Box art for House of Wax (1953)

House of Wax (1953)

horror, thrillers

In the wicked performance that crowned him the movie's master of the macabre, Vincent Price plays a renowned wax sculptor plunged into madness

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Dimly we foresee movie audiences embalmed in three-dimensional wax and sound.

- Bosley Crowther, New York Times, Saturday, March 25, 2006

Fresh: Oh-so-delightfully creepy.

- Cole Smithey,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: The effects are done with playfulness, zest, and some imagination (they range from a barker batting paddleballs in your face to a murderer leaping from the row in front of you), making this the most entertaining of the gimmick 3-Ds.

- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Monday, September 24, 2007

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Vincent Price stars as a wax sculptor who survives a fire that destroys his life's work, then, despite his ruined hands and embittered mind, opens a new wax museum featuring a sensationalistic chamber of horrors recreating classic and recent acts of violence. A darn good b-movie with nice acting, action, colorful sets, reliable comic relief and satisfying light chills.

- 366weirdmovies, Monday, November 1, 2010

2 stars

A spectacular story of a wax museum really made of human castings with Vincent Price as the madman. Tame these days, it must've been a bit shocking to see the elevator hanging scene. The fire effects are superb, with all the wax figures melting. When I saw clips, I always thought that was at the end of the film, but it's actually near the beginning of the film. If you think about it, wax-coating actual corpses wouldn't actually work, once the decomposing begins. The movie could've used some gorey revealing of the decayed skeletal bodies inside the figurines once they were broken open. The plot has some boring police investigations which slows things down in the middle. The story predates Psycho, which may have taken some of its elements from House of Wax. Charles Bronson (er Buchinsky) is creepy as the mute assistant Igor; but what a character name! Seeing this all in 3-D on a big screen would've been wonderful. I'm curious how the blatant 3-D effects of paddle balls and can-can dancers would've popped out of the screen.

- YosemiteSamFan, Wednesday, August 12, 2009

3 stars

The always cool Vincent Price plays again a vengeful devilish man in this delightful 3-D film.

- pier007, Sunday, February 24, 2008