House Of Wax (2005)

It amazes me what a dismal critical reception that House Of wax got because to me it’s a treasured horror film and one of the most disturbing, freaky ass experiences my stoned 14 year old ass ever had as an introduction to the genre. Just to prove that I’m not wistfully beefing up a mediocre horror flick through the treacherous prism of teenage nostalgia, I recently revisited it and it *still* just absolutely slaps, so I’m not sure what bone the critics had to pick with it other than it being a horror remake and having to face the unfair bias and hostility of being saddled with that yoke right out of the gate. So it’s the classic scenario where a bunch of reckless, impossibly sexy teens end up in some godforsaken county with a dried up town full of spooky abandoned buildings, menacing inbreds and a dark history. They’re played by people like Chad Michael Murray, Jared Padalecki, Elisha Cuthbert and Paris freakin Hilton, which is more pedigree than these horror flicks usually get to boast. They discover that a creepy old wax museum isn’t as derelict as outward appearances may suggest and that it’s demented curators never really retired, and have taken up a, shall we say, disconcerting brand of human ‘Wax-idermy’ as extracurricular activities in their spare time. They now find themselves on the run from these whack jobs and fighting for their lives to not be turned into living human wax dolls, or simply hacked to pieces by these crazies. This is one fucked up, super gruesome flick and the refreshingly practical effects are truly some brain melting, squirm inducing eye candy. They must have had to hire a ‘wax wrangler’ just to keep all of their production design materials in line because once they get deeper into this museum and the narrative overall, there are some genuinely nauseating, profoundly disquieting and altogether impressive visual gags and set creations on display. Don’t let anyone ever tell you this movie sucks or is anything other than an absolute banger, because they have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s sweaty, greasy, spooky, waxy, sleazy, trashy, shameless and wonderful in all the best ways a slasher can be. And for the record, I have seen the original, it’s cool, but for a kid my age it’s dated and creaky and something as balls out and energetic as this is just always going to take top spot. Great film.

-Nate Hill

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