From the video case: In the wicked performance that made him the gothic master of the macabre, Vincent Price is Prof. Henry Jarrod, a renowned wax sculptor plunged into madness when an arsonist destroys his life’s work. Unable to use his flame-scarred hands, Jarrod devises a new way of restocking his House of Wax. Aided by Igor (Charles Buchinsky, better known as Charles Bronson), he dips his hapless victims in wax! (1953, color)
Mark says: This is a wonderfully theatrical remake of the 1933 film Mystery Of The Wax Museum. It was originally filmed in 3-D. Though the 3-D effects are not too distracting on video, there are at least two scenes where they do not translate well (the paddle ball barker and the can-can scenes).
The greatest flaw in the film is that the great “wax sculptures” usually look more like very cheap department store mannequins. However, they are much more effective when melting in the blaze. Also, in its attempts to be comedic, the gags are sometimes overdone. The scenes with the fainting woman (who faints at the mildest of shocks) are particularly overplayed.
Despite these minor flaws, the film holds together well. Vincent Price (The Abominable Dr. Phibes) is, ahem, priceless as the deranged sculptor. Carolyn Jones (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) turns in a delightful performance as Sue Allen’s (Phyllis Kirk) dim-witted friend. Also look for a young Charles Bronson (billed as Charles Buchinsky) in the role of Igor.
The dialog is clever and the visual quality of the film is superb. Another bonus: Paris Hilton wasn’t even born when this film was produced.
Directed by Andre De Tooth.
Scene to watch for: Vincent Price throws a tiny pail of water on a raging fire.
Line to listen for: “It’s sort of a shock to see your head detached like that.”
Trivia: Director Andre De Toth was blind in one eye and could not appreciate the 3-D effects of the film.
Mark’s Rating: ! ! ! ! out of 5.