Years ago, Professor Jarrod (Vincent Price), a great sculptor dedicated
to wax statues, has lost his wax museum to a fire started by his business
partner (Roy Roberts), a shady man who wanted to collect the insurance
money - later the business partner is found hanged while Jarrod has
disappeared in the fire.
Years later, Jarrod reappears. He's now bound
to a wheelchair, and he can't use his hands anymore, but he's still
determined to open another wax museum soon, with the body of the work now
done by a trio of his students, deaf-mute Igor (Charles Bronson), shady
alcoholic Leon (Nedrick Young), and Scott (Paul Picerni), the good guy.
has a girlfriend, Sue (Phyllis Kirk), who has only just witnessed her best
friend (Carolyn Jones) being murdered, and has been freaked out by the
killer, a man with a disfigured face. When she visits Scott at Jarrod's
wax museum one day, she is puzzled that the statue of Joan of Arc looks a
bit too similar to her deceased friend. She leaves a lasting impression on
Jarrod though, who soon persuades her to pose for him as his new Marie
Antoinette, to which she eventually agrees, also to make her boyfriend
The police meanwhile investigate a murder series the death of
Sue's friend was a part of, a series that is especially puzzling because
apparently all the victims' corpses are stolen from the morgue later on.
Eventually the trail leads to Leon the alcoholic sculptor, and when he is
kept from drinking long enough, he breaks down due to withdrawal symptoms
and confesses that Jarrod himself is the killer, and the bodies of the
victims have been turned into his statues.
Meanwhile, Sue pays another
visit to the wax museum and examines the statue of Joan of Arc, to find
out it really is her deceased friend covered in wax. Unfortunately, she is
caught by Jarrod, who is quick to overpower her, strap her onto a table
and prepare everything to cover her in wax - but not before uncovering his
real face, which was covered behind a mask, to her, which reveals him to
be her friend's disfigured killer.
Of course the police arrives just in
time to save Sue, and ultimately Jarrod himself ends up in his vat of
cooking wax ...
A 3D remake of thge then two decades old Mystery
of the Wax Museum, House of Wax is a fun horror film and
the film that pretty much single-handedly started Vincent Price's horror
career (and got him typecast for the rest of his career). On closer
inspection though, it's not that great of a film, sure it's competently
directed and reasonably atmospherically done, but the script is painfully
formulaic, is devoid of plottwists or surprises, and it also lacks the
many macabre details as well as the sexual innuendo of the pre-code Mystery
of the Wax Museum.
This all is not to say House of Wax is
a disappointment of any sorts, it's just routine genre entertainment,
nothing more. You'll probably enjoy it.