30 Oct 2010

The Uncanny House of Wax (1953)

House of Wax is a horror film about a sculptor who after being successful in his craft turned into monster killer. What led him to this was the greedy colleague who burned both the sculptor and his precious museum of wax people. After the accident he no longer could use his hands to create beauty, instead he’d choose a victim, murdered it and turned it to a wax sculpture. 

The first thing this film reminded me of, was the Uncanny Valley: Wax figures had so much likeness with real human and therefore it was so chilling to see, for instance their faces melt down in fire. Or a feeling of insecurity and suspicion, when one of the characters walks alone in the museum full of wax humans. As if a sudden movement or hit can be expected from every corner.To my mind it was where the most of horror in this film came from. 

The film was relatively a close remake of  Mystery in the Wax Museum (Curtiz, Michael;1933). And inspired some of the following films, one of which, quite obviously the new  House of Wax (Collet-Serra, Jaume; 2005) giving it the basic plot on which the  typical slasher film formula was then applied.

The film was wonderful with quite a few memorable moments. Particularly the theatrical chasing scene , when the monster tries to catch the leading lady. Or the entertaining but plain-obvious use of 3d effect with  ping pong scenes, as well as, mostly of all, one of the last sequences, a moment when the wax mask falls down and the audience gets to see the sculptor being a  monster. 

The film is meant to be seen in 3d, and my guess is its even more entertaining then. But surprisingly “it works” till this day. Maybe more so as drama, not a horror film


  1. Mystery of the Wax Museum is very good, its on the same disc as House of Wax DVD as a bonus but you wouldnt know, despite the fact it's as good if not better than House of Wax!

  2. yeah, the film critics say exactly the same :)

  3. I really like the new 'chic' template, JJ - very refined and classy. I approve 100%

  4. It was about time to change it. Thanks :)