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THE WAX MASK 1997
Directed by Sergio Stivaletti
Cast - Romina Mondello, Robert Hossein, Riccardo Serventi Longhi, Umberto Balli
Story written by Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci & Daniele Stroppa
This is the film Lucio Fulci was going to direct before he passed away. Special effects technician Sergio Stivaletti makes his directorial debut. The time is 1900, the place is Paris, France. The police discover a brutally murdered couple. Unknown to the killer, the couple's young daughter witnessed the crime. She only remembers the killer's metal hand. 12 years later, in Rome, is the setting for this story. The girl, now grown up (Mondello) is hired to work as a fashion designer, in a new wax museum. The museum's owner (Hossein) creates extremely life-like wax figures that depict scenes of horror and brutality. At the same time, a reporter (Longhi) takes an interest in founding out why people are disappearing.
THE WAX MASK is very much like an Italian made Hammer film. It's a glossy looking period piece with a smooth classical score. This is an effective horror film, with a few brutal gore scenes, some nudity and a touch of cheesy scfi, thrown in for good measure. There's even a scene that's ripped off from The Terminator, no kidding folks! One of the main flaws is that there's never any doubt "who" the villain is, yet the film tries to build on that anyway. Like many modern Italian horror films, the ending will have you scratching your head as well. Recommended viewing for fans of of european horror.