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House of Wax

There's a reason they look so real. 

Year: 2005 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from House of Wax

This remake of a remake wasn't made for art, that fact is summed up by the casting of Paris Hilton without even having to audition. The rest of the cast was then built around her, including 24's constantly kidnapped Kim Bauer (Cuthbert). So what's the draw for anyone who doesn't have a keen appreciation of The Simple Life?

The answer to that is displayed by Warner Brothers granting Paris permission to sell T-shirts reading "On May 6th, Watch Paris Die" in order to promote the film. Not only that but some will be grateful that the producers first allow her to run in red underwear through an old shed filled with things you don't want to know about before she meets her grisly demise. This unique selling point typifies the film's raison d'être; it gives you something very darkly amusing to laugh at.

It starts reasonably slowly, with two carloads of college students leaving for a big football game, taking a textbook ominous detour along the way. All logic is thrown out the window when the gang decide to stay the night in a clearing in some eerily dark woods, and are confronted by a slack-jawed local man in a pickup truck, provoking one student to smash one of his headlights. Further wisdom is exhibited throughout the film in a similar manner, allowing for extravagant and outrageous methods of disposing of the cast, much to the audience's incongruous enjoyment. The only downer is that you just know one or two are going to evade a diabolically gruesome end to allow for a sequel, but thankfully they are in the minority.

Where the movie really does excel though is in its special effects exemplified in a disturbing scene where a living victim is sprayed with hot wax and ends up with a finish you'd have to pay an extra four quid for at the car wash. The party piece however is kept for the end, with a spectacular closing sequence in which the House of Wax literally melts down, and characters sink into stairs, fall through floors and claw through walls.

On November 1st, Watch Paris Die.

Mark Gibson

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Screenings of this film:

2005/2006 Autumn Term (35mm)