Wednesday, April 28, 2010

House of Wax ,2005 Remake- Does not Suck

I gotta be honest. I did not expect to like House of Wax when I first saw it. The only reason I rented it was because of the prospect of seeing Paris Hilton get maimed. If not truly chilling, at least I could get a good laugh out of it and enjoy some run-of-the-mill teen exploitation. I was beyond surprised by the intensely visceral visual quality, the fabulous and truly eerie wax sets and the tragic backstory that parallels the love-hate relationship between twins Carly and Nick, who are on a trip with their friends to go to a sports game.

This film is truly delicious camp gold. It works because even though many aspects are part of a familiar formula, it is beautifully shot and it is executed with true emotional sincerity. The interactions between the group of friends are, for the most part, fairly genuine. Even Paris Hilton, who is numb and stiff as a board, seems to have somewhat of a pulse. She is, at least, willing to contribute to gags at her own expense and milk her less than sterling reputation. Every time you see her through Dalton's digital camcorder(especially while making out in neon green nightvision) you can't help thinking about the porn tapes. She even has a pseudo strip scene to a terrible rap song, while her boyfriend, Blake, gets revved up to get busy with her. I think this is my favourite scene with her, aside from her death scene which is also priceless and hilarious. I've gotta say, she's far more believable as a corpse than live person.

I would say that the Dark Castle House of Wax is an engaging remake. I know there's no Lionel Atwill, no Vincent Price (one of the evil twin's names is Vincent, though) and regrettably, instead of the disarmingly beautiful and alluring Fay Wray, we've got "If it looks like a ho, acts like a ho" Paris Hilton, queen of amateur porn and reality tv. She's no scream queen, to be sure, but nevertheless, she brings a certain level of hyperreality to this film by virtue of being a reality star celebrity. Suddenly, when you see her through the digital camcorder lense, it is metacinematic and oddly surreal. Paris is someone we all feel we know to a certain degree, even if we don't. It's the weird dichotomy of someone who seems so fake and false and yet allows an audience a voyeuristic intimacy that you can only get with reality and amateur porn stars. She's disgustingly close, yet forever intangible (mostly due to her lack of substance)

In the tradition of its predecessors, wax here, is a symbolic substance, both equating uncontrollable emotions and its artificial means of containment. Solid wax is the veneer that coats decomposing bodies and rotting flesh, pain and shattered dreams. Melting wax is passion taking hold of the senses. Wax is mudlike, fleshlike, it glows and yet it is opaque. Wax is the substance that most reselmbles the soft glow and pliability of human skin. And just so you know, all the wax in this film is real. It is incredible to see it being molded over still living bodies and at various stages of solidity. It drips, it bends, it cracks, all the textures run into eachother in the great finale.

This whole movie is about veneers and the nature of what we see. The House of Wax is really made entirely of wax. The wax in the film is all real. The consentual reality of story anf actors is a willing illusion we engage in as viewers. The wax people in the town look real and actually are real dead people(live actors) encased in wax. Wax figures have the uncanny quality of not really looking dead or alive.

In the original 1933 Mistery of the wax Museum, there is a very disturbing and erotic scene, far ahead of its time, with Fay Wray, bound, on her back, being showered with hot wax, while she screams and strugles to no avail. It is impossible for one not to think, in this context, that the hot dripping, spraying wax does not resemble another white substance often seen sprayed at women in certain types of 'films'. Much hotter, I've gotta say, than the Paris Hilton blow job or sex tape.

As a lead, Elisha Cuthbert is a very lively presence. She fights tooth and nail while being bound, maimed and even having her lips glued shut with superglue. She kicks ass and looks great doing it. The little town is definitelly very creepy and abandoned looking. It is like a mosoleum with electricity. Never mind that a house made entirely of wax could probably not survive in the sun or perpetually lit candles within, it looks freakin awesome, especially at the bottom level where there are faces coming out of the walls and it seems like something out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but in wax.

I had alot of fun with this movie. It is genuinely creepy, it moves along at a good pace, it takes its time to build atmosphere, so that by the time all the shit starts going down you are definitely weirded out and geared up for the mayham. I cannot believe some of the trully disgusting images of decayed corpses at various stages and once again, the wax effects, which are beautiful, cinematic, trippy and terrifying. It's definitelly an experience worth having.

No comments:

Post a Comment