Professor Jarrod is an expert wax sculptor who runs an exhibition
of the macabre. His financial partner wants to pull out of
the venture, so Jarrod arranges for an interested businessman
to buy-in. But his current partner can't wait the required
three months for the money, so he sets light to the place
for the insurance pay out. Jarrod tries to stop him but, after
a fight, finds himself trapped in the building attempting
to save his life's work. He is assumed dead; however, Jarrod
returns as a crippled, twisted representation of his former
self, and kills the arsonist by making it look like suicide.
When he kills the man's lady friend, he is seen by her room
mate. Later, miraculously looking fine except for being wheelchair-bound
and possessing gnarled, useless hands, Jarrod opens a new
House of Wax under another name. The Chamber of Horrors depicts
lifelike figures of recent violence. The unsuspecting earlier
witness is invited to model for a cast, until she notices
that a figure looks a little too like her murdered friend...
is undoubtedly a superb film for it's time (1953), which still
stands up well today. The fight sequence between Jarrod and
his former partner is a little over-dramatic, but what film
wasn't in that era? The performances are solid, there's no
padding, and the plot makes for an enjoyable 84 minutes. There's
even an Intermission inserted into the middle of the film,
and it's still there now.
House of Wax was screened in 3-D, hence the nonsensical
lingering on the man with the bat and attached elasticated
ball at the opening of the new museum. As a point of interest
Charles Bronson plays Igor, Jarrod's deaf-mute assistant.
include Round the Clock Premiere, in which black and
white footage of personalities of the time visiting the screenings
is seen. It's amazing how some so-called starlets react the
moment they realise a camera is on them (cue tilting of head
and fluttering eyelashes).
included on this single disc is the 1933 film Mystery of
the Wax Museum, starring King Kong's Fay Wray,
upon which House of Wax is based. It's valid only as
an interesting reference; it's a perfectly fine movie, almost
scene for scene the same as House, but has not had
the picture or sound cleaned-up. At least this 1953 Vincent
Price version doesn't have the feel of a Chicago gangster
could pick holes in House of Wax if you really wanted
to. There are a few quirky or silly comments, and the epilogue
is entirely superfluous to requirements. Also, near the conclusion,
all the police rush from the station to the museum, leaving
a drunken criminal behind by himself. Nevertheless, this is
a great film, and I find a modern remake by a Hollywood incapable
these days of inventing a new story to be completely unnecessary.
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