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House of Wax (1953)

GP | | Horror | 25 April 1953 (USA)
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ON DISC
An associate burns down a wax museum with the owner inside, but he survives only to become vengeful and murderous.

Director:

André De Toth (as Andre de Toth)

Writers:

Crane Wilbur (screenplay), Charles Belden (story)
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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Vincent Price ... Prof. Henry Jarrod
Frank Lovejoy ... Det. Lt. Tom Brennan
Phyllis Kirk ... Sue Allen
Carolyn Jones ... Cathy Gray
Paul Picerni ... Scott Andrews
Roy Roberts ... Matthew Burke
Angela Clarke ... Mrs. Andrews
Paul Cavanagh ... Sidney Wallace
Dabbs Greer ... Sgt. Jim Shane
Charles Bronson ... Igor (as Charles Buchinsky)
Reggie Rymal ... The Barker
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Now Warners Bros bring you 3 dimension natural vision unlike anything you've seen before! A feature picture! A story sensation! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 April 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wax Works See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$658,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$23,750,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo (WarnerPhonic/RCA) (3 channels)

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It must have been easy for Vincent Price to act alarmed in the sequence in which his museum burns down. Right before the shoot, André De Toth's crew set three "spot fires" in strategic locations. Then the cameras started rolling and everything went downhill. The team quickly lost control of their fires, which merged into a massive inferno that put a hole in the sound stage roof and singed Price's eyebrows. But because the rapidly melting wax mannequins would've been very hard to replace, de Toth kept on filming-even as firemen arrived to help extinguish the flames. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Prof. Henry Jarrod: [heavy with menace after Sue unwigs Cathy] You shouldn't have done that, my dear!
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Santo en el museo de cera (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Music by William Steffe
Lyrics by Julia Ward Howe
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Classic Fun-Filled Horror!
20 June 2004 | by GafkeSee all my reviews

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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