Me and the boy, we like some terrible movies. Particularly terrible horror movies, pre-1980. So when the movie place gave us the old, Vincent Price version of House of Wax by mistake (we were trying to rent something called Wind Chill?), we decided to go with it. As an extra bonus, The Mystery of the Wax Museum was on the back and we decided to put it on first. BEST. DECISION. EVER.
I was expecting a somewhat unwatchabe newer movie (there was nothing on the dvd but the title) and what we got was a 1933 mystery featuring a plucky girl reporter and people bantering faster than I can readily understand. Two of my favourite things in old movies! The costumes were amazing, especially on the female leads Glenda Farrell and Fay Wray. If you're a vintage clothes junky like me, you need to rent this movie. Check out the details on this fantastic blouse.
It's hard to tell in this photo, but all of the diagonal striped sections are actually pleated and woven like a braid down the middle. So good. The back is amazing too, with the cropped jacket showing off a flash of it.
The print we were watching was hand coloured, which gave the whole movie a surreal, painterly quality. It reminded me a bit of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari in effect, if not literally. Street scenes were particularly lovely in all green or turquoise with lights picked out in red.
The plot was the pretty standard wax museum full of dead people, but was done well enough. I'm still confused on a couple of parts, but that may have been the fault of speedy talking and the broken volume control on my screen. If you figure out what the deal was with the evil former business partner, do let me know? The only place this film fell flat was the ending, during which I would have done a spit take, if I'd actually had anything in my mouth. As is, we were lucky.
And yes, Fay Wray does scream, and it is awesome.