Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

House of Wax (1953)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

House of Wax (1953)

In Andre de Toth's classic horror film - created in "Natural Vision" 3-D:

  • the amazing scene of the burning of the wax museum (deliberately set on fire by Jarrod's business partner Matthew Burke (Roy Roberts)) and the melting of the historical figures, with wax sculptor Professor Henry Jarrod (Vincent Price) presumably dying in the burning building
  • the scenes of a cloaked disfigured murderer killing Burke (Roy Roberts) (made to look like a suicidal hanging in an elevator shaft), then murdering Burke's now ex-fiancee Cathy Gray (Carolyn Jones) (she was drugged, then strangled by a cord); also Cathy's friend - leading lady Sue Allen (Phyllis Kirk), who had discovered Cathy's corpse in her rooming house bedroom, was pursued along fog-shrouded streets and alleyways of turn-of-the-century New York City
  • Jarrod had survived the fiery blaze and appeared about 18 months later (although he claimed: "Jarrod is dead. I am a reincarnation") - his face appeared normal, but he had scarred and useless hands, and he was wheelchair-bound
  • Jarrod rebuilt a new House of Wax museum, with assistance from deaf-mute sculptor Igor (Charles Bronson) and student-artist Leon Averill (Nedrick Young), that showcased a "Chamber of Horrors" - commemorating famous and fresh "crimes of violence" through wax figures (to give the people what they wanted: "sensation, horror, shock")
  • the 3-D effect shown off with the carnival barker's (Reggie Rymal) bouncing paddle-balls, and his admonitions to the crowd in front of the newly-opened House of Wax: ("Watch it, young lady. Careful, sir, keep your head down or I'll tap you on the chin. Look out! Duck. (He turned to other customers behind him) Wow, that's a becoming hat you're wearing, madam. I wonder if I can clip the flower off it. Hold steady now, don't move your head, or you'll lose the powder off your nose. Wow, there's someone with a bag of popcorn. Close your mouth. It's the bag I'm aiming at, not your tonsils. Here she comes. Well, look at that, it's in the bag.")
  • the dance hall scene with a line of dancers doing the can-can kick
  • the vengeful Jarrod (in the disguise of the cloaked, face-disfigured killer and later wearing a facial mask to hide his melted face) had been committing the many murders; he then stole their corpses from the New York City Morgue and coated them with molten wax to produce very life-like statues for his waxworks exhibits: ("Each subject must be taken from life")
  • Cathy's body was used as a "model" for the figure of Joan of Arc; Sue was amazed by the likeness: "Why should it be so much like Cathy?" - Sue then made the shocking discovery that her friend Cathy's corpse had been dipped in wax to create a Joan of Arc wax figure: ("It is Cathy. It's Cathy's body under the wax! I knew it! I knew it all the time!"); when she confronted Jarrod, he admitted his hideous plan -- Sue was to be his next "leading lady" for immortality - Marie Antoinette: "Everything I ever loved has been taken away from me. Not you, my Marie Antoinette, for I will give you eternal life"
  • the shocking moment that Phantom-of-the-Opera-like Jarrod had his face beaten by Sue and his wax mask broke off to reveal his hideously-burned and disfigured face below
The Unmasking of Professor Jarrod
  • in the finale, set in the museum's cellar laboratory, Sue was strapped and naked under a boiling vat of wax as he prepared her to be his next exhibit victim as Marie Antoinette: "This is where I recreated my Joan of Arc. It's an interesting process. If you have patience with me, my dear, I'll show you how it's done...That look of horror spoils your lovely face. What if it should show, even through the wax?...The end will come quickly, my love. There's a pain beyond pain, an agony so intense, it shocks the mind into instant oblivion. We'll find immortality together, for they'll remember me through you"
Sue - Jarrod's New "Marie Antoinette"
Jarrod's Death in His Own Cauldron of Wax
  • during a struggle with authorities who arrived at the scene just in time, Jarrod wound up falling into his own burning cauldron of tallow (at over 450 degrees F.) - his apt and richly-deserved fate.

Matthew Burke (Roy Roberts)

Wax Museum Fire

The Wax Museum's Burning and 'Death' of Prof. Jarrod

Cloaked Murderer

Carnival Barker with Paddle Ball in Front of New House of Wax

Professor Jarrod With Igor (Charles Bronson)

Sue: "It's Cathy's body under the wax!"


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