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) »


Beauty and Terror meet in your every thrill of its story comes off the screen right at you in NaturalVision 3 dimension See more »


Crime | Horror


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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?


Joan Weldon and Vera Miles were both contenders for the role of Sue Allen before Phyllis Kirk was chosen. See more »


As Sue Allen is laying underneath the wax distributor in the basement of the wax museum, her expressions and movements change from shot to shot. See more »


Prof. Henry Jarrod: I'm afraid that the visit of a such distinguished critic may cause my children to become conceited. To you they are wax, but to me their creator, they live and breathe.
See more »


Referenced in Waxwork (1988) See more »


Battle Hymn of the Republic
Music by William Steffe
Lyrics by Julia Ward Howe
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A horror classic, which every fan of the genre should see. Vincent Price's horror persona begins here!
6 February 2004 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

I love Vincent Price, my all time favourite horror actor. 'House Of Wax' is an important movie in his career, because it was his first legitimate horror film, after thirty something pictures in a variety of genres. This really is where the Price persona fans know and love began. He made non-horror pictures after this, it was a few years later that he made 'The Fly' and the William Castle movies which made him a horror star, something cemented later in the 60s with Roger Corman's Poe movies. But you can see Vincent Price horror icon right here. He's terrific as Jarrod and he would draw upon this role for 'The Mad Magician', and later, the Phibes movies and 'Theatre Of Blood'. 'House Of Wax' is a remake of 'Mystery Of The Wax Museum' made twenty years earlier. In that one Lionel Atwill played the Price role (different name, but same character). Atwill was great but Price is even better, as is the movie overall. 'House Of Wax' sticks pretty much to the earlier movie, but with a few changes, most notably the absence of the girl reporter character that Fay Wray played in the original. In this, the policeman played by Frank Lovejoy ('In A Lonely Place') takes on a similar role. Phyllis Kirk is good as the female lead, better in my opinion than Glenda Farrell in the earlier picture. The supporting cast also includes Carolyn "Morticia Addams" Jones, and an early appearance by Charles Bronson, who plays a deaf mute named Igor. 'House Of Wax' was made specifically for 3D, so there's a few gimmicky shots, but that doesn't spoil the movie, which to me is a horror classic that every fan of the genre should see.

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