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This was a pilot for a period detective program from Warner Bros. entitled "House of Wax", padded out with various gimmicks including the red "fear flash" and "horror horn", several added sequences and guest stars with a larger screen in mind because it was considered too intense at that time for television. See more »
At approx. the 13:53 mark, the torch reveals that the footage has been racked forward and backward to pad out the time needed for the verbal description of the crime. See more »
Can you describe him?
He's... he's tall and uh... he's dark and um... uh... soft-spoken. He moves very quietly. What's wrong me? He's the easiest man in the world to identify. His right hand is missing.
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Although he played a major character in the film, Patrick O'Neal's name does not appear in the ending credits. See more »
Produced as a TV series pilot, this film was determined to be too violent for the small screen and given theatrical distribution instead. Added for this release was an exploitation device called the "Fear Flasher/Horror Horn", ostensibly to warn the audience of the "Four Supreme Fright Points" (although it was not applied to the picture's most explicitly violent moment, the climactic fate of the villain). This device was explained in an introductory sequence narrated by _'William Conrad (I)'_. Upon first showing on US network television, both the device and its explanation were deleted, but in subsequent syndication to local stations in the 1970s and '80s, some such prints were seen. See more »
Horror Delight Despite the Fear Flasher and Horror Horn
This is above all a fun horror film about two criminologists in the late 19th century Baltimore area(one decidedly English - Wilfred Hyde-White and the other decidedly Italian - Cesare Danova)working in a wax museum and uncovering crimes for/with the police. Apparently it was to be a pilot for a television series, and it is very unfortunate it never progressed that far. Hyde-White is always a treat and Danova is rather good too. This story deals with capturing Jason Cravatte - a local aristocrat with a fetish for girls in wedding gowns - dead or alive. Patrick O'Neal gives one of his best screen performances in the role of this psychotic, deranged killer who loses his hand and replaces it with all kinds of cutlery(ax, sword, scalpel, etc...) The film also boast the two gimmicks of the Fear Flasher when the screen will flash with green to let the viewer know something terrifying is about to happen and is preceded by the Horror Horn announcing its arrival. We are told in the beginning of the film that this will occur four times and none of those times are scary in the least bit. What makes this film work is the acting by Hyde-White, Danova, O'Neal, and people like Wayne Rogers as a constable, Jose Rene Ruiz as Pepe the dwarfish assistant, a cameo by Tony Curtis helps out, and all the acting is workmanlike and credible. Hy Averback , a television director of repute and ability, gives the film a very stylish feel with its Victorian-like atmosphere, swirling fogs, and seedy locales when needed. The wax museum itself is indeed impressive as well as is the denouement of the film. This "little" film - judging by its limited audience - is much better than one might at first expect given the gimmicks and story.
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