House of Wax 1953 Review

You have to remember that my blog is titled ‘Inside the Mind of a Horror Photographer’ and it’s all coming out now.

I decided tonight that I wanted to watch a Vincent Price classic and chose a House of Wax as I remember it vaguely from my teenage years. The film, which is one of Vincent Price’s greatest in my opinion, is brilliant and had me laughing at the intermission part.

I watched the version made for 3D and the Intermission was so cheesy with a man playing with a small bat with a ball attached to string. He was deliberately aiming it at the camera, purely to show off 3D, but it was also a part of the film where he’s encouraging people to enter the waxworks.

House of Wax Vincent Price

House of Wax Vincent Price

Vincent Price who plays Professor Henry Jarrod, was magnificent in his portrayal of a brilliant wax sculptor who is renowned for creating dummies that look so life like. His business partner suggests burning down the place and splitting the insurance and after a struggle, his museum is burned to the ground destroying all of his wonderful work. Jarrod survives the fire, but he’s severely disfigured and cannot use his hands like previously. He then turns to murder and uses real bodies to create his life like wax dummies.

Revenge is sweet when Jarrod murders his partner and uses his body as a feature in his chamber of horrors and you will have to watch the film to see how the storyline unfolds.

The thing that I find very disturbing are the similarities between Vincent Price’s character, Professor Henry Jarrod and the real life Body Worlds scientist Gunther von Hagens. They both use dead bodies as exhibits and they both wear the same hat.


Mad Scientists

Have you ever been to one of Gunther von Hagens exhibits?Gunther creation

I have about 5 years ago roughly and I’m still numb to this day. Although people say that it’s for scientific purposes that Hagens does it, I think he does it for art as well. I remember seeing one of his creations, a man standing there with his skin draped over his arm.  I was shocked, but I can’t complain as I paid £11 to see it as I was caught up in the curiosity of it all.  You can’t tell me that the creation below isn’t art?

Gunter Body Worlds

Back in the 1950’s when a House of Wax hit the cinema, I bet people never imagined in their wildest dreams that people in the future would pay to marvel at creations made from the bodies of the deceased. It would have been viewed as pure fantasy, but you know different if you’ve ever walked amongst Hagens dead. It’s even more shocking when you visit Hagens website and he has a page all about body donation.

I wonder what Vincent Price would have thought of it?

A Chamber of Horrors Indeed
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One Comment:

  1. You might also want to check out Honoré Fragonard who did similar work previous to von Hagens more than a century earlier.

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