This release celebrates the 60th anniversary of House Of Wax. In 1953, the film was the first color 3D feature released by a major studio. The huge hit also marked Vincent Price's first major starring horror role and changed the course of his career. Originally designed to lure audiences away from their TV sets, 3D utilized a "left-eye/right-eye" dual-projection process and polarized glasses. The movie was a major box-office success when it was released in 1953. If adjusted to today's gross, it would have brought in more than $401 million, placing it among the top 100 highest grossing films ever. It no doubt paved the way for a 3D boom over the next several years during which fifty 3D features and some two dozen shorts and cartoons were released. In House Of Wax, Professor Henry Jarrod is the owner and figure sculptor in a wax museum, whose specialty is historic figures. When he and his business Partner, Matthew Burke quarrel over the choice of exhibits displayed, Burke suggests it would be more profitable to burn down the museum in order to obtain the insurance money. As they fight, the museum burns and Jarrod is left for dead. It's not until much later at a new museum that the fate of Jarrod and the mystery of how the lifelike waxed figures are created becomes gruesomely evident. (Gary Reber)
Special features include expert commentary by David Del Valle and Constantine Nasr, the featurette House Of Wax: Unlike Anything You've Seen Before! (HD 48:23), Round-The-Clock Premiere: Coast Hails House Of Wax (HD 02:16), the feature Mystery Of The Wax Museum (1933) (HD 77:23), and the theatrical trailer.
In this 1.34:1 1080p MVC 3D picture Warner Bros.' Motion Picture Imaging (MPI) used advanced restoration technology to enable viewers to enjoy the classic as it was originally seen in theatres. The transfer was a 4K scan with full restoration of the two "eyes," as well as convergence fixes to ensure perfect 3D image alignment. Color fidelity is excellent, with rich and vivid hues that exhibit an intense warmth. Fleshtones are naturally hued throughout. Contrast is excellent with deep, though, undefined and crushed blacks, and revealing shadow delineation. Film grain and noise permeates the imagery, which limits resolution. Overall, the imagery is significantly softly focused, with detail limited to extreme close-ups. The native 3D perspective and sense of depth is perfectly natural. This 3D presentation illustrates just how natural 3D can be in terms of depicting dimensional space and depth. Still, as to be expected, the visual experience appears dated, though, remarkably impressive for a restoration of a film released theatrically 60 years ago. The 3D perspective is a balance of the positive parallax direction of looking into the frame, conveying the sense of an invisible observer in the room with the actors, with segments that heighten out-of-screen dramatics. This is a wonderful and effective restoration that excels in conveying a visceral sense of suspense and shock. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 2.0-channel stereo soundtrack sounds clear, but the fidelity sounds dated. While the music score sounds compressed, the dialogue is impressively natural sounding and nicely integrated, and as well directionalized. But it is the eerie score really that is the highlight. Atmospherics and sound effects are effective, though, also compressed. The music also sounds distorted, though, otherwise clean sounding without noise, hiss, or hum. Overall, this is an undistinguished stereo soundtrack that is indicative of the quality of the day. (Gary Reber)