Dir: Andre de Toth | Cast: Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones, Roy Roberts, Paul Picerni | US Horror 88′
Historically important for its role in both the history of the 3D film and the career of Vincent Price; who after 15 years as a general purpose actor finally found his vocation as Hollywood’s premier ghoul, House of Wax sees his fiendish character Jarrod managing a museum full of wax-covered murder victims.
A remake of Michael Curtiz’ early colour production called Mystery of the Wax Museum, close attention to the limited palette of the original is readily apparent from the blues and pinks at the film’s conclusion.
Like Mad Vince himself (who talks to his eerily lifelike exhibits with the fond intimacy of Prince Charles alone with his plants), the film frequently displays a childish sense of fun, as when a barker breeches the fourth wall and projects a ping-pong ball straight at your nose.
The film also provides early peripheral roles by Carolyn Jones during her days as a tittering blonde and Charles Bronson as a deaf mute called Igor (no, really) who’s the subject of a splendid sight gag. @RichardChatten
BFI Film on Film Festival (8-11 June) is the UK’s first film festival dedicated to screening works solely on celluloid with films showing on rare Nitrate, 16mm, 35mm, 70mm, dual-strip 3D and Super 8.