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
Phyllis Kirk tried to turn the film down. Since she was under contract with Warner Bros, Kirk had no choice but to appear in this picture. That didn't stop her from complaining about the gig. "I bitched and moaned and ... [said] that I wasn't interested in becoming the Fay Wray of my time," Kirk confessed. Another bone of contention was the 3D format, which she regarded as a "gimmick." But despite these reservations, Kirk decided that playing ball would be preferable to getting suspended. "And incidentally, I went on to have a lot of fun making House of Wax," she admitted. See more »
When the original wax museum is on fire, wires can be seen pulling some of the wax figures down. The wire attached to the Joan of Arc figure is particularly evident, pulling it down at the end of the sequence. See more »
Prof. Henry Jarrod:
Here's President Lincoln and his assassin John Wilkes Booth. One of my few concessions to the macabre.
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Released in Japan in the short-lived VHD format in 3-D. This disc has been widely copied to make bootleg tapes and DVDs. See more »
House of Wax was one of the few films made in 3D which was a huge success. This may have more to do with the fact that it had a good, strong story and great acting and did not rely solely upon it's 3D special effects.
The late great Vincent Price is Henry Jarrod, a sweet and dedicated artist who creates lifelike mannequins for a wax museum. His statues - depicting everyone from Marie Antoinette & Joan of Arc to John Wilkes Booth - are loved by Henry as much as if they were his own children. When he objects to creating more horrific sculptures to attract more paying customers, his partner sets the museum on fire, hoping to collect a tidy sum in insurance money. Henry supposedly perishes in the flames, trying in vain to rescue his beloved wax friends in a scene which is truly heartbreaking. Some time later, Henry reappears, wheelchair bound and just a tad bitter. He has opened a new wax museum which features realistic scenes of murder and horror, many of them taken from current headlines. Unfortunately, some of them are just a little TOO realistic: one looks like Henry's ex-partner, who was found hanging in an elevator shaft. Was it really a suicide, or something more sinister? Joan of Arc bears a striking resemblance to Cathy Gray, a young girl who has gone missing from her room. And Cathy's friend Sue looks exactly like the lost Marie Antoinette, the pride and joy of Henry's former exhibit. Soon, a horribly scarred monster is chasing Sue through the foggy night time streets. Can the police, and Sue's artistic young suitor, solve the mystery in time? Or will Sue wind up as yet another display in the House of Wax?
This is a wonderful, creepy scare-fest with great sets, beautiful colors and strong performances. Vincent Price as Henry Jarrod is both lovable and horrifying as the kind man driven mad. Charles Bronson, in a very early role, is super freaky as Henry's mute and morbid assistant. Carolyn Jones (in her pre-Morticia Addams days) is blond, pretty Cathy, the squeaky opportunist with the heart of gold. Phyllis Kirk is the sensible Sue, a slightly uptight but genuinely believable victim. The scene where she must run through the deserted, fog-soaked streets is very, convincingly creepy. When Sue actually stops long enough to remove her noisy and cumbersome high heeled shoes, which give away her every step on the cobblestone road, I very nearly applauded. The 3D effects are an added bonus to an already wonderfully fun movie - watch for the classic paddle ball scene!
This is one of Price's best starring role films. It is everything that a good horror film should be - funny without being ridiculous, scary without the gore and fantastical without being far fetched. 10 stars!!! Don't miss it!
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