House of Wax (1953)
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- 88 min.
André De Toth
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Um...question. How is it the deaf man knows to duck and hide after standing on a creaking floorboard?
Thanks Nuked. Constructive comment as always.
While I enjoyed Mystery of the Wax Museum, I have to agree with most audiences that 1953's House of Wax is the best iteration of the story, trading fast-talkin' reporter detective stuff with more lurid and violent horror. Hey, it made a horror star out of Vincent Price, so we owe it no little measure of respect! It tickles me that House of Wax is a big 3D spectacular when the eponymous museum showcases "three-dimensional tableaux", and give or take a couple of moments, the 3D-ness isn't too gimmicky. Price's wax sculptor is shown to be benignly mad even before everything goes up in flames, and remains a tragic figure even once he goes on his killing spree. He's helped by a young Charles Bronson as a mute Igor type (called Igor, which is also a reference to the original film's villain), unlikely as it may seem today. There's some silly humor, tense nail-biting scenes, spooky dummies lurking or melting, and a great performance by Price (of course). While the original was a good mystery, as its title suggested, this second remake's focus is squarely on thrills and chills, and it's a lot of fun as a result.
Better than the 2005 remake with Paris Hilton!
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In 4 official lists
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This movie ranks #111 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Adjusted Box Office
This movie ranks #126 in TSZDT's The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films
This movie ranks #420 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #660 in Library of Congress's National Film Registry