Paul Leni’s 1924 film Waxworksis one of the less known masterpieces of German Expressionist film. It’s not really a horror movie in a conventional sense. The framing story as a writer employed to come up with some stories about the figures in a wax museum. The first story involves the Caliph Harun al Raschid and is an Arabian Nights style fantasy, with some truly and wonderfully bizarre settings. It’s a lot of fun. The second story, concerning Ivan the Terrible, is much darker and looks just as fantastic as the first one. The third story, about Jack the Ripper, is really just an odd little epilogue and is has even less in common with conventional cinematic story-telling than the rest of the film. The movie is tinted, and the tinting look magnificent – it’s the most effective use of this technique I’ve seen. The movie present a series of visual images that are not merely stunning, they’re truly stupendous. It’s a movie that’s very much worth seeing, especially if you have a taste for movies that are out of the ordinary.
8 out of 10