in Shocktober

Shocktober: Day 7

House of Wax (1953)

Dir: Andre de Toth
Cast: Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Carolyn Jones, Roy Roberts, Charles Bronson

No not the spellbinding work featuring the immense talents of Chad Michael Murray and Paris Hilton, nor the version from 1933 starring Lionel Atwill, it’s the 50s classic starring the always devious VIncent Price. Groundbreaking for being the first 3D color film to be released by a major American Studio. Naturally this would go on to fuel the 50s 3-D craze but aside from all that this is just a great thriller with a great star.

The iconic Vincent Price stars as Professor Henry Jarrod, a skilled wax sculptor with a museum in 1910s New York. When his financial partner Matthew demands new exhibits to increase profits, Jarrod refuses so Matthew burns that mutha down! Later on Jarrod recovers and builds a new wax museum that showcases most notably the “Chamber of Horrors”. Matthew and his fiancee gets what he deserves and a bunch of other people die. It’s all good, but what’s unfortunate is the movie can’t really live up to the opening scene. I guess I could just watch wax melt all day long, it’s a real trip.

It’s a film propelled by grand, grim, imagery and strong performances. Vincent Price steals the show and a young Charles Bronson as Price’s deaf/mute assistant is entertaining. Unfortunately I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing it in 3D, which is a shame as a few scenes don’t really make sense in 2D. Like this scene where a guy is entertaining passerby’s with a paddle ball, it makes no sense, but maybe it looked cool in 3D. That aside the film’s got a nice little twist near the end that I bet you could figure out in less than ten guesses, but it’s a fun ride. If you like Vincent Price movies this should be at the top of your list.