House of Wax (1953)

USA, 1952
35mm film, 70mm film (blow-up in 1972), “photographed in Natural Vision 3-Dimension”, “color by WarnerColor”, 1.37:1, 2.20:1 (1972 re-release)
mono, stereo, English

An American horror film directed by André De Toth.

Plot Summary

Wax figure sculptor Professor Henry Jarrod is left to die by his business partner who has set fire to their wax museum to claim the insurance money. But Jarrod survives the flames and resurfaces years later to open his own museum. But dead bodies have been disappearing from the morgue and Jarrod’s new assistant comes to suspect that his employer may have something to do with it…


Directed by: André De Toth
Copyright MCMLIII [1953] by Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
Warner Bros. Pictures presents. A Warner Bros.-First National Picture
Produced by: Bryan Foy
Screen Play by: Crane Wilbur
From a Story by: Charles Belden
Directors of Photography: Bert Glennon, Peverell Marley
Natural Vision Supervision by: M.L. Gunzburg
Natural Vision Consultant: Lothrop Worth
Film Editor: Rudi Fehr
Music by: David Buttolph
Sound by: Charles Lang
RCA Sound System
Wardrobe by: Howard Shoup
Makeup Artist: Gordon Bau
Art Director: Stanley Fleischer
Visual Consultant: Julian Gunzburg M.D.

Vincent Price (Professor Henry Jarrod)
Frank Lovejoy (Lieutenant Tom Brennan)
Phyllis Kirk (Sue Allen)
Carolyn Jones (Cathy Gray)
Paul Picerni (Scott Andrews)
Roy Roberts (Matthew Burke)
Angela Clarke (Mrs Andrews)
Paul Cavanagh (Sidney Wallace)
Dabbs Greer (Sergeant Jim Shane)
Charles Buchinsky [real name: Charles Bronson] (Igor)
Reggie Rymal (the barker)

Alternative Titles

Los crímenes del museo de cera – Spain
L’homme au masque de cire – Belgium (France)
Das Kabinett des Professor Bondi – Austria, West Germany
Máscara de Cera – Portugal
La maschera di cera – Italy
Paniek in het wasmuseum – Belgium (Flemish)
Terror en el museo de cera – Argentina, Venezuela
Vahakabinetti – Finland
Vaxkabinettet – Sweden
Vokskabinettet – Denmark

Remake of
Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

House of Wax (2005)

Extracts included in
The 54th Annual Academy Awards (1982)
Precious Images (1986)
Vincent Price: The Sinister Image (1988)

See also
The Abominable Dr Phibes (1971)
Chamber of Horrors (1966)
Darkman (1990)
Dr Phibes Rises Again (1972)
House of the Long Shadows (1983)
M.D.C. – Maschera di cera (1997)
The Mad Magician (1954)
Madhouse (1974)
My Favorite Year (1982)
Nightmare in Wax (1969)
Santo en el museo de cera (1963)
Stardust Memories (1980)
Terror in the Wax Museum (1973)
Theatre of Blood (1973)
Thriller (1983)
Tourist Trap (1979)
Vincent (1982)
Waxwork (1988)
Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992)



  • Classic Images no.288 (June 1999) – interview with Paul Picerni (A born actor by Tom Weaver)
  • Monsters from the Vault no.10 (Winter/Spring 2000) pp.25-29 – interview with Phyllis Kirk (Heroine in the house by Tom Weaver)
  • Kine Weekly vol.517 no.2752 (30 June 1960) pp.7; 11 – note (News of the week: Wax returns to big box-office take); note (Your films by Josh Billings)
  • Kine Weekly vol.517 no.2752 (30 June 1960) p.26 – note (Renters’ news: Circus of Horrors beats the heat)
  • Kine Weekly vol.518 no.2754 (7 July 1960) p.12 – note (Your films by Josh Billings)


  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.102 – credits, review
  • I Was a Monster Movie Maker by Tom Weaver pp.122-131; 194-210 – interview with Phyllis Kirk; interview with Paul Picerni
  • Cult Movies: A Hundred Ways to Find the Reel Thing by Danny Peary – credits, review
  • Cult Movies: The Classics, the Sleepers, the Weird and the Wonderful by Danny Peary – credits, review
  • The Films of Vincent Price by Iain F. McAsh pp.12; 39
  • Merchant of Menace: The Life and Films of Vincent Price by Denis Meikle pp.57-66; 352-353
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.205 – credits
  • Vincent Price: The Art of Fear by Denis Meikle pp.13-16; 26-32; 219-220
  • Vincent Price Unmasked by James Robert Parish and Steven Whitney pp.80-83; 190-191
  • Women in the Horror Films of Vincent Price by Jonathan Malcolm Lampley pp.22-27; 191