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House of Wax

USA 1953
produced by
Bryan Foy for Warner Brothers
directed by André De Toth
starring Vincent Price, Phyllis Kirk, Paul Picerni, Frank Lovejoy, Dabbs Greer, Carolyn Jones, Charles Bronson (as Charles Buchinsky), Roy Roberts, Paul Cavanaugh, Angela Clarke, Reggie Rymal, Nedrick Young, Riza Royce
screenplay by Crane Wilbur, based on the story by Charles Belden, music by David Buttolph, wax figures by Kathrn Stuberg

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Years ago, Professor Jarrod (Vincent Price), a great sculptor dedicated to wax statues, has lost his wax museum to a fire started by his business partner (Roy Roberts), a shady man who wanted to collect the insurance money - later the business partner is found hanged while Jarrod has disappeared in the fire.

Years later, Jarrod reappears. He's now bound to a wheelchair, and he can't use his hands anymore, but he's still determined to open another wax museum soon, with the body of the work now done by a trio of his students, deaf-mute Igor (Charles Bronson), shady alcoholic Leon (Nedrick Young), and Scott (Paul Picerni), the good guy.

Scott has a girlfriend, Sue (Phyllis Kirk), who has only just witnessed her best friend (Carolyn Jones) being murdered, and has been freaked out by the killer, a man with a disfigured face. When she visits Scott at Jarrod's wax museum one day, she is puzzled that the statue of Joan of Arc looks a bit too similar to her deceased friend. She leaves a lasting impression on Jarrod though, who soon persuades her to pose for him as his new Marie Antoinette, to which she eventually agrees, also to make her boyfriend happy.

The police meanwhile investigate a murder series the death of Sue's friend was a part of, a series that is especially puzzling because apparently all the victims' corpses are stolen from the morgue later on. Eventually the trail leads to Leon the alcoholic sculptor, and when he is kept from drinking long enough, he breaks down due to withdrawal symptoms and confesses that Jarrod himself is the killer, and the bodies of the victims have been turned into his statues.

Meanwhile, Sue pays another visit to the wax museum and examines the statue of Joan of Arc, to find out it really is her deceased friend covered in wax. Unfortunately, she is caught by Jarrod, who is quick to overpower her, strap her onto a table and prepare everything to cover her in wax - but not before uncovering his real face, which was covered behind a mask, to her, which reveals him to be her friend's disfigured killer.

Of course the police arrives just in time to save Sue, and ultimately Jarrod himself ends up in his vat of cooking wax ...

 

A 3D remake of thge then two decades old Mystery of the Wax Museum, House of Wax is a fun horror film and the film that pretty much single-handedly started Vincent Price's horror career (and got him typecast for the rest of his career). On closer inspection though, it's not that great of a film, sure it's competently directed and reasonably atmospherically done, but the script is painfully formulaic, is devoid of plottwists or surprises, and it also lacks the many macabre details as well as the sexual innuendo of the pre-code Mystery of the Wax Museum.

This all is not to say House of Wax is a disappointment of any sorts, it's just routine genre entertainment, nothing more. You'll probably enjoy it.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD