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House of Wax [DVD]

Release Date:11/03/2009
House of Wax was the first 3-D feature to come from a major studio during the brief stereoscopic boom of the 1950s, and while this DVD features a stubbornly 2-D edition of the film, it still honors its source material well. This edition has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono. In addition to the original English-language sound track, the disc also includes an alternate version dubbed in Spanish, as well as optional subtitles in English, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, and Thai. And the disc includes a rather surprising bonus -- a complete version of The Mystery of the Wax Museum, a 1933 feature adapted from the same original story.
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    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (4 out of 4)

    Special Features

    • House of Wax Languages: English, Français & Español
    • Interactive menus
    • Mystery of the Wax Museum Subtitles: English, Français & Español
    • Scene access
    • Subtitles: English, Français, Español, Português, Japanese, Chinese, Bahasa, Thai & Korean
    • Theatrical trailer


    The Mystery of the Wax Museum
    The Mystery of the Wax Museum begins in London in the 1920s. Lionel Atwill plays Ivan Igor, a brilliant sculptor who manages a wax museum. Regarding his historical creations as his friends, Igor refuses the entreaties of his business partner, Joe Worth (Edwin Maxwell), to turn his labor-of-love museum into a more profitable "house of horror." Worth responds by setting fire to the museum, hoping to collect the insurance; as Igor looks on in horror, his effigies of Marie Antoinette, Queen Victoria, et al. grotesquely melt to the floor. Flash-forward to 1933: New York City is plagued by several disappearances -- not only of live people, but of recently deceased corpses from the morgue. Hard-boiled girl reporter Florence Dempsey (Glenda Farrell) browbeats her long-suffering editor Jim(Frank McHugh) into investigating these disappearances. Florence rooms with Charlotte Duncan (Fay Wray), the girlfriend of Ralph Burton (Allen Vincent), who works as a technician at a new midtown wax museum. This about-to-open attraction is run by Igor, who had survived the London fire but is now confined to a wheelchair. Igor's old enemy Worth is also in New York, his fingers in several crooked pies. It appears to Florence (and the audience) that somehow Worth is involved in the recent rash of disappearances; the guilty party could also be playboy George Winton (Gavin Gordon), Florence's boyfriend, who is deeply in debt to Worth. But once Igor decides that Charlotte is the living image of Marie Antoinette, the audience becomes uncomfortably suspicious that all those incredibly life-like statues in his museum are actually the paraffin-coated bodies of the missing people. Igor tips his hand when a terrified Charlotte, promised "eternal life" by being "transformed" into an Antoinette effigy, begins punching and clawing at his face -- revealing his countenance to be a mask, covering his hideously burned and gnarled features. Thus, the stage is set for the climactic race to prevent the strapped-down Charlotte from being permanently encased in wax. Long thought lost, The Mystery of the Wax Museum was rediscovered in Jack Warner's personal film collection in 1970. Its two-color Technicolor had faded to the point of monochrome, but fortunately its original hues were preserved by dedicated AFI technicians. The film was remade (and considerably simplified) as the 1953 3-D extravaganza House of Wax, with Vincent Price in the Atwill role. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    House of Wax
    This simplified (but lavish) remake of the 1933 melodrama The Mystery of the Wax Museum was the most financially successful 3-D production of the 1950s. In his first full-fledged "horror" role, Vincent Price plays Prof. Henry Jarrod, the owner of a wax museum, whose partner, Matthew Burke (Roy Roberts), intends to burn the place down for the insurance money. When Jarrod tries to prevent Burke from torching the museum, he himself is trapped in the conflagration. Years pass: though now confined to a wheelchair, Jarrod manages to open up a new museum in New York, boasting the most incredibly lifelike wax statues ever seen. At the same time, a masked prowler has been stalking the city, murdering people and then stealing their bodies from the mortuary. One of the victims is Jarrod's old nemesis Burke; another is Cathy Gray (Carolyn Jones), the roommate of art student Sue Allen (Phyllis Kirk). On a visit to the wax museum, Sue can't help but notice that the wax likeness of Joan of Arc is a dead ringer for her deceased friend Cathy -- while the courtly Jarrod declares joyously that Sue is the living image of Marie Antoinette. Guess where this is going to wind up? Frank Lovejoy and Paul Picerni co-star as the nominal heroes, while Charles Bronson -- still billed as Charles Buchinsky -- is a menacing presence as Jarrod's deaf-mute chief sculptor (appropriately named "Igor"). No opportunity to show off the 3-D process is wasted during House of Wax; the most memorable stereoscopic moments are provided by garrulous "paddle-ball man" Reggie Rymal. Ironically, Andre de Toth, the film's director, had only one good eye, and had to constantly ask his cast and crew if the various 3-D effects had come off properly. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Lionel Atwill
      Lionel Atwill - Ivan Igor
    • Fay Wray
      Fay Wray - Charlotte Duncan
    • Glenda Farrell
      Glenda Farrell - Florence Dempsey
    • Frank McHugh
      Frank McHugh - Jim
    • Image coming soon
      Allen Vincent - Ralph Burton

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.