AUGUST 22, 2007
Seems like it was only Monday that I was watching the exact same goddamn movie... Hell, I even got to copy/paste all the above formatting!
Completing my reverse viewing of the entire American cinematic legacy that is House of Wax, Mystery Of The Wax Museum reveals that Price’s film reached almost Van Sant Pyscho levels of sameness at times (particularly the beginning and climax). However, the middle is pretty different, since the protagonists’ were overhauled in the 50s one (and since this movie was pre-code – there’s a junkie! Who is just a mere drunk in the remake). This time, the would-be Marie Antoinette is the victim (Fay Wray herself – whatever happened to her? That delicate, satin-draped frame…), and her friend, sassy Glenda Farrell, is not dead, but instead a reporter who suspects that the wax statues are real bodies.
It’s interesting watching the films in reverse order, since each subsequent re-telling upped the action and horror. So as it becomes less and less surprising for me as I watch the story unfold, I also get less action for my trouble. Someone PLEASE just tell me there’s no 1911 version with Lon Chaney or something.
Unlike Price’s version though, everyone is pretty much on the same playing field. Lionel Atwill is good, and since he starred in one of my favorite 30s films (Doctor X), he’s A-OK in my book (it’s a short book). Farrell is amusing as the wiseass broad who has about three actual lines and a couple hundred quips. Wray does her thing. Everyone else is typical of the era (over excited about every little thing – including a stranger’s suicide).
The set of the wax lab is pretty impressive for the time too – it’s huge! And I got a good laugh out of the giant dial that says “WAX TEMPERATURE”. Isn’t simply “Temperature” enough information? What if someone wanted to use it for their oven? It would be chaos!
Sorry for the short review. There’s really only so much I can say about wax in a 48 hour period.
What say you?