House of Wax (1953) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

House of Wax (1953) Review

Horrorific content by Yo Adrian on June 14th, 2020 | Movie Review | Classic Horror, House of Wax Series

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It's about a wax sculptor who lost all of his work in a fire and then loses his mind trying to recreate it.

House of Wax was directed by André De Toth and stars Vincent Price (from The Abominable Dr. PhibesScream and Scream AgainThe Last Man on EarthDead Heat and The Monster Club), Frank Lovejoy and Carolyn Jones (from Eaten Alive and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers).

The Wax Figures Also Looked Like Other People - People Who Had Disappeared...

20 years before House of Wax there was a movie called Mystery of the Wax Museum. That movie was about a renowned artist who ran a small wax museum with a business partner who got greedy and burnt the place down for the insurance money. The artist got torched in the fire and lost the use of his hands, forcing him to hire apprentices to help recreate his masterpieces. Of course, these guys were all hacks so the artist had to resort to sinister measures to get his sculptures juuust right.

House of Wax is nearly a scene by scene remake of Mystery of the Wax Museum, except for the fact that House of Wax focuses more on the police investigation surrounding the suspicious museum than it does the newspaper headlines in the original.

But, the story doesn't actually matter as much as the fact that the movie stars Vincent Price. That dude could sell tickets to anything back in the day. He was like the Tom Cruise of horror back then. Last year one of his homes in Los Angeles went up for sale for 21 million clams.

The cool thing about casting Price is it made this version decidedly horror, as opposed to the original which was just more of a dramedy. This version did classic horror right, they nailed everything from the score to the classic heavy use of dramatic shadows.

The only gripe I really have is that House of Wax is a cookie cutter classic Hollywood horror that shares the same mold as countless others. It also jumped off the deep end with gimmicks to fill seats. For example, this movie sported the weakest 3D effects I've ever seen, and were used at the strangest times. Like there was a paddle ball side show circus guy who was out in front of the wax museum to drum up crowds, but instead of entertaining the crowd he looks straight at the camera and bounces his ball right at you talking about how he's going to snatch your popcorn. Very odd.

Worth Watching? 

I liked that this remake was an actual horror, and it does have a great story with a cool twist, but aside from that it was underwhelming. Because of this and because there's so many other great classics to choose from, I can't really go out of my way to recommend this one. House on Haunted Hill, now there's a Vincent Price classic I'd recommend. 

House of Wax Review (1953) Worth Watching? - ALL HORROR Tweet it

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