When I was a young kid, my parents would always take me and my siblings on an annual vacation. I’m sure most of you did the same thing and just like me I bet you were jealous of your rich friends that went to cooler places! While all my rich friends were going to Europe and big expensive trips to Sandals resorts, we didn’t have the luxury of that kind of thing. Nope our family vacations were always… more simple. Usually this meant a camping trip. Imagine five people loading up in a Ford Taurus and driving hours upon hours to a serene American destiny. Ahh, the typical Rockwellian family traveling on the American artery!
There’s my dad getting sun burned on his left arm because he always drove with the window down and his arm up on the sill. My mom sitting in the front passenger seat doing her crochet and then three jack ass kids sitting in the back seat. Me in the left seat doing my best to sleep while my head bounces against the window like a machine gun. My older sister always sat in the middle and my little brother in the right because if he was in the middle then I would kill him. We were like packed sardines in there and the air conditioning wasn’t strong enough to simmer the heat conduction. I used to get that sick feeling and after a while my ass got sore. Dad would never stop for a breather.
During this one summer we ended up in Lake George New York. Just a nice location in the upper east area of the state, about three or four hours north of New York City. I can’t remember a great deal about our camping trip. I do know the lake is big. There’s lots of wilderness and there is a fort there by the name of Fort William Henry. For anyone that is into movies, then Fort William Henry is where a part of 1992’s The Last of the Mohicans was filmed. But that is only a few things I do remember… except for one big detail.
On the main street of this lake town resides a wax museum named House of Frankenstein Wax Museum. A walk through museum that displayed a wide array of all things horror and macabre. Inside were figures of Frankenstein, Dracula, the Phantom of the Opera and even history of killers like Jack the Ripper.
From what I can tell this wax museum was one of the first places where I realized how much I love horror. While some kids went in crying, I went in happy as a clam. It’s an odd feeling really, being scared yet being happy at the same time. The building has a natural atmosphere because the waxworks need to be placed in cool low lit rooms. So walking through the hallways is like walking through an eerie old haunted house. But the figures themselves look very lifelike, like they weren’t figures at all. At any moment one would pop out and grab you and for some reason I delighted in this idea. It’s an amazing thing how something like this is the one thing I remember.
To this day House of Frankenstein Wax Museum is still open and I often think about taking my own children up there for a visit and it is why today for day twenty six of my Horror Movie Marathon we honor House of Wax!
House of Wax is a 1953 film directed by Andre DeToth and stars Vincent Price, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones, Charles Bronson and Paul Picerni. The film is actually a remake of a 1933 film titled The Mystery of the Wax Museum. House of Wax was also the first color 3D movie. It received high praise by critiques and there was a remake in 2005.
After learning of his business partners intent on claiming insurance money, a wax sculptor name Henry Jarrod is devastated and harmed in a fire. Years later after coming back into the spotlight, Henry is once more receiving attention for his wonderful displays. But speculation grows as the wax figures gain notoriety at the same time when corpses are being taken from the morgue. Is the new wax displays works of art designed by a madman?
House of Wax is a wonderful movie that even after sixty plus years, remains a shocking film that still entertains. What you get with this movie is a work of vengeance that quickly turns into a story about a madman hellbent on his artistic vision. Theres classic thrills and awesome reveals that will make you smile as you watch this great movie. I like the idea that Henry is so passionate for finding the right model for his figures that he goes to great and evil lengths in finding human models. This is where the movie delivers some sweet pre-slasher era chase scenes when Vincent Price parades around in a black cape and a gnarled step as he hunts down his next prized face.
The movie delivers some brilliant visuals that have some subtle comical moments. I for one keep noticing the moments in the movie where someone is looking at the wax figures in a sexual way. At one point there is a display where a lady is stabbing a dude in the tub and while the crowd is walking by a group of women step closer to peer into the tub. Another is when two men are staring at an Egyptian figure and is obviously one of them is eyeing the sculptures boobs. I’ve got to be honest, I’ve done the exact same thing!
But the movie pulls you along as our character Sue is unraveling the mystery behind the wax museum. What unfolds is true terror that feels very reminiscent of the classic Phantom of the Opera story. It’s up to the last part of the movie where everything becomes a true horror film and the insanity of Henry comes colliding into Sues. It’s truly one of Vincent Price’s best performances. The best part is his relationship with his servant Igor. Igor is a mute but Henry constantly loves ripping him down over it! Every moment Henry introduces him to someone, he always points out that Igor is a dumb mute! HOLY SHIT! He’s like a hot chick who is friends with a fatty but loves reminding her. But still, he’s so charismatic and passive in his performance when he plays the wheel chair bound artist. You can feel the love for the craft and almost admire his drive for perfect wax figures. Well, up to the point where he’s about to pour hot burning wax on Sues very conscious body.
I for one love this movie and it taps into the fears I had as a child while walking through that wax museum in Lake George. It’s brilliant from the very beginning up to the end where Henry himself dies the a scolding hot death! This movie was released as the first full color 3D film which is funny because the only part of this movie that has 3D effects is of a professional paddle baller pounding balls into the screen. I fully recommend this Silver Age legend for everyone to see and this is why we honor it on day twenty six for my Horror Movie Marathon!
Thanks For Reading!
Hope you enjoyed the post! If you’re looking for more horror movies then check out these other posts from day twenty six of past marathons!
Also, if you’re new to this marathon and would like to catch up with past entries. Then check out these posts below!