House of Wax (2005 film)

House of Wax is a 2005 American-Australian slasher film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and stars Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki, Jon Abrahams and Robert Ri'chard. It is based on a story by Charles Belden. It is a loose remake of the 1953 film of the same name,[4] itself a remake of the 1933 movie Mystery of the Wax Museum. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released in US theaters on May 6, 2005.

House of Wax
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJaume Collet-Serra
Produced by
Written by
Based on
The Wax Works
Music byJohn Ottman
CinematographyStephen F. Windon
Edited byJoel Negron
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • 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]


Carly (Elisha Cuthbert), her boyfriend Wade (Jared Padalecki), her brother Nick (Chad Michael Murray), her best friend Paige (Paris Hilton), Paige's boyfriend Blake (Robert Ri'chard) and Nick's friend Dalton (Jon Abrahams) are on their way to a football game in Louisiana. The night before, the group set up camp in an abandoned field. A stranger in a pickup truck arrives and does nothing, then leaves when Nick smashes one of his headlights with a beer bottle.

During the night, the group are recorded sleeping on Dalton's video camera, then Carly hears noises outside her tent but dismisses them. The next morning, Wade discovers that his car's fan belt is broken. Carly and Paige wander into the woods, where Carly falls down a hill and into a pit filled with rotting animal carcasses. After rescuing her, the group meet a strange man named Lester (Damon Herriman), who offers to drive Carly and Wade to the nearby town of Ambrose to get a new fan belt, while the rest of them go to the football game.

Nick, Dalton, Paige, and Blake realize they will not arrive at the game in time due to traffic; The two arrive at Ambrose, which is virtually a ghost town. Unable to find a gas station attendant, they wander into the local church, disrupting a funeral. There, they meet a mechanic named Bo (Brian Van Holt), who offers to sell them a fan belt after the funeral. While they wait, Carly and Wade visit "Trudy's House of Wax", a wax museum which itself is made of wax and is the central feature of the town. In a mirror reflection, Carly sees a person that quickly disappears but Wade convinces her it is just a wax figure. The gas station does not have the right size fan belt, so they follow Bo to his house to get one.

Inside, Wade is attacked and knocked out by Bo's twin brother, Vincent (also Brian Van Holt), who wears a wax mask to cover his disfigured face, since they were once conjoined as children. Outside, Carly notices a broken headlight on Bo's truck and realizes he is the one who visited the campsite. Nick and Dalton go to Ambrose while Paige and Blake return to camp. Meanwhile, Vincent strips Wade naked and straps him to a chair, where he is both injected with and covered in molten wax. She initially escapes from Bo but is later captured; he restrains her in the cellar of the gas station, with her lips glued shut.

Nick visits the gas station, where he meets Bo and questions him about Carly's whereabouts. When she tries to gain Nick's attention, Bo cuts off half of Carly's finger, but she manages to tear her glued lips apart and shrieks for help. Nick fends off Bo and frees Carly. Meanwhile, Dalton finds Wade, who is still alive but unable to move because of the wax. Dalton attempts to free Wade by peeling off the wax, but unintentionally removing his skin in the process. Vincent finds Dalton and, after a chase through the museum, he catches Dalton and beheads him with a pair of garden shears. Meanwhile, Nick and Carly realize that all the town's inhabitants are real people covered in wax; Bo and Vincent have been luring people in and covering them in wax to make the figures look more realistic.

Back at the campsite, Vincent arrives and kills Blake, then chases Paige to an abandoned sugar mill, where he throws a metal pipe through her forehead. Nick and Carly return to the house to find Wade and Dalton dead. When Bo and Vincent return, they chase Carly and Nick to the House of Wax. It is revealed that Bo is the "evil" twin and Vincent is the "good" twin; following their parents' death, Bo has been controlling the more mild-mannered Vincent through physical and verbal abuse. After a chase, Carly viciously beats Bo to death with a baseball bat. Nick unintentionally sets the House of Wax on fire and the figures start to melt, as does the entire museum. Enraged by his brother's death, Vincent chases Carly to the top floor, but Nick attacks him, allowing Carly to stab him. His body falls through the floor, landing on top of his brother Bo's corpse. Carly and Nick escape the House of Wax as it melts to the ground.

The next day, the police arrive and report that Ambrose has been abandoned for ten years since the local sugar mill failed. As Nick and Carly are taken to a hospital, the Sheriff learns that Bo and Vincent's parents had a third son. From inside the ambulance, Carly spots Lester (supposedly the third brother) and his dog, waving them goodbye as they are driven out of town.



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 has now been demolished and is a field kept for Movie World for future projects.[5]


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.[6] The film premiered at several festivals, including Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Critics Circle, Tribeca Film Festival, Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, among others.


On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 26% based on 156 reviews; the average rating is 4.28/10. 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."[7] 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".[8] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.[9]

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."[10] Film critic Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post called it a "guilty pleasure" and wrote that it gives horror fans exactly what they want.[11] 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."[12] [13] Bruce Westbrook of the Houston Chronicle called it boring and poorly-acted, though he complimented Cuthbert and Murray.[14] 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".[15]

Awards and nominations

Award Category Subject Result Ref
Golden Raspberry Award Worst Supporting Actress Paris Hilton Won [16]
Worst Picture Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis & Susan Levin Nominated [17]
Worst Remake or Sequel Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis & Susan Levin Nominated [17]
Teen Choice Awards Best Actress: Action/Adventure/Thriller Elisha Cuthbert Nominated [18]
Best Actor: Action/Adventure/Thriller Chad Michael Murray Won [19]
Best Horror Film House of Wax Won [19]
Best Scream Scene Of The Year Paris Hilton Won [19]
MTV Movie Awards Best Scared-As-Shit Performance Paris Hilton Nominated [20]
International Film Music Critics Association Best Original Score for a Horror/Thriller Film John Ottman Nominated [21]


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 title of a publicly released soundtrack used for House of Wax, consisting of commercially recorded songs.[22] A second album, simply titled House of Wax, was released containing the film score, composed by John Ottman.[23]

House of Wax: Music from the Motion Picture
1."Spitfire"The Prodigy featuring Juliette Lewis5:08
2."Helena"My Chemical Romance3:52
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

There is a song appearing in the film which is not integrated in the soundtrack. It is "Roland" by Interpol, and appears in the scene when the group decides to camp over the night at the beginning of the film. The song that plays during the end credits is "Helena" by My Chemical Romance.

See also


  1. "HOUSE OF WAX (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
  2. "House of Wax (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-06-17.
  3. "House of Wax (2005)". The Numbers. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  4. Jowlabar, Sharmila. "House of Horrors". Tribute. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  5. "House of Wax burns down Warner Bros sound stages". Joblo. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
  6. "House of Wax Box Office & Rental Numbers". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 2007-06-05. Retrieved 2007-06-17.
  7. "House of Wax (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  8. House of Wax reviews, retrieved June 11, 2019
  9. "House of Wax – CinemaScore".
  10. Ebert, Roger (2005-05-05). "House of Wax". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2015-06-17.
  11. Hunter, Stephen (2005-05-06). "'House of Wax': Come On In, The Horror's Fine". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  12. LaSalle, Mick (2005-05-06). "From waxy buildup to final meltdown, a scary but fun ride". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  14. Westbrook, Bruce (August 5, 2005). "House of Wax". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on March 29, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
  15. 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. Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  16. Finlay, Janie (2006-03-05). "Razzies pluck 2005 movie turkeys". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  17. "Sequels and remakes get Razzie nods". United Press International. 2006-01-30. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  18. "FOX Announces Nominees for "The 2005 Teen Choice Awards"". The Futon Critic. 2005-06-01. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  19. "'Notebook' wins eight Teen Choice awards". USA Today. Associated Press. 2005-08-15. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  20. "Virgin on Top for MTV Movie Awards". Spin. 2006-04-24. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  21. "2005 IFMCA Awards". International Film Music Critics Association. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  22. "House of Wax commercial soundtrack". Soundtrackinfo. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  23. "House of Wax orchestral score soundtrack". Soundtrackinfo. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
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