House of Wax Preview

As the gamemasters cackle and begin the unnecessarily long process of putting the two pieces of the Dongle back together, Rich begins to hear a whistle. It steadily grows louder until even the gamemasters stop and look around. A lightning strike suddenly hits the Earth. It quakes and Poe emerges from a crack. “Im… impossible,” John Travolta gasps in horror. Rich and Poe clasp hands in a Predator high five. “I’m here, brother,” Poe says, “now let’s pound some dweebs.” While Rich and Poe’s greasy abs, gleaming in the sunlight, would normally strike fear into anyone’s hearts (and in fact, even more so now as Poe emerged from the Earth entirely in the nude), the gamemasters simply smile. “Silly brothers, you have no chance against the power of the twins,” screams Travolta in crazed glee, but when he attempts to smash the pieces of the Dongle together an unseen power prevents him. “Wha wha whaaaaaa?” he says like a total dumbo. The pieces of the dongle are suddenly wrenched from his hands and float over to Rich and Poe. A look of peace is on their face as they use their new found powers to provide an anticlimactic ten minute long expository monologue directly into the gamemasters’ heads. It’s incredibly detailed and reveals formerly unknown facts about Rich and Poe’s upbringing on the bayou. It’s a tale of twins, separated at birth, one taken in by a rich family, the other a poor, but forever linked by their sense of justice and attitude towards rulez. They are and have forever been… the Bad Movie Twins. And with that they place the pieces of the Dongle together and totally pound those dweebs. The ceremonial chamber melts under the intense power of the Dongle. Looks like it’s time to blow this joint. That’s right! We are transitioning to a very special 2020 year in review cycle by watching House of Wax (2005). I’m sure you’re all like “but wait, that wasn’t made in 2020!” and you’d be right. Because of world events there just aren’t that many major motion pictures for the year. So instead we are doing what we are calling Hindsight is 2020. We are mixing together some of the films that did get released early in the year with a retrospective look at films released 5, 10, 15, etc. years ago and a few holiday films to boot. It’ll be an extravaganza the likes of which we’ll (hopefully) never see again. Let’s go!

The literary agent looks in fear at the two cyborg men. “Wh-what do you want with me?” he asks in fear and then looks down at the basket they have brought into the office, “and what’s in the basket?” he wonders aloud. “Oh, just something I think you’ll be very interested in,” the two cyborg men say before they turn and take off their stylish fedoras to reveal none other than… Sticks and Stones! Bum bum bum. That’s right! We are finishing our Bring a Friend cycle by partaking in the lesser known horror franchise Basket Case 2. It’s a little questionable just how bad some of these films are as they have niche audiences that love them, but can’t we just watch a weird horror sequel involving a tiny deformed twin in a basket in peace? Let’s go!

House of Wax (2005) – BMeTric: 58.0; Notability: 34 

(Nice, 2005 is basically the oldest a movie can be and still see the beginning of the film’s release on the internet archive it looks like. I find it interesting that it opened so low … maybe finicky horror fans slamming a not-great horror film? Maybe people trying to brigade a Paris Hilton film? Maybe back then IMDb was much more of a movie aficionado’s site. It is hard to tell, but still pleasantly low rating even today. Fun trajectory.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – The Dead Teenager Movie has grown up. The characters in “House of Wax” are in their 20s and yet still repeat the fatal errors of all the “Friday the 13th” kids who checked into Camp Crystal Lake and didn’t check out. … Where the movie excels is in its special effects and set design. Graham “Grace” Walker masterminds 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. There is also an eerie sequence in which a living victim is sprayed with hot wax and ends up with a finish you’d have to pay an extra four bucks for at the car wash.

(I agree with Ebert about the final scene. I saw this film long ago and that is, indeed, an impressive set piece in a way. I’m more surprised, though, that he didn’t reject the film flat out as torture porn garbage. Because it is pretty close to Hostel-level in how it revels in gore. Unpleasant in my opinion, just not my cup of tea as far as horror is concerned. This is, of course, based on my memory of watching it over 15 years ago.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DnFKwVcM10/

(Pretty standard. Having watched it a few times now I can say they are being a bit deceptive about the set up for the film. The set up is epically stupid. But it gives the right vibe: Texas Chainsaw Massacre basically.)

Directors – Jaume Collet-Serra – (Known For: Orphan; The Shallows; The Commuter; Non-Stop; Unknown; Run All Night; Future BMT: Goal II: Living the Dream; BMT: House of Wax; Notes: Tapped for Black Adam and Jungle Cruise, two upcoming Dwayne Johnson features. From Spain, and directs music videos under the mononym Juame.)

Writers – Charles Belden (story) – (Known For: House of Wax; Dracula’s Daughter; Mystery of the Wax Museum; Charlie Chan at the Opera; BMT: House of Wax; Notes: This is why I found it odd that people talk about the 1953 film as the predecessor, when this guy wrote the 1933 Mystery of the Wax Museum and gets a credit listed on IMDb on this and the 1953 film. The story is a lot closer for that film as well.)

Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes (screenplay) – (Known For: The Conjuring; The Conjuring 2; Future BMT: The Turning; The Reaping; The Crucifixion; BMT: House of Wax; Whiteout; Notes: You guessed it, they are twins! They are twins that wrote a horror film about twins. They also played twins in the movie Rad starring Lori Loughlin. They are part of the writing team for the Die Hard prequel McClane.)

Actors – Chad Michael Murray – (Known For: Freaky Friday; Max Winslow and the House of Secrets; Fruitvale Station; Camp Cold Brook; Future BMT: The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia; Survive the Night; Megiddo: The Omega Code 2; A Cinderella Story; Home of the Brave; Cavemen; Outlaws and Angels; BMT: Left Behind; House of Wax; A Madea Christmas; Notes: Most notable for his star turn on One Tree Hill. He never quite made it to being a movie star, but he’s done a ton of television. Apparently he was up for the Ryan Atwood role on The O.C. but turned it down to do One Tree Hill.)

Paris Hilton – (Known For: Zoolander; The Bling Ring; Snakes on a Plane; Repo! The Genetic Opera; Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!; Future BMT: The Hottie & the Nottie; Pledge This!; Raising Helen; Wonderland; BMT: The Cat in the Hat; House of Wax; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for The Hottie & the Nottie in 2009; Winner for Worst Supporting Actress in 2006 for House of Wax; and in 2009 for Repo! The Genetic Opera; and Winner for Worst Actress of the Decade in 2010 for House of Wax, Repo! The Genetic Opera, and The Hottie & the Nottie; Notes: The heiress of the Hilton fortune, but apparently has made around $300 million herself mostly through fragrance royalties overseas. Allegedly her antics caused her grandfather to donate 97% of his fortune to charity, thus costing her relatives billions in inheritance. Can’t say I’m crying a river over that, that sounds swell.)

Elisha Cuthbert – (Known For: The Girl Next Door; Love Actually; Old School; Goon: Last of the Enforcers; He Was a Quiet Man; Future BMT: Captivity; The Quiet; Just Before I Go; BMT: House of Wax; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Captivity in 2008; Notes: I think she’s still known for being Jack Bauer’s daughter on 24. But beyond that she also had a starring role on Happy Endings, and on Ashton Kutcher’s show The Ranch. Married to the professional hockey player Dion Phaneuf.)

Budget/Gross – $40,000,000 / Domestic: $32,064,800 (Worldwide: $68,766,121)

(Hmmmm, not great. I’m actually really surprised by this, usually horror films are money in the bank. I have two guesses. First, its word of mouth was so bad it torpedoed the release. This is most likely. Second, this is right around when things like Hostel were starting to come out and it ended up playing into a much more niche audience than the producers realized. This is maybe supported by Hostel, a film I feel is wildly successful and spawned multiple sequels, “only” made $47 million domestically. Saw II and The Ring 2 were released the same year and made far more despite being worse than Hostel … but maybe that is the sequel effect.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (41/158): Bearing little resemblance to the 1953 original, House of Wax is a formulaic but better-than-average teen slasher flick.

(I’m actually a bit surprised they even mention the original. The original really has nothing to do with this film. I don’t even really think they considered it a remake in any capacity, it just used the same name. Reviewer Highlight: Related to the 1953 Vincent Price film in name, embalming technique and Warner Bros. pedigree only, the new House of Wax is a dreary, predictable tale. – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Time)

Poster – House of Racks on Racks

(That house is making bank on those wax sculptures fo sho. This is just a flat out good poster. Creepy and getting me intrigued. I like the subtle color scheme and the font is just enough, although I would have enjoyed them melting a little too. A)

Tagline(s) – Prey. Slay. Display. (A+)

(I mean… that’s… I’m speechless. This is the creativity I want. Stay within the tried and true formula while also surprising me. Rule of three with a rhyme scheme?! Come on. A little hint of the gory details of the plot and do it all in three words?!?! It’s a masterclass.)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Great Outdoors (1988), House of Wax (2005), Lord of the Flies (1990), A Cinderella Story (2004), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 36.2 A Cinderella Story (2004), 31.0 It Takes Two (1995), 13.4 Little Women (2018);

BMT: House of Wax (2005), Double Impact (1991), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Father Figures (2017), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), Jack and Jill (2011), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), Pluto Nash (2002), Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), The Identical (2014)

(And with that we finish our twin cycle with eleven bona fide “twins” films. A wild success if I say so myself. It Takes Two is probably the only one on the list which is definitely “twins” and we should do. A Cinderella Story is close, but it is just the step sisters that are twins in that case (and it is really hard to tell if it is real or assumed online).)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Chad Michael Murray is No. 5 billed in House of Wax and No. 2 billed in Left Behind (2014), which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 5 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 15. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Aside from the title and the setting of a wax museum, this film has no connection to the original film House of Wax (1953) in terms of plot.

Jared Padalecki is one foot taller than co-star Elisha Cuthbert. To make herself appear taller in scenes where she and Padalecki would be filmed together, Cuthbert taped two-inch blocks of wood to the bottoms of her boots. This was only done during scenes where they would be shot from the knee and up.

Names mentioned in the script but not the film are the roadkill collector (Lester), and Carly and Nick’s last name (Jones). Chad Michael Murray (Nick), in a radio interview, was shocked to hear his character finally had a last name, and said that it was an ongoing debate on set.

The town of Ambrose was constructed in 10 weeks, and was modeled after a real town in Eritrea called Asmara. Asmara was built by the Italians in Africa during World War II in the Modern Style rather than the Deco Style, which was more popular at the time. (Whaaaaaa?)

On 26 June 2004, a sound stage being used for the film burned to the ground during a test of special-effects equipment. The fire, started by a candle, destroyed a studio at Warner Bros Movie World on Australia’s Gold Coast. One crew member was treated for burns to his arm, but no one else was injured.

Paris Hilton was actually the first to be cast for this film. The cast was then built around her. (Whaaaaaa?)

Though the film takes place in Florida, USA, the film was actually shot in Australia. (False, the film is set in Louisiana, they are coming from Florida. But whatever)

The first end credits song and one of the songs on the film’s soundtrack, “Helena” which is by the rock band, My Chemical Romance, was released about two months before the film’s release and was already a huge hit. (I love fun facts about made-for-film songs. Just bizarre how famous some songs ostensibly made for films can be over time despite the films themselves not being particularly notable)

This is Dark Castle Entertainment’s fifth film.

The film takes place in Florida. One of the filming locations of this film’s predecessor, House of Wax (1953), was Saint Augustine, Florida. (Wait … this is the second note to suggest it is in Florida. But I swear, they are travelling to Louisiana to see a Florida-LSU game? Maybe I have the direction wrong. This has to be confirmed!)

The film originally opened with a character named Jennifer (Emma Lung) stuck on an empty road with car troubles and is attacked and killed by either Bo or Vincent (this alternate opening is included as a special feature on the DVD and Blu-ray). Though this scene was scrapped, Jennifer’s presence still lingers in the film. She is the female sculpture that Vincent is working on and is later displayed with a pink dress and bouquet of flowers outside the movie theater. (WHAT? This is my exact criticism of the film. That they needed an early kill of a person you’d later see as a wax figure. Why scrap it?)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress of the Decade (Paris Hilton, 2010)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Paris Hilton, 2006)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2006)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (2006)

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