Am I The Only One Who Loves … House of Wax?

Anna Roisman goes out on a (Halloween-themed) limb for the much-maligned Paris Hilton horror, which actually has pretty great production values ...

It’s that time of year, when nothing is better than sitting on your couch, wrapped in a blanket, with every scary movie in the world to choose from! Horror is one of my favorite genres, and I don’t just say that to impress boys … I love the feeling of having to turn away from a screen because of a jump scare, or a severed head. Creepy enough for you? It’s October, so you’re welcome! So for this beautiful holiday season (Halloween, which in my calendar is the real holiday season) I wanted to pay tribute to one of the classic films of 2005 (said no one), House of Wax. It’s sort of a remake, it’s full of gory scenes, and it’s always on TV this time of year! I love it, and I’m a girl who grew up renting The Shining at least once a weekend from too young of an age. It’s the movie I personally refer to as House of Gold, because it stands out and shines among the sea of campy horror movies.

Paris Hilton’s brave performance in House of Wax should have earned a lot more plaudits, amirite?

When I bring up this film, most people respond with, “Oh, the one with Paris Hilton?” Because yes, she had a lead role, and it was an iconic career move. How brave of a reality star with everything at her fingertips to dip into the world of acting with a horror movie. And I don’t mean any disrespect, because she’s actually great in this movie! I have to applaud her for taking the challenge. I do question some of the scenes she was in, but that’s on the writers, not my Paris! In one of the first scenes she’s giving a blowjob to her boyfriend in the car while he drives (aka, “road head”), which shocked me. Would you give a BJ in one of your first movies? (She’s so brave!) In another scene, she’s heavily making out with her boyfriend by a fire, and in a third scene they’re basically “doing it” in a tent. But like the princess she is, she perseveres without ever ruining her long golden hair extensions! Paris’s death scene even highlights them, as a metal pole goes through her head, allowing us as an audience to say goodbye to the character as well as her lustrous locks.

Chad Michael Murray and Elisha Cuthbert doing the whole “smoldering brother-sister vibe” thing.

Also giving brilliant performances in this movie are Elisha Cuthbert and Chad Michael Murray, who play siblings. Truth be told, they’re so good at being “close siblings,” that I thought they were lovers for the first 45 minutes of this movie! Talk about convincing acting, these two fooled me. Because they look like they want to hook up with each other. It’s distracting from the fact that they have to help each other stay alive as crazy people are trying to murder them and turn them into wax figures, which is both a pro and con, depending on what is most important to you in this movie!

Now, like I mentioned, House of Wax is kind of a remake. It is loosely based on the 1953 film House of Wax, which is loosely based on the 1933 movie, Mystery of the Wax Museum. The museum makes a major comeback and carries us through this movie. Like any solid horror movie, the plot of this film is bonkers, which is half the appeal! (The other half is the death-acting.) A group of high school friends go on a road trip and decide to stop for the night in an empty field in the middle of nowhere. Of course, a weird dude in a pickup truck comes to their campsite and says nothing, so Chad Michael Murray in his tough-guy glory days throws a beer bottle at a headlight on the truck. While it seems wrong at the time, thank God he does it because from here on out the group can’t escape trouble! And that’s what we want in a scary movie. They also can’t leave because their car’s engine won’t start. Basically, this whole movie happens because of a broken fan belt that the creepy driver probably broke overnight. (Side note: I had no idea what a fan belt was before I saw this movie, and I used to drive. It turns out it’s an essential part of the car, and I learned this thanks to House of Wax, not driver’s ed!)

Whatever you say about House of Wax, the production values — wow!

When a few characters try to find a gas station, they end up in the small, ghostlike town of Ambrose. This place has a few buildings, including a church, a gas station, some houses, and the wax museum. This is not like Madame Tussaud’s, because all of the wax people are not celebrities ranging from C-list to Brad Pitt. It’s a museum full of random wax people. Real art! Well, until we learn that it’s just common people who have been murdered and coated in wax by demon killers. And that’s the movie in a nutshell. It’s different, it’s high art, it’s kind of a prettier way to murder.

One of the most impressive parts of this movie is the actual museum, aka the House of Wax. At the end of the movie, Chad Michael Murray and Elisha Cuthbert are not only the only living brother-sister duo who are sexually attracted to each other, but they’re also the only living ones left from their group. Chad’s character accidentally lights the museum on fire and it starts to melt to the ground. This reveals that the museum is not just full of wax people, but it’s fully made of wax! For a 26 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, I think more people should have paid attention to the production value of this film. It’s an entire museum made of wax, full of wax details, and it has to melt into a blob of nothing. It’s intriguing to watch, and I couldn’t help but think how impressive this was and how much wax was used! For those who reviewed it and said things like “this movie was distasteful,” I urge you to rewatch it and value this set. Have you ever built a gingerbread house? Those are not easy to do! Has your dog walked on it? Heartbreaking! Imagine building a life-size wax house and then having to watch it melt to the ground for the wonder of filmmaking. House of Wax still slaps, and I hope it melts your heart this Halloween like it did mine! I’m still here, though, it didn’t melt it that much.

Anna Roisman is a comedian, writer, actor, creator, producer, and host in NYC. Anna is the host of HQ Words, a word puzzle game from the creators of HQ Trivia. Anna’s work has been featured in the Tribeca Film Festival, New York TV Festival, Just For Laughs in Montreal, People magazine, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Funny Or Die, Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and more. She is the creator of The Unemployed Show and co-producer and host of Quickie Fest: The One Minute Movie Festival in NYC. Anna hosts the live comedy shows, “Revival” and “Fashion Puhleeze,” and sings with The Losers Lounge at Joe’s Pub & City Winery. For reels, press, and information, check out AnnaRoisman.com.