Thursday, May 24, 2012

100 Movies That Make Me Love Film: 80. House of Wax

Every Thursday I Discuss one of the 100 Movies that Make me Love Film

My grandfather was the person who first exposed me to this film and entered me into the world of Vincent Price. At the time it was one of the scariest movies I’d ever seen and to this day it still erks me to watch. The general concept is just so terrifying and frightening.
House of Wax is a perfect example of it’s era. It’s dark, but funny. It has Vincent Price. He goes over the top showing off it’s flashy 3-D but most of all it’s charming. There’s a certain to old horror movies (specifically Vincent Price films), and even more charming is this delightful 3-D sequence.
The film begins with the talented but struggling wax sculptor Professor Henry Jarrod. His financial partner Matthew Burke thinks that sensational exhibits will help save the company but Jarrod refuses. Matthew sets the wax museum on fire and leaves Henry to die hoping to collect the insurance money.
We flash forward to Matt on a date discussing the recent death of his business partner. After the date a noose is thrown around his neck and he is killed in an elevator shaft however the papers call it a suicide. 
Shortly afterwards we discover that Henry is still alive and planning to follow Matthew’s advice and change the show into a more macabe and sensational wax show. However he needs assistance since the fire destroyed his hands. Audiences can’t get enough of his realistic wax figures specifically Sue Allen. She’s terrified by how much one of the figures looks like her dead roommate Cathy. 
She sneaks into the museum one night and is attacked by Henry. While fighting him off she shatters his face revealing a burnt up and scarred face underneath. The sequence of his face shattering used to terrify me as a kid.
This movie is a prime example of what makes me love Vincent Price movies, his character doesn’t start off evil. He’s driven to it by the evil doings of others. House of Wax is no different. Sadly it was remade into a mediocre horror film in the 2000’s but that doesn’t stop the 3-D film for 1953 from being a classic of the genre.

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<--- 81. It's A Wonderful Life

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