House of Wax

House of Wax

Director: André De Toth

Cast: André De Toth, Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk

     
 

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This simplified (but lavish) remake of the 1933 melodrama The Mystery of the Wax Museum was the most financially successful 3-D production of the 1950s. In his first full-fledged "horror" role, Vincent Price plays Prof. Henry Jarrod, the owner of a wax museum, whose partner, Matthew Burke (Roy Roberts), intends to burn the place down for the insurance money.…  See more details below

Overview

This simplified (but lavish) remake of the 1933 melodrama The Mystery of the Wax Museum was the most financially successful 3-D production of the 1950s. In his first full-fledged "horror" role, Vincent Price plays Prof. Henry Jarrod, 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. One of the victims is Jarrod's old nemesis Burke; another is Cathy Gray (Carolyn Jones), the roommate of art student Sue Allen (Phyllis Kirk). On a visit to the wax museum, Sue can't help but notice that the wax likeness of Joan of Arc is a dead ringer for her deceased friend Cathy -- while the courtly Jarrod declares joyously that Sue is the living image of Marie Antoinette. Guess where this is going to wind up? Frank Lovejoy and Paul Picerni co-star as the nominal heroes, while Charles Bronson -- still billed as Charles Buchinsky -- is a menacing presence as Jarrod's deaf-mute chief sculptor (appropriately named "Igor"). No opportunity to show off the 3-D process is wasted during House of Wax; the most memorable stereoscopic moments are provided by garrulous "paddle-ball man" Reggie Rymal. Ironically, Andre De Toth, the film's director, had only one good eye, and had to constantly ask his cast and crew if the various 3-D effects had come off properly.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Fred Beldin
Even without the fabled 3-D photography that ballyhooed its theatrical run, this horror classic can still churn up chills decades after its release. While not as intense as the film that provided its template (1933's Mystery of the Wax Museum), nor as gory as its lamentable 2005 remake, House of Wax scores with eerie set design, dark humor, and a great cast. As the quietly mad Henry Jarrod, Vincent Price stars in the role that would seal his fate as a horror icon. He's in excellent form both with and without the grotesque scar makeup he's encased in while gathering corpses for his ghoulish artwork. Carolyn Jones stands out among Price's co-stars as a lively good-time girl whose resemblance to Joan of Arc leads to her demise, and a mute Charles Bronson provides one of the best "Igor" performances in horror cinema. The opening images of melting wax statues are still disturbing, and there's a certain irony in watching the wax museum's audience gawk at frightful tableaus of torture and mayhem in much the same way the film's audience enjoys the spectacle in 3-D. The success of House of Wax ensured that its theme of homicidal artists would be recycled over and over by future horror filmmakers (Bucket of Blood, Color Me Blood Red, and Nightmare in Wax are just a few examples), although its use of 3-D technology did not help the gimmick become industry standard.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/01/2013
UPC:
0883929350964
Original Release:
1953
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Home Video
Presentation:
[3D]
Time:
1:28:00
Format:
3D
Sales rank:
23,125

Special Features

House of Wax: unlike anything you've ever seen before!; Commentary by David Del Valle and Constantine Nasr; Newsreel; Theatrical trailer; 1933 Warner Bros. feature Mystery of the Wax Museum

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Vincent Price Prof. Henry Jarrod
Frank Lovejoy Lt. Tom Brennan
Phyllis Kirk Sue Allen
Carolyn Jones Cathy Gray
Paul Picerni Scott Andrews
Charles Buchinsky Igor
Richard Benjamin Detective
Oliver Blake Pompous Man
Leo Curley Portly Man
Frank Ferguson Medical Examiner
Mary Lou Holloway Millie
Jack Kenney Lodger
Lyle Latell Waiter
Jack Mower Detective
Eddie Parks Morgue Attendant
Grandon Rhodes Surgeon
Riza Royce Ma Flanagan
Reggie Rymal Barker
Ruth Warren Scrubwoman
Trude Wyler Woman
Ned Young Leon Averill
Ruth Whitney Actor
Paul Cavanagh Sidney Wallace
Angela Clarke Mrs. Andrews
Dabbs Greer Sgt. Jim Shane
Philip Tonge Bruce Allison
Roy Roberts Matthew Burke

Technical Credits
André De Toth Director
Charles S. Belden Original Story
David Buttolph Score Composer
Rudi Fehr Editor
Stanley Fleischer Art Director
Bryan Foy Producer
Bert Glennon Cinematographer
J. Peverell Marley Cinematographer
Crane Wilbur Screenwriter
Lothrop B. Worth Cinematographer

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