Director Jaume Collet-Serra made his debut with a horror vehicle that was meant to basically cash in on the big tabloid sensation of the early aughts: Paris Hilton. According to most reports, “House of Wax” was built around her and the movie gladly doesn’t suffer for it. That’s mainly because Hilton’s on screen presence is so dull that she doesn’t overpower any of the cast, and “House of Wax” manages to power through as a fun, trashy slasher survival film when all is said and done.
A gang of college friends, including Wade (Jared Padalecki) and his girlfriend, Carly (Elisha Cuthbert), are en route to a school football game when they wind up with a flat tire in a ghost town. They are forced to seek help in the only place that’s open: the local wax museum. Once inside the spooky and seemingly abandoned building, they find the works on display are not quite what they seem — and the group soon discovers it’s being hunted by the insane twin brothers who run the museum.
The fifth release from Dark Castle Entertainment, Jaume Collet-Serra hits the remake territory with “House of Wax,” which takes its inspiration from the 1953 Andre De Toth film, which itself was a remake of a 1933 picture, “Mystery of the Wax Museum.” Collet-Serra’s “House of Wax” is a lot more of a “Tourist Trap” redux than another iteration on the “Wax Museum” story and Collet-Serra has a keen eye for delivering a fun horror film that feels so much like drive in fare.
The film has a good time with the cast, torturing them and putting them through the wringer, all the while propping some haunting set pieces and grisly deaths on display. There’s a gruesome scene involving a finger tip being chopped off, as well as way covered skin being peeled off. There is also, of course, Hilton’s big death scene which doesn’t fail in delivering the brutality. “House of Wax” is a solid bit of horror escapism. It’s fun movie trash that is well worth a breezy Saturday night screening.
The Scream Factory release comes packed with features including the eight minutes Die, My Darling, an interview with actress Paris Hilton who discusses her initial hiring, handed a script by producer Joel Silver, who wanted her in the “House of Wax” remake. Hilton details the life casting process and the shoot in Australia, and Hilton reveals her hesitation when it came time to scream on-screen, needing help from the production. She also discusses Warner Brothers creating a “See Paris Die” marketing campaign to help attract attention to the movie. The Tale of Blake and Paige is an interview with actor Robert Ri’chard, who discusses working with Paris Hilton and his feelings on his co-star.
To Me They Live and Breathe is a video conference interview with effects master Jason Baird, who details different figure construction, using some wax, but also silicone to mass produce bodies, while certain scenes featured extras in masks. Organ Grinder is a video conference interview with composer John Ottman, who recalls his choice to skip a synth score, using his paycheck to hire an orchestra for a fuller sound. Themes are analyzed and instrumentation is identified. B-roll and Bloopers Video Cast is a split-screen viewing experience, with actors Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Paris Hilton, and Jared Padalecki sitting on a couch commenting on footage collected during the making of “House of Wax.”
Wax On: The Design of ‘House of Wax’ is a featurette focusing on the creation of the town setting and the titular museum, also exploring the manufacturing of the wax figures in the picture. Interviewees include producers Susan Levin, Joel Silver, and Herb Gains, actor Jared Padalecki, production designer Graham Walker, cinematographer Stephen Windon, director Jaume Collet-Serra, and effects master Jason Baird. A House Built on Wax: The Visual FX of ‘House of Wax’ provides an overview of the practical effects used to bring the feature to life, while CGI was used sparingly. Interviewees include producers Joel Silver, Susan Levin, Herb Gains, and Richard Mirisch, miniatures supervisor Greg Tuckwell, visual effects supervisor John Breslin, and director Jaume Collet-Serra.
There are EPK Interviews with actors Elisha Cuthbert, Chard Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki, Jon Abrahams, and Robert Ri’chard, producers Joel Silver and Susan Levin, and director Jaume Collet-Serra. There’s also the Alternate Opening, From Location a promotional video starring producer Joel Silver, who comments on the “stars of tomorrow” in “House of Wax” while on the set of “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.” Finally, there’s a Gag Reel, and the original Theatrical Trailer.