House of Wax (1953)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Horror  |  25 April 1953 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 11,099 users  
Reviews: 117 user | 81 critic

An associate burns down a wax museum with the owner inside, but he survives only to become vengeful and murderous.


(as Andre de Toth)


(screenplay), (story)
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Det. Lt. Tom Brennan
Sue Allen
Cathy Gray
Scott Andrews
Matthew Burke
Angela Clarke ...
Mrs. Andrews
Sidney Wallace
Sgt. Jim Shane
Igor (as Charles Buchinsky)
Reggie Rymal ...
The Barker


Professor Henry Jarrod is a true artist whose wax sculptures are lifelike. He specializes in historical tableau's such a Marie Antoinette or Joan of Arc. His business partner, Matthew Burke, needs some of his investment returned to him and pushes Jarrod to have more lurid exposes like a chamber of horrors. When Jarrod refuses, Burke set the place alight destroying all of his beautiful work in the hope of claiming the insurance. Jarrod is believed to have died in the fire but he unexpectedly reappears some 18 months later when he opens a new exhibit. This time, his displays focus on the macabre but he has yet to reproduce his most cherished work, Marie Antoinette. When he meets his new assistant's beautiful friend, Sue Allen, he knows he's found the perfect model - only unbeknown to anyone, he has a very particular way of making his wax creations. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

wax | sculptor | fire | wax museum | morgue | See All (41) »


Warner Bros. bring you the first feature produced by a major studio in 3D... See more »


Crime | Horror


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 April 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Wax Works  »

Box Office


$658,000 (estimated)


$23,750,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (WarnerPhonic/RCA) (3 channels)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The name of Vincent Price's character was changed to Henry Jarrod from Ivan Igor to avoid alienating Russian viewers. See more »


During the elevator hanging scene, the sound of the char woman screaming is unmuffled, but on screen her mouth is covered. See more »


Prof. Henry Jarrod: Here we have Joan Of Arc. A favorite subject of mine.
See more »


References Frankenstein (1931) See more »


On the Rue de la Paix
Music by Werner R. Heymann
Danced by the can-can dancers
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

When horror films were fun for everybody!
8 February 2004 | by (Huntington, NY) – See all my reviews

HOUSE OF WAX established Vincent Price as a horror film icon. He's never hammy here. He's best when describing gruesome details (like torture or murder) with a slight grin, as if he's building to a punchline. Crane Wilbur's screenplay has well researched details (regarding how wax sculpting works, the effects of chemical burns for example) improves on the 1933 original. Here Vincent Price plays Henry Jerrod, a wax sculptor whose first try at a wax museum meets the same infernal end as Atwill's museum in the first film. 12 years later, Jerrod opens a new museum. One of his intern sculptors dates a model, Sue (Phyllis Kirk) who is hounded by a mysterious man with a distorted face. In the original film version, made in 1933, Fay Wray plays a beautiful, but uninteresting damsel in distress. Phyllis Kirk fills Fay Wray's part here, and man, is she even more boring! But don't worry, you have plenty of Vincent to make this DVD worthwhile. It's easy to find in a bit part, young Charles Bronson (billed here as Charles Buchinsky) as one of Jerrod's s interns. HOUSE OF WAX's most famous element is that it was made in 3-D. This new gimmick, meant to lure television viewers back to the box office was novel, but it had it's kinks. (Warner Brothers improved the process a year later with the 3-D release of Hitchcock's DIAL M FOR MURDER, and yet another period horror film, PHANTOM OF THE RUE MORGUE.) The most amusing 3-D moment in HOUSE OF WAX has almost nothing to do with the story. A carnival barker, (played with crowd-pleasing energy by Reggie Rymal) constantly whacks a paddle-ball outside the wax museum, while heralding the museum's opening night thrills. He faces the camera (meaning us) and says `You! With the popcorn. Hold still.' and he proceeds to repeatingly whack the ball at the camera. HOUSE OF WAX is a lot of fun, and was a big hit at the time. The DVD does not come with a 3-D Process, but it does come with coverage of HOUSE OF WAX's Hollywood Premier. It's attended by Bela Lugosi and friend, Jack Warner, and Ronald Reagan (See, even Presidents watch horror movies!)

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