31 Days of Guilty Pleasures – ‘House of Wax’

Jason McDonald

A few years ago I did a daily countdown to Halloween that featured some of my favorite scares from 31 different horror movies. This year I’m bringing back the feature, but this time we’re taking a look at some of my favorite guilty pleasures.

There’s no rhyme or reason to how these movies are being listed, so the placement on the countdown doesn’t denote any sort of ranking. Also, my definition of guilty pleasure is a movie that ranges from either being not very good to outright bad, but there’s something about it that still makes it endearing to watch.

No, we’re not talking about the 1953 Vincent Price classic nor the 1933 original.  Instead today we’re talking about the 2005 “House of Wax” that starred a young actress named Paris Hilton and some other people.

In “House of Wax” a group of teenagers are making a sacred trek to a college football game when they’re sidelined by car troubles.  In an attempt to get help they wind up in an abandoned town with a lonely wax museum.  The teens soon discover that the wax museum is run by a psychotic family who use humans in the creation of their wax dummies.

This film actually has a fairly stacked cast of ’00s heartthrobs.  You’ve got Chad Michael Murray, Jared Padalecki, Elisha Cuthbert, and would Paris Hilton count? I don’t know.  Either, it’s a good mix of young good looking people who get savagely killed.

House of Wax 1

“House of Wax” is far from a good movie, but it does have it’s few shining moments. For one, I think some of the character work is actually really good.  Chad Michael Murray plays this obnoxious douchebag who actually starts to come around by the end and winds up being the big hero of the movie.  Normally the douchebag of the group is the one to die super hard, so it was a nice twist to see that get flipped around.

Paris Hilton tends to get a lot of shit, and sometimes rightfully so, but I think she was unfairly maligned for her part in this movie.  She’s no great actress, but she does a decent job of playing a sympathetic victim.  If she didn’t have the history that she had it’d be easy to imagine an alternate universe where she could’ve been a scream queen.

And if you’re looking for some blood and gore, “House of Wax” is a surprisingly vicious movie.  There are actually a couple of messed up moments that have stuck with me after all these years.  The first being the scene where Cuthbert gets her lips super glued together and she’s trying to open her mouth so she can call to her brother. It makes my skin crawl everytime I see her peeling her lips apart.

And then there’s the scene where Dalton is trying to get the wax off of Wade’s face and he’s just ripping off all of his flesh.  AH MAN. It’s freaking nasty.

“House of Wax” is no horror classic, but I think the initial reaction to it was overly harsh and was most likely driven by the fact that it was a remake and that it featured Paris Hilton. Obviously if you took Hilton out of the equation it still wouldn’t have gotten great reviews and it would still be a box office flop, but I think people might remember the movie differently.  If  you haven’t seen “House of Wax” in a while, I say give it a shot. It’s a fun afternoon watch.

1 Comment

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      1. Caffeinated Joe October 10, 2018 at 12:43 am

        I love it. Not the best movie, but a lot of fun, and that is what matters.