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30 October 2011

House of Wax (1953) [Horror Marathon] 31#

Directed by: Andre De Toth
Genre: Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Runtime:88 Minutes
How can you not like this horror classic? At times it featured gimmicky 3D stuff (that can be seen in many 3D films now) and features a horrifically entertaining performance from Vincent Price. This horror classic has everything from suspense to a “Phantom of the opera” style-unmasking scene, which gives it a well deserving cult status. 


Prof. Henry Jarrod (Vincent Price), the owner of a wax museum, whose partner, Matthew Burke (Roy Roberts), intends to burn the place down for the insurance money. When Jarrod tries to prevent Burke from torching the museum, he himself is trapped in the conflagration. Years pass: though now confined to a wheelchair, Jarrod manages to open up a new museum in New York, boasting the most incredibly lifelike wax statues ever seen. At the same time, a masked prowler has been stalking the city, murdering people and then stealing their bodies from the mortuary. Could there be a connection?

As a classic horror film, it really has everything. First off, it has a classic horror actor, being Vincent Price. In addition, we have suspense, mystery, thrills, humour, a horrific idea and even gimmicky actions that were intentionally created for 3D at its time. In addition, this was one of the most successful 3D movies in the 50’s.  This is what makes the film versatile and enjoyable to watch. All the great set designs and effects used are all perfect ingredients in this mixture. 

Price gave an engaging performance and I consider it one of his greatest from what I have seen. In addition, it is also one of his first full-blown horror roles. This would gain him status in the acting world. As the turned-evil passionate artist, Price pulls off an excellent performance. Alongside Price is Carolyn Jones, Phyllis Kirk and Paul Picerni. All simply divine in this horror classic 

The strongest thing the film has is a gripping story that has meaning. Unlike 70% (or more) of today’s horror, there was a deeper reason behind the killings. Our opening character we know is a passionate and sentimental artist who takes great pride in his work. After his work is deliberately destroyed he seeks revenge, and revenge he gets. This is a perfect example of a good guy gone bad in a film, which is a classic film convention. 

I usually have more to say in reviews but with so many reviews in this marathon have had me writing every day, so I feel like I am repeating myself quite a lot in what I am talking about in them. Therefore, to put it short, “House of Wax” will not disappoint you if you like some good classic scares and it is a wonderfully creative concept. “House of Wax” is one of the greatest classic horror films that stands the test of time. 

My Rating: 8/10

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