House of Wax (1953) starring Vincent Price, Carolyn Jones, and Paul Picerni. Plus in an early film role "Death Wish" himself Charles Bronson billed as Charles Buchinsky.
A sculptor of wax figures for a museum is horrified when his partner proposes setting fire to the unpopular museum in order to collect the insurance money. As the wax figures melt amid the blaze, the two men have a fight. The sculptor is knocked out in the scuffle and left to "perish" among the flames. He resurfaces many years later for the launch of his own wax museum.
All right this is one of those films which lends itself to great theater of the macabre. The film plays heavily off the Phantom of the Opera. However instead of music there is an artist who creates wax sculptures, looking for his Venus instead of a song bird.
The film was Warner Brother's first foray into 3D, so there are several moments which seem out place that play heavy into 3D films. Can Can dancers and balls that are bounced right towards the screen. At one point they even call to the audience to look out. Which was cool in a nostalgic movie nerd kind of way, but it was distracting to the over all story.
Carolyn Jones who is both the object of Price's obsession as well as our heroine would later go on to be a queen of the macabre on the "The Addams Family" as Morticia Addams. Jones was frightfully stiff but she knew how to scream. This quality mixed with her looks probably is what got her the role.
Vincent Price who was the king of B movies or probably what would become B movies is at the top of his game in a film like this. He has the look, the eyes, and the voice that which leads to his believability as the mad artist. His voice is probably what sold him as an actor. Especially in the realm of horror, his voice is both calming and eerie. Thus putting the audience at ease and ready to be scared.
House of Wax is both strange and creepy. In 3D and in a theater it probably has a little more impact but after viewing it I thought this was more of an appetizer of a movie and it should have preceded something bigger like The Fly. I wanted to watch more Vincent Price just not in this movie.