Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Does It Suck: House of Wax (2005)

After suffering through Slashed Dreams, I was glad to get back to work on my passion project, the wax museum I run with old friends Vincent Price and Lionel Atwill. This wax museum was a place of tolerance and goodness, one where people were welcome regardless of how strange, how perverted or who sad they might have seemed to the outside world. There was free ice cream for the children and an intricately made wax giant monster zoo with actual size wax replicas of King Kong and other horror fauna. We were raising money to fight a form cancer that only occurred in particularly adorable puppies. Yes, the wax museum was a place of goodness and light where vintage horror appreciation would pave the way for a better future. Or so we thought.

Yesterday, Leza came in holding a chihuahua. Jordan was standing beside her with a gas can and next to them was guest contributor, Eric Mays author of Naked Metamorphosis and creator of the Authors Speak interview series.

"I come from the boss lady," Leza said.

This made no sense to me.

"What the fuck are you talking about? Did you buy expired box wine again?"

Lionel entered, head hanging. He was wearing his "Wax Sculptoff to End Domestic Violence" t-shirt.

"Garrett, I'm sorry," he said, "Vincent and I..."

Lionel was interrupted by the arrival of an excited Vincent.

"Hey guys! I just realized that we could put inner city gang members to work sculpting wax figures and it would increase their self esteem!" He turned white as a sheet when he saw the three visitors. "Uh oh."

I glared at my partners.

"What is this about, guys?"

Lionel sighed.

"Well, you remember how last week I lent all my money to John Barrymore?"

"Yeah, and?"

Vincent placed a hand on my shoulder.

"I'm sorry, Garrett, but a wax museum has overhead, particularly one with a snow leopard AIDS prevention lab."

"We sold our shares to Paris Hilton," said Lionel. He was starting to cry.

"But I thought we were turning a profit!"

"We are," said Lionel, face in hands, "but Paris Hilton doesn't understand math."

"Yeah," said Eric Mays, "so that's why we're burning your pretty little wax museum to the ground!"

Jordan highfived him. It was the evilest high five I had ever seen.

"Leza, you've got to stop this!" I begged her.

"I didn't like the original," she replied, "and the Vincent Price one couldn't be that great."

The thugs dumped out the gas can, laughing on their way out and dropping a lit match. My wax museum, my partners and the hope for HIV positive snow leopards went up in flames. I was hideously scarred, forced to wear a wax impression of my face, but I was live and bound and determined to get Paris Hilton for what she had done to me and vintage horror.

House of Wax (2005) is a travesty. Turning a turn of the century gothic classic into another brand x piece of redneck horror is sickening. It's akin to making The Man Who Laughs into a straight-to-video American Pie sequel. The plot makes barely any sense, the notion of a wax town surviving the elements for so long confuses the fuck out of me, and oh yeah, Paris Hilton is involved. Does anything about this make it sound like an even remotely good idea? Will there be a Doctor X remake set at a naughty sorority house and starring Kim Kardashian in the Fay Wray role...well, that might be kind of sexy. Forget I said that. Paris fucking Hilton, playing a part originated for Fay's gross. 2005 was a bad enough year for Fay Wray with charisma challenged Kidman clone Naomi Watts taking over her part, causing the infamous Watts Riots. Hilton believes she is the iconic sex symbol blondes of all time and stealing the spotlight from Fay Wray shows just how deeply set this delusion is.

Paris thinks this because she does something that this generation of filmmakers and filmgoers does often: she patronizes the past. "It occurred before me and I am awesome, so therefore it must be inferior". Filmmakers and some misguided horror fans think that because the pacing is slower and because the films are pre-gore vintage horror is impossible for this generation to relate to. Madness, perversity and a feeling of otherness are universal and films like Mystery of the Wax Museum, Phantom of the Opera, The Black Cat, The Raven and Doctor X are some of the finest vehicles for these themes. We of the 21st century are the ugly Americans of the space time continuum, thinking "our century right or wrong" and threatening the 1930s with beatings if they try to creep into our homogeneous historical neighborhood. Nonsensical assemblyline garbage like House of Wax hurt our ability to relate to and understand our cinematic past. Not to mention, letting Paris Hilton act. She doesn't even give a convincing blowjob.

So I ask you, Dollarbin Massacre contributors: House of Wax (2005), does it suck?

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