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Terror in the Wax Museum

   

Terror in the Wax Museum (1976) starring Ray Milland, Elsa Lanchester, Maurice Evans, John Carradine

Terror in the Wax Museum is an interesting murder mystery. It’s set in Victorian London, 10 years after Jack the Ripper’s murder spree …

Terror in the Wax Museum is an interesting remake in the best way possible. It’s not an attempt to retell the same story as the classic Vincent Price House of Wax. Instead they take the same opening, and run in a wildly different direction. And that’s frankly a very good thing. It’s an excellent movie, that stands on its own two feet. It’s well done, well acted, with a very good plot. In a real sense it’s a murder mystery.

In an interesting twist from the 1950’s version, Dupree starts off as insane. He thinks of his wax figures as alive. As his nightmare proves, when he’s about to sell the wax museum.

At the beginning of the movie, an unseen someone, whom the elderly Dupree thinks is Jack the Ripper, murders him. And that’s what starts the ball rolling.

Cast of characters

  • Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend, Panic in the Year Zero) … Harry Flexner. Dupree’s assistant and associate for many years. He expected that he and Karkov would have inherited the museum.
  • Elsa Lanchester (Bride of Frankenstein, Witness for the Prosecution) … Julia Hawthorn. Meg’s guardian. She ‘claims’ the museum is Margaret’s property, and plans to reopen it, virtually immediately. Extremely tightfisted, and unlikable.
  • Maurice Evans (Bewitched) … Inspector Daniels. Investigating the murder of Dupree.
  • John Carradine (Captain Kidd, Five Came Back) … Claude Dupree. Owner of the wax museum. He’s on the verge of selling it when he’s murdered by …. Jack the Ripper?
  • Mark EdwardsSergeant Michael Hawks. Police sergeant, investigating the murders. He clearly starts to have romantic feelings for Meg.
  • Patric Knowles (Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man) … Mr. Southcott. The solicitor, who dislikes Julia’s money grubbing. Literally, before the corpse is even cold.
  • Lisa LuMadame Yang. She runs a restaurant, where Hawks takes Meg out for dinner. All part of his investigation of course. While there, she tells Meg’s fortune.
  • Steven MarloKarkov. The disfigured deaf/mute, that Dupree kindly took in. He has a large crush on Laurie.
  • Nicole ShelbyMargaret Collins. Meg. Dupree’s niece, whom Dupree called for before his death. There’s a question if she inherits the museum, or Flexner. She keeps having terrifying nightmares. It’s almost as though someone wants to scare her away …
  • Shani Wallis (Oliver!) … Laurie Mell. The pretty young songbird at a the music hall next door to the museum. Burns “likes” her. As do a lot of men. But she has a heart of gold. She’s the only woman to treat Karkov as a human being.
  • Broderick Crawford (Born Yesterday) … Amos Burns. The American, who’s been trying to buy the wax museum. He intends to display it off Broadway.

Secondary characters

  • Ben Wright (The Sound of Music) … First Constable
  • Mathilda Calnan (Silver Streak) … First Charwoman
  • Peggy Stewart … Second Charwoman
  • Leslie Thompson … Constable Parker
  • Don HerbertJack the Ripper – Wax Figure
  • Judy Wetmore … Lizzie Borden – Wax Figure
  • Jo Williamson … Mrs. Borden – Wax Figure
  • George Farina … Bluebeard – Wax Figure
  • Diane Wahrman … Girl in Red – Wax Figure
  • Rosa Huerta … Lucretia Borgia – Wax Figure
  • Ben Brown … Attila the Hun – Wax Figure
  • Rickie Weir … Marie Antoinette – Wax Figure
  • Paul Wilson (Kangaroo Jack) … Ivan the Terrible – Wax Figure
  • Ralph Cunningham … Willie Grossman – Wax Figure
  • Don Williamson … Constable Henry Bolt – Wax Figure
  • Evelyn Reynolds … Flower Woman – Wax Figure

Editorial review of Terror in the Wax Museum courtesy of Amazon.com

The murder of a Wax Museum proprietor and some other strange goings-on in the vicinity prompt a police investigator to determine whether the killer is one of the principles who wants to own the museum or if Jack the Ripper has returned to killing after a hiatus of ten years.

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