FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 20, 2006

Day 19- Welcome to the house of fun

For reasons unknown, some time ago I added the 2005 version of House of Wax to my Netflix queue. Yeah, that House of Wax. The Dark Castle flick- Dark Castle Entertainment, of course, being the source of some of the cruddiest, most CGI-riddled "horror" crapfests, such as Gothika and Thir13en Ghosts. Of course, I do love House on Haunted Hill, but that seems to be the bright spot in their roster, no? By the way, "Thir13en" is pronounced "thirthirteenen".

Where was I? Oh yeah- that House of Wax. The flick from Dark Castle. The flick starring Paris Hilton and her eerie dead eyes. The flick starring some of today's brightest, freshest television faces, such as Elisha Cuthbert of television's 24. The flick wherein Elisha Cuthbert of television's 24 sports the hottest look of the last three years in horror- the medium-length brown hair/white tank top combo. Witness:



By the way, I vote for Jessica Biel.

A group of stock horror characters- the jock, the good girl, the good boy, the bad boy, the slut, and the annoying dude with the video camera- are driving to a big college football game in Baton Rouge. Their shortcut turns out to be a bust, and since it's getting late, they end up camping out for the night. Several plot devices later, they're split up and stranded. Some seek help in a weird Art Deco late '20s/early '30s-style town...a town not on the map, but home to a House of Wax nonetheless.

Yeah, that House of Wax.

And Charles Nelson Reilly help me...I loved it.

I had absolutely zero expectations for this movie- wait, that's not true. I was expecting to hate it. I tried, I really did. When the movie started and the annoying dude got out the video camera, I raised my right hand in the air. When a sequence that was prime for some mood-building was overpowered by some nameless pop-metal music shit, I prepared to raise my middle finger. But then...something magical happened, people. Something so magical and so rare, it was like...I don't know, finding a leprechaun riding a unicorn through a sea of golden Skittles.

The movie got good.

I don't mean "good" as in "scary good", although I'd be lying if I said there weren't some genuinely creepy moments.

No, I mean "good" as in "fun good"- not unlike the aforementioned House on Haunted Hill. The gore in this was pretty damn incredible- it was abundant and looked organic, ie not-CGI. There were many shots that would do Tom Savini proud, lemme tell ya- House of Wax really earns its R rating. I counted at least 5 occasions where my hands flew up in front of my face- not in rage, surprisingly, but in a disbelieving "HOLY SHIT!" kind of way- including the one deleted scene in the bonus features. Everyone is used and abused in this movie, including our Final Girl.

The bitchin' denoument eventually descends into some CGI-overblown-ness and the movie is probably too long for its own good. Yes, it borrows heavily from the classic slasher flick Tourist Trap, yes there are plot holes a leprechaun could ride a unicorn through, but man- I was floored by how much I liked it. It is, in a word, fun. The most fun I've had watching a horror flick this month- and that's saying something. How can you not like a flick that features a clip from Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, anyway? Invite your friends over, have some beer, and watch House of Wax. You'll be in for a good, gory time. I give it 8.75 out of 10 I Can't Believe It's Not Butters.

By the way, don't you think this still of a dummy from House of Wax looks like it could be a production still from a remake of the race-reversal comedy Soul Man, starring Zach Braff of television's Scrubs in role made famous by C Thomas Howell?

9 comments:

Amanda By Night said...

I really liked House of Wax too, but goshdarnit, I like Paris Hilton. I've said it before, she's like if Courtney Love was a Rockwell. Shoot, I can't help it.

Anyway, this movie is a blatant rip off, or uh, inspiration of a neat 70s exploitation flick called Tourist Trap. But House did me proud by, and this is exactly what you said Stacie, making it fun.

And when boyfriend gets his face peeled off - YEOUCH!

We finally agree, but WHAT a film to agree on! ;)

Amanda By Night

Stacie Ponder said...

Heh- you must've been reading right before I edited this post to include a line about Tourist Trap. I think I like HoW more than TT, heaven help me. TT was fun (and had Tanya Roberts, yeow!), but this was...funner.

I used to really be into Paris Hilton, back when The Simple Life started. I had this little fantasy that she was alot smarter than everyone thought she was, that it was all a sort of wink wink. Then she got...I don't know, kinda gross. I don't hate her, though, and I was glad she was in this flick, even though she was terrible. Most of the time she makes me laugh. But...herpes.

I'm also in the minority of loving Courtney Love, so what's my opinion worth?

theron said...

Heeeey, I too liked the remake of "House of Wax." If you can get past expecting it to be anything like the original movie, it's not a bad ride...and yet I still wanted to see Charles Bronson pop up somewhere.

Btw, nice call on C. Thomas Howell...

Amanda By Night said...

I always want to see Charles Bronson pop up SOMEWHERE! ;)

Steven said...

I always want to see Charles Bronson popping up, in horror, action, my fantasies, romantic comedies.

I saw House of Wax in the theatre and walked away muttering, "I think...I think I LIKED that!?"

Glad to see I'm not alone.

Anonymous said...

I too liked HoW in the theatre, and yes Paris was not bad. Thanks for the pics of the tough girls in tanks. I liked Jessica but Eliza has a hardness about her that is nice to see on a chick in a horror flick.

ForsakenBySunRa said...

I tried, Stacie. I tried to watch this film. My husband Chris tried, too. He fell asleep. I soon joined him.

Were our dreams haunted by socialites and starlets with terrible acting? No..

Did they involve some bad script and cheesy 'jump-out-of-your-seat' orchestra hits? No...

They didn't even involve the wax museum itself (which was a lovely set, by the way)...No...

I'm just saying that it didn't affect our vulnerable, sleeping subconcsious minds, and that makes me sad.

Good thing Paris has a day job.

Joanna said...

You wanna know why I liked the film?

Well, aside from the reality show MTV had which revolved around the actors (And discovering Paris can be gross by eating a peanut and regular butter sandwich), the movie reminded me of an episode of "Goosebumps". Most of the episodes had siblings going through what life hands them (In this case, Carly dealing with her delinquent brother and the prospect of moving to the big city), while dealing with freaks that teach them a little something about life.

Also, I'd like to cuddle with Jared Padalecki any day of the week. :D

the ludicrous pretentious highbrow eletist snobbish college professor type fart-arse (as-it-were). said...

stacie, as far as i`m concerned "house of wax", "13 ghosts", and "ghost ship" are 3 of the greatest horror films ever made, i cant understand why people keep trashing "dark castle entertainment" i personally think they are a terrific outfit that consistantly turns out magnificent popcorn movies that hardly ever lets the audience down. Now, with regards to the remake of "house on haunted hill", what i liked most about it were those superb little tributes to "jan svankmajaer", i wonder if you noticed those?.