House of Wax (2005 film)

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House of Wax
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJaume Collet-Serra
Screenplay by
Based on"The Wax Works"
by Charles S. Belden
Produced by
CinematographyStephen F. Windon
Edited byJoel Negron
Music byJohn Ottman
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • April 30, 2005 (2005-04-30) (Tribeca)
  • May 6, 2005 (2005-05-06) (United States)
  • July 14, 2005 (2005-07-14) (Australia)
Running time
113 minutes[1]
  • United States
  • Australia
Budget$40 million[2]
Box office$70.1 million[3]

House of Wax is a 2005 slasher film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, in his feature directorial debut, and written by Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes. The film stars Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt in a dual role, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki, Jon Abrahams, and Robert Ri'chard. It is a loose remake of the 1953 film of the same name, itself a remake of the 1933 film Mystery of the Wax Museum,[4] based on the story "The Wax Works" by Charles S. Belden. The film soundtrack features music by Deftones, My Chemical Romance, and Interpol.

House of Wax premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released in United States theaters on May 6, 2005, by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film grossed $70.1 million worldwide and received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics, who criticized its lack of originality, screenplay, and characters, but praised the performances and atmosphere.


On their way to a football game, Carly, her boyfriend Wade, her brother Nick, and their friends Paige, Dalton, and Blake set up camp for the night in a wooded area. A stranger in a pickup truck arrives, then leaves after Nick smashes one of his headlights. The next morning, Wade discovers his car's fan belt is broken; a local man named Lester offers to drive Wade and Carly to the nearby town of Ambrose while the rest of the group head to the game.

In Ambrose, Carly and Wade meet a man named Bo who offers to sell them a fan belt and drive them back to their car after he is finished attending a funeral. They visit "Trudy's House of Wax" while they wait, a wax museum which is the central feature of the ghost town. They eventually follow Bo back to his house to get the fan belt; Carly waits in his truck while Wade goes inside to use the bathroom. Wade is attacked and knocked unconscious by Bo's twin brother Vincent, who wears a wax mask to cover the facial disfigurement he has from where they were once conjoined. When Carly notices Bo's truck has a broken headlight, she flees from the scene, chased by Bo who catches her and takes her down to the gas station cellar. Meanwhile, Vincent covers Wade's body in molten wax.

Realizing they won't arrive at the game in time, Paige and Blake return to the campsite while Nick and Dalton arrive in Ambrose to look for Carly and Wade. When Carly attempts to call for help, Bo cuts off her fingertip. She manages to get Nick's attention who fends off Bo and then frees Carly, while Dalton finds Wade as part of the museum, trapped in a wax coating. Dalton tries to peel the wax from Wade's face, inadvertently removing his skin in the process. Vincent then ambushes Dalton and slashes off a section of Wade's face, causing him to die of shock, before decapitating Dalton.

While searching the town for help, Carly and Nick realize all of the wax figures are actually the wax-coated corpses of visitors. Back at the campsite, Vincent kills Blake and chases Paige into an abandoned sugar mill, where he kills her with a metal pipe through her forehead. Bo and Vincent chase Carly and Nick into the House of Wax. Nick unintentionally starts a fire in the workshop, causing the building and the figures inside to start melting. Bo and Nick battle and Nick is stabbed in the leg before Carly beats Bo to death with a baseball bat. Vincent chases Carly to the top floor where she tries to reason with him over his brother's treachery and, with Nick's help, is then able to stab him in the back. A dead Vincent falls through the floor and lands on top of Bo's corpse while Carly and Nick escape as the building melts to the ground.

The next morning, the police arrive and report that Ambrose had been abandoned for ten years since the sugar mill shut down. As Nick and Carly are driven away in an ambulance, one of the chief officers is told that the Sinclairs didn't have two children, but three. The ambulance containing Nick and Carly passes by Lester, who waves them goodbye while smiling.



House of Wax was filmed at Warner Bros. Movie World, Australia. The Town set was constructed a few miles down the road, off Hollindale Road, in the Guanaba area.[5]


In January 2006, Village Roadshow Studios owners Village Theme Park Management and Warner Brothers Movie World Australia announced they were suing special effects expert David Fletcher and Wax Productions because of a fire on the set during production.

The $7 million lawsuit alleges that Mr. Fletcher and Wax Productions were grossly negligent over the fire, which destroyed part of the Gold Coast's Warner Bros. Movie World studios. The alleged grounds of negligence included not having firefighters on stand-by and using timber props near a naked flame. The set where the fire broke out was demolished and is now a field kept for Movie World for future projects.[6]


Opening in 3,111 theaters, the film grossed $12 million in its opening weekend. House of Wax earned $70 million worldwide,[3] $32 million of which came from North American receipts.[2] House of Wax also earned $42 million in VHS/DVD rentals.[7] A marketing campaign was launched to promote the film entitled "See Paris Die", to capitalize on the appearance of Paris Hilton in the film,[8] as her casting had been met with disapproval by some horror fans.[9] The campaign promised that viewers would "See Paris Die" in the film in a gruesome fashion and Hilton created shirts featuring the slogan.[10][11]

On July 13, 2021 a collector's edition Blu-Ray of House of Wax was released (under license from Warner Bros.) by Scream Factory[12] in the US & Canada.


On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 27% based on 161 reviews and the average rating is 4.29/10. The site's consensus reads, "Bearing little resemblance to the 1953 original, House of Wax is a formulaic but better-than-average teen slasher flick."[13] On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 41 out of 100 based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[14] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.[15]

Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars and wrote, "House of Wax is not a good movie, but it is an efficient one and will deliver most of what anyone attending House of Wax could reasonably expect...assuming it would be unreasonable to expect very much." He said of Hilton's performance that "she is no better or worse than the typical Dead Post-Teenager and does exactly what she is required to do in a movie like this, with all the skill—admittedly finite—that is required."[16] Film critic Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post, gave the film four out of five stars, calling it a "guilty pleasure" and wrote that it gives horror fans exactly what they want.[17] Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle rated it 4/5 stars and wrote, "After a month, no one will talk about this movie again. Still, with a picture like this, there is really only one question: Is it fun? Yes. Lots. Definitely."[18] Bruce Westbrook of the Houston Chronicle called it boring and poorly-acted, though he complimented Cuthbert and Murray.[19] A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote, "The set design is fairly elaborate by the standards of the genre, and the victims don't die in precisely the order you might expect, but everything else goes pretty much according to formula".[20]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Subject Result Ref.
Golden Raspberry Award Worst Supporting Actress Paris Hilton Won [21]
Worst Picture Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis & Susan Levin Nominated [22]
Worst Remake or Sequel Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis & Susan Levin Nominated [22]
Teen Choice Awards Best Actress: Action/Adventure/Thriller Elisha Cuthbert Nominated [23]
Best Actor: Action/Adventure/Thriller Chad Michael Murray Won [24]
Best Horror Film House of Wax Won [24]
Best Scream Scene Of The Year Paris Hilton Won [24]
MTV Movie Awards Best Scared-As-Shit Performance Paris Hilton Nominated [25]
International Film Music Critics Association Best Original Score for a Horror/Thriller Film John Ottman Nominated [26]


House of Wax: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various, John Ottman
ReleasedMay 3, 2005 (commercial)
May 10, 2005 (score)
Film scores
Alternative metal
Gothic rock
Length50:41 (commercial)
41:46 (score)
LabelVarese Sarabande

House of Wax: Music from the Motion Picture is the soundtrack for House of Wax, consisting of commercially recorded songs.[27] A second album was released containing the film score composed by John Ottman, and was simply titled House of Wax.[28]

House of Wax: Music from the Motion Picture
1."Spitfire"The Prodigy featuring Juliette Lewis5:08
2."Helena"My Chemical Romance3:22
4."Gun in Hand"Stutterfly3:29
6."Path to Prevail"Bloodsimple3:17
7."Dried Up, Tied and Dead to the World"Marilyn Manson4:15
8."Dirt"The Stooges7:00
9."Not That Social"The Von Bondies3:00
10."Cut Me Up"Har Mar Superstar3:10
11."New Dawn Fades"Joy Division4:46
12."Taking Me Alive"Dark New Day4:43
Total length:50:41

One song from the film does not appear on the soundtrack: "Roland" by Interpol appears in the scene at the beginning of the film when the group decides to camp overnight. The song that plays during the end credits is "Helena" by My Chemical Romance.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "HOUSE OF WAX (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2005-05-03. Archived from the original on 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
  2. ^ a b "House of Wax (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 2020-06-24. Retrieved 2007-06-17.
  3. ^ a b "House of Wax (2005)". The Numbers. Archived from the original on 2016-03-31. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  4. ^ Jowlabar, Sharmila. "House of Horrors". Tribute. Archived from the original on 2016-02-03. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  5. ^ "House of Wax (2005) Film Locations - Global Film Locations". 25 April 2016. Archived from the original on 10 April 2021. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  6. ^ "House of Wax burns down Warner Bros sound stages". Joblo. Archived from the original on 2006-11-05. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
  7. ^ "House of Wax Box Office & Rental Numbers". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 2007-06-05. Retrieved 2007-06-17.
  8. ^ "Remembering How Moviegoers Got Psyched to "See Paris Die" in House of Wax". E! Online. 2020-05-06. Archived from the original on 2022-04-12. Retrieved 2022-04-12.
  9. ^ Squires, John (2017-05-30). "Kill of the Week: Paris Hilton Dies in 'House of Wax'". Bloody Disgusting!. Archived from the original on 2022-04-12. Retrieved 2022-04-12.
  10. ^ "House Of Wax: How Paris Hilton Shaped The Movie's Viral Marketing". ScreenRant. 2020-06-09. Archived from the original on 2022-04-12. Retrieved 2022-04-12.
  11. ^ Burke, Michael (2017-11-27). The Routledge Handbook of Stylistics. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-74719-2.
  12. ^ "Scream Factory Sets July 13 Date for Collector's Blu-ray for 2005's 'House of Wax,' With Paris Hilton – Media Play News". 10 June 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-07-09. Retrieved 2021-07-08.
  13. ^ "House of Wax (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on January 4, 2020. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  14. ^ House of Wax reviews, archived from the original on August 20, 2018, retrieved June 11, 2019
  15. ^ "House of Wax – CinemaScore". Archived from the original on 2020-02-12. Retrieved 2020-12-27.
  16. ^ Ebert, Roger (2005-05-05). "House of Wax". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 2015-05-11. Retrieved 2015-06-17.
  17. ^ Hunter, Stephen (2005-05-06). "'House of Wax': Come On In, The Horror's Fine". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2016-02-03. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  18. ^ LaSalle, Mick (2005-05-06). "From waxy buildup to final meltdown, a scary but fun ride". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  19. ^ Westbrook, Bruce (August 5, 2005). "House of Wax". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on March 29, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
  20. ^ Scott, A. O. (2005-05-06). "House of Wax: Paris Hilton and Friends, Pursued by Maniacs With a Fondness for Wax". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2015-10-24. Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  21. ^ Finlay, Janie (2006-03-05). "Razzies pluck 2005 movie turkeys". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2016-02-04. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  22. ^ a b "Sequels and remakes get Razzie nods". United Press International. 2006-01-30. Archived from the original on 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  23. ^ "FOX Announces Nominees for "The 2005 Teen Choice Awards"". The Futon Critic. 2005-06-01. Archived from the original on 2013-07-12. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  24. ^ a b c "'Notebook' wins eight Teen Choice awards". USA Today. Associated Press. 2005-08-15. Archived from the original on 2016-02-03. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  25. ^ "Virgin on Top for MTV Movie Awards". Spin. 2006-04-24. Archived from the original on 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  26. ^ "2005 IFMCA Awards". International Film Music Critics Association. 3 January 2009. Archived from the original on 2016-02-23. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  27. ^ "House of Wax commercial soundtrack". Soundtrackinfo. Archived from the original on 2008-04-17. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  28. ^ "House of Wax orchestral score soundtrack". Soundtrackinfo. Archived from the original on 2010-11-29. Retrieved 2010-06-29.

External links[edit]