House of Wax (Andre de Toth, 1953)

One of my favourite Vincent Price films, though surprisingly not for his performance… it’s really the female lead that sells this film, and the wax dummies. It’s positively eerie, and the boundaries between human and mummy blur as the film progresses. Price’s obssession as an artist, turns human into wax, but his callous need for perfection and revenge, also pushes him further away from our conception of humanity.

The lead actress is particularly good, as I tend to find women in these roles during this era to be uninteresteing and stale. Phyllis Kirk, however, comes across as intelligent and passionate. Though entirely rational, very right, she is continually dimissed by the police and men who around her as being an irrational and overly emotional woman. It’s an interesting point, though unfortunately, is not really dwelt upon.

It also shows how little disregard society has for it’s artist, and it’s only when the macabre and ridiculous mareting ploys enter the equation that Price’s work receives any kind of success. In a way, his own exploitation of people’s innermost perversions and voyeurism, is part of his revenge against a society that rejected him for wealth and consumerism, over true appreciation of the cultural arts.

One response to “House of Wax (Andre de Toth, 1953)

  1. This one, Last Man on Earth, House of Usher and his role as “Egghead” on the old Batman show are definitely my favorites.

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