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?