House of Wax (1953)

Posted by Sam Hayes On Saturday, October 30, 2010
This week's retro movie showing was 'House of Wax', released in 1953 it tells the story of a public wax figure collection run by two partners, one of which suggest burning down the building to get rich from the insurance money, a fight begins due to his partner not wanting to ruin his pieces of art, leading to a fatal fire in which one of them perishes.

The story continues with a new wax gallery opening, meanwhile corpses are disappearing from the local morgue and the wax-work figures are starting to look remarkably like missing people. The film's pace is perfect, it has a nice mix of action scenes and dialogue and doesn't have the same issue with some other older 'monster'  films whereby the dialogue takes over. The fight scenes are enjoyable, mainly because of the cheesy action and sound effects. The characters were exaggerated, with the pretty main female character who wasn't very smart at all, to the evil, but subtle mastermind - the professor, hiring men to create his wax-work figurines from corpses.

Another trait of this film is that it was first released in 3D, which is very obvious to tell from some of the gimmicks used, it was very successful on release, but this may have been due to the strong acting and narrative rather than the new technology. One part which showed the 3D element very obviously was an out-of-place scene of a street entertainer outside of the museum, using three paddles to do tricks towards the camera, which when seen in 3D, would shock the audience.

Overall, I rellay enjoyed House of Wax and I would say it has been my favourite of Alan's films this unit, it had a good balance of comedy (whether intentional or not) and believable plot. Although the whole story was a little far-fetched, it was fun in a gruesome way and the final scene where the professor was unmasked was really well done.

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I'm a student studying CG Arts and Animation at the University for the Creative Arts, I'm living in Kent.

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