Like clowns, there is a certain creepiness to wax figurines. Maybe because they are residents of the uncanny valley, with blank eternal stares that follow you? But the twentieth century understood the horrors of these inanimate statues with classic tales from the Twilight Zone and even a cinematic cult classic starring Vincent Price. In 2005, yet another horror film got remade, this time bringing a more visceral thrill to these waxwork wonders in the mysterious and creepy House of Wax.
In taking a trip out of town to see a football game, a consortium of college students engages on a much-needed party break. When their car breaks down and the group is forced to seek part from the town of Ambrose. The town is filled with intricate waxworks and buildings with nary a living resident left. The gang must act quickly, as they are picked off one by one, can the survivors escape, or are they about to become the new attractions to the forgotten House of Wax?
Horror tastes have advanced since both the 1930s and 1950s and the new House of Wax does a great deal to accommodate these trends. There are elements of found footage, a collection of recognisable stock
victims’ characters and an ample dose of slasher horror for good measure. This is, of course, a Dark Castle Entertainment film, whose previous release have married campy horror with gory set-pieces. If you are a fan of tropes in horror films (like me) you have a wide array to choose from here.
Speaking of tropes, the ‘Lead girl’ is Carly played by Elisha Cuthbert, and I think she handles herself well here. This is also true with fame magnet, Paris Hilton, who serves a more ancillary role here, yet she does well with sharing the spotlight with the rest of the cast. The concepts of mysterious twins, another horror staple, is also present here, and I like how they are both portrayed by Brian Van Holt who managed to capture both characters well that I thought they were played by twins In a typical retro/camp fashion, we see a snapshot of these two growing up, it is an enjoyable sequence nonetheless with the retro kitsch feel that Dark Castle Entertainment loves, this is also evident in the elaborately designed wax museum itself.
Slasherfying the original in retrospect was probably the right choice in getting newcomers involved with House of Wax. It understands what worked well in the original and gave Dark Castle entertainment free rein to put their spin on it. Fun, graphic, and glamorous. Regardless of if you liked the old or experiencing it completely fresh, House of Wax is A blood-curdling thrill preserved forever, like an insect in amber, or a wax figure itself.
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