House of Wax
André de Toth
Professor Henry Jerrod (Vincent Price) is a brilliant wax sculptor. His partner, Matthew Burke (Roy Roberts) wants him to concentrate on making more lurid and violent sculptures to draw in the crowds. The Professor wants nothing to do with this, and eventually Matthew resorts to setting the museum on fire to collect the insurance money. A year later we meet Jerrod who was caught in the blaze, now confined to a wheel chair and has lost the use of his hands. He plans on reopening his wax museum with the help of protégés. The displays are to show violence and recent crimes. Meanwhile a shadowy figure stalks the streets of New York dispatching people and stealing bodies.
House of Wax was an early 3-D feature and a huge hit at the time. It’s an extremely entertaining movie, anchored by Vincent Price’s performance that is by turns, sympathetic, sinister and unhinged. The 3-D element of the film works marvelously, both in using it to create a sense of depth with the sets, and the occasional gimmick of tossing things at the audience. The story may seem a wee bit simple today, but the journey is never anything less than a joy to experience. There is plenty of humor in the middle of the film, but House of Wax is first and foremost a horror film and it relies on the creeping menace of a shadowy assailant and the occasional shock of death to drive that home. This is an fantastic film and well worth time to seek out and revisit.
Happy Halloween from Outpost Zeta!