March 13th, 2009 21:11 EST
My First Movie Review-House Of Wax!
MOVIE REVIEW 1 / HOUSE OF WAX
FOUR STAR **** STAR IS PRODUCTION DESIGNER, GRAHAM (GRACE) WALKER
The real star of this horror genre film, is the production designer, Graham (Grace) Walker. Also, Jason Baird, who created the wax figures, must be singled out for praise, for the gossamer wax people that populate the museum, movie house, and chapel sets will leave you wan with worry (see photo 14 on production stills: House of Wax). The set for the sleepy Louisiana hamlet of Ambrose, ala William Faulkner, meticulously slammed together by Walker and crew, will befreak-you-out, for its lunacy and eerie, austere authenticity.
You will be spellbound as you tour Trudy`s House of Wax, and you will be a whimsical-waif-in-wonderland as you scurry about Ambrose-that`s it, trespass the gas station, chapel, wax-down torture room, and movie shack, where Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? reruns in perpetuity. Oh, rampage in the road-kill-pit too, and meet the gummy, seedy road-kill derelict, as he tosses trophies on the gnarly mound, and maybe you should even hitch a ride with him to Ambrose! Nothing better to do! Boy, do not forget the animal carcass landfill with putrefaction perfecto, in terms of upchuck realism, on the part of aforementioned set designers.
The script, actors, music, and cadence of plot play second fiddle to the sets, costumes, and oozing hot wax crescendo, in the flickering flames of the flick! With just a minuscule leap of faith, a tiny millenarian epiphany, you must view the entire film this way, then you will be bathed in rapturous, chosen-one light ! Really, Wax is a coupling of slasher-genre-motifs boiling in one humongous cauldron-a horror gumbo, if you will.
The ingredients are: randy teenage behavior, multiple teenage deaths, merely two survivors, and twin-mutant psychopathic killers, both parts played admirably by Brian Van Holt. House of Wax cleverly and prodigiously borrows from many of the horror classics, such as Friday The Thirteenth, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Psycho. However, it little resembles the 1953 classic, starring Vincent Price. That film was all about the genius of Vincent Price to portray the evil side of man. It can never be duplicated. Really, just a little pinch of the spices of each horror template is purloined-ever so slightly, and hey "I`ll pay you back on Tuesday, right? So it is disguised; was that from Chainsaw or from Friday" hum? Okay, it has the gore of Chainsaw, the shiv of `Ween, the doom of teens from Friday, and the startling sets of Psycho. But it keeps jamming in a different key, time signature, or musical genre-it`s mostly a horror tone poem, perhaps!
Oh sure, the acting is simply flat; but it`s nice having less well known people playing the two dimensional victims, thus preserving the sets for the limelight! Yet, Elisha Cuthbert (Carly) and Chad Michael Murray (Nick) do very fine jobs, rumbling with the killers, and escaping the waxy conflagrations. Paris Hilton (Paige) does add a little zaniness to the show, with both a steamy striptease and a magnified, horrific demise-no not a predictable undoing. Though, absolutely the best character portrayal is by Brian Van Holt, who plays both of the demented twins, Bo and Vincent. Vincent was horribly disfigured with hot wax by his theatrical mum.
Cleverly, this flashback is given in the early part of the film, in black and white. The twins even keep her corpse in the chapel-so there`s a bit of Psycho for you! In the end you peer `neath his mask, and his face is even more pock-marked and the scars of his apparent Chernobyl meltdown, are more vividly pronounced than Vincent`s in his final scene.
The finalÃ© is what puts it all together! It`s right out of Volcano, with tons of wax lava flowing hither and thither. Tons of it! Carly and Nick get out of Ambrose just in the nick of time (duh), when it explodes in a mammoth mushroom cloud of molten wax; not too unlike the final moments of the Guns of Navarone. But it is painful to see these beautiful sets morph to rivers of wax! No field trips to Trudy`s House of Wax anymore. One must simply see Wax, why procrastinate!