There is a particularly gruesome scene where Cameron Mitchell gets one side of his face melted. There is a typical score of the era that tries to make everything, even a scene as mundane as Cameron Mitchell answering the phone, into something sinister.” Richard Scheib, Moria

“Yes, it does offer a few giggles – but simply not enough to make it worth recommending. Likewise, it is never either sleazy or shocking enough to appeal to one’s more puerile nature – excepting, perhaps, the rather unappetizing scene of Cameron Mitchell, the nutcase of the film, making out with the corpse of one of his victims as he drives through the LA night.” A Wasted Life

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Image courtesy of Zombos’ Closet

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Cast and characters:

  • Cameron Mitchell … Vincent Renard – Trapped Alive; Without WarningThe Toolbox Murders; Maneater of Hydra; Blood and Black Lace; et al
  • Anne Helm … Marie Morgan
  • Scott Brady … Detective Haskell – Castle of Evil; Destination Inner Space
  • Berry Kroeger … Max Black – Demon Seed; Chamber of Horrors
  • Victoria Carroll … Theresa
  • Phillip Baird … Tony Deen
  • John ‘Bud’ Cardos … Sergeant Carver (as Johnny Cardos) – director of Mutant; The Dark
  • Hollis Morrison … Nick
  • James Forrest … Alfred Herman
  • Virgil Frye … Ralph Tenier
  • Mercedes Alberti … Stella Costello
  • Barry Donohue … Leslie
  • Ingrid Dittmar … Secretary (as Ingrid Dittman)
  • Maria Polo … Nurse (as Marie Polo)
  • Lucio Pineda … Chauffeur

Filming locations:

  • Movieland Wax Museum – 7711 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, California
  • Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California

Production:

The movie was apparently shot in 1966 as Monster of the Wax Museum.

Technical details:

Pathécolor
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: Mono

Release:

Nightmare in Wax was released on a double-bill with Blood of Dracula’s Castle by Crown International Pictures on 14 May 1969.

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