Wax Mask (1997)
Written By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Sergio Stivaletti
Producer: Giuseppe Colombo
Screenplay:Lucio Fulci, Daniele Stroppa
Writer: Dario Argento
Date Released: April 4, 1997
Romina Mondello as Sonia Lafont
Robert Hossein as Boris Volkoff
Riccardo Serventi Longhi as Andrea Conversi
Umberto Balli as Alex
Gabriella Giorgelli as Aunt Francesca
Gianni Franco as Inspector Palazzi
Sonia Topazio as Nurse
Massimo Vanni as Victor
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Wax Mask is a story about a young woman named Sonia who acquires a job as an assistant at a wax museum set in Rome, Italy. But, when people start to go missing, Sonia realizes that there may be a reason why the wax figures in the museum look so life-like.
If you are familiar with some of Dario Argento’s works, you can expect a substantial amount of blood and gore. Some of the scenes consist of severed limbs and an ample amount of blood splatter. The most notable scene is towards the end of the film when the wax figures start melting. Although Argento did not direct this film, it is very likely he had significant imput into the prosthetic and special effects work.
The Grave Review
Wax Mask has many similarities to other films such as House of Wax (1955). The premise of Wax Mask is straightforward and clear about a young woman who experienced a traumatic incident from a masked man who may be the same individual who creates life-like wax statues. The biggest issue with Wax Mask is the amount of characters that were involved in the film. There were so many victims and individuals with minor roles, that the story was sometimes difficult to follow. Other than this aspect, the plot was well-executed. However, overall, Wax Mask was a fun story.
One aspect which is not so much a critique but rather an observation is the use of showing a young girl’s breasts in the film. The girl was shown at a morgue where she was believed to be dead and her body was being examined to determine the cause of the death. However, from today’s standpoint, even if such a scene is not improper, it certainly is not tasteful. Keep in mind, this film was produced France Film International, a French-based company, and distributed by Italian International Film, an Italian-based company so the laws governing use of nudity concerning minors may be different. Nevertheless, the scene was uncomfortable enough to leave an impression. It should be noted that there is also a substantial amount of adult nudity as well.
The characters were well-developed. However, although the backstory of the antagonist was touched upon briefly, the film could have enhanced this aspect to give the antagonist more depth. There was also an open question as to whether the antagonist and the protagonist, Sonia, were related.
Wax Mask excels at its’ use of atmosphere and prosthetics. From a pure gore and animatronics perspective, the film is impressive to look at. In that way, we appreciate the efforts and artistry. Overall, Wax Mask is entertaining and enjoyable to watch despite some of its other shortcomings.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Wax Mask (1997) three graves out of five graves.
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