Hooray its Halloween and we have reached the end of my three post cramming so let’s finish this!
Rewinding the clock back to the 1950’s our last contender for this year is House of Wax, which is a remake of a 1933 movie with a similar name. The two of these movies will one day spawn a 2005 remake, which is the only one I had previously heard of because of its bad wrap, and for that I am interested in checking it out one day. Also another fun fact I learned before watching this House of Wax is it’s the first ever colour 3-D feature film, and was directed by a man with only one eye who couldn’t wear 3-D glasses! I didn’t watch this in 3-D, but it’s a nice little piece of trivia that I thought I would share.
Anyway onto the plot: Vincent Price is a wax sculptor who is really passionate about his work. Maybe a little too much, but that’s okay, it’s his love, it’s his baby, so who can blame the guy. This of course causes conflict with his business partner who doesn’t see value in the figures so, after an argument with Price, two seconds later he decides to torch the entire wax studio. An intense brawl ensues, while the building literally falls on top of them. It ends with the partner escaping and Price being left to perish, but did he? A few months later Vincent Price re-emerges, crippled and a bit disfigured, but who cares he has a new wax museum. It’s got it all, more creepy wax people, a mute muscular Charles Bronson and wax figures that look pretty damn close to the characters who have died 15 minutes earlier in the movie. Coincidence, mmhhm, doubt it.
I must admit, this is the most fun I’ve had out of the three of these movies. The film has a very showman like spirit to it, from the loud salesman hitting the paddle balls outside Price’s new wax museum, to the women in their big poufy dresses flashing their knickers in a bustling club. All these scenes feature an uplifting marching score playing in the background. It’s like watching the biggest, grandest event in town, which most big budget 50’s and 60’s movies were like back in the day. You also have a woman with the most bubbly voice I’ve heard from one of these old 50’s movies, it’s a real delight. Ha-Ha-Hah! I’m in a very bouncy mood, I forgot I was watching a horror movie.
Shockingly the movie does a good job of contrasting the horror aspects. The film appears to have a hidden underlying darkness hiding in plain sight of the more happy go lucky scenes. This is mainly accomplished by how life-like the wax figures are. These figures really left me a bit uneasy and once you learn how some of these wax figures were made it adds another level of dread to it all. This is elevated during the epic fire brawl scene when the wax figures start to melt… *Gasps! I don’t know if I can ever walk into a Madame Tussauds ever again, after seeing that.
The acting is really good, but the star is Vincent Price as he carries the whole movie playing the sympathetic push-over turned tragic villain. My only real issue with this movie is how Price is suddenly sidelined for these randomos who join the story, parading as our “good guy” characters. Another bias at play, I’d rather watch a fascinating anti-hero than the average goodie goodies. I understand why they’re needed to keep the movie from being too dark and maybe that type of storytelling might conflict with 1950’s audiences! Also they included a happy ending in this horror movie, which made me feel like I was watching a stupid sitcom! They’re all gathered around the room discussing the lessons they learnt when someone suddenly says ‘House of Wax! More like House of Hacks, am I right everybody?’ Then everybody fake chuckles as we roll the credits.
Overall, House of Wax was my favourite of all the requests I was given. It was fun when needed and scary when required. It also has nice sets, impressive make-up effects, it’s also well-choregraphed with its dancing and fights scenes. Hooray its done! four cheers to the four people on Facebook and Twitter who requested I review these movies. It was unfortunate and my fault for why it was quite hectic to put them together and rush them over the finish line, but without these requests I literally hadn’t consider any Halloween ideas for this year so big cheers to you lot! Most importantly I hope they were an entertaining read and maybe have some ideas of what films to consider seeking out before the next Halloween.