A Review of House of Wax: Slasher Films

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Slasher Movies:
A Review of House of Wax
House of Wax challenges the mold of Horror films and further conveys the adage: looks can be deceiving. Although at surface level the film may appear like any other slasher film complete with a cast of gimmick B-list celebrities, its themes and parallelism of the characters give the plot an intriguing twist stretching the slasher film genre to incorporate psychological thrills and dramatic plots additions. Through an in-depth analysis of the film, House of Wax, a fresh perspective will give new breath to an aging, predictable film genre in the form of a varied adaptation of the monster, of a Final Girl, of a hero, of victims, and of overall horror while staying true to the parameters of the slasher film archetype. A psycho killer, a mass murder, a neurotic freak seeking revenge from all who have wronged him or her in the past, with no real rhyme or reason. These are how some people view horror films, but little do they know each movie has a unique story. Even though most horror films have that neurotic freak, horror movies share more than just the mass murderer theme. In House of Wax, there is the typical killer-wronged-seeking-revenge idea, but the revenge the killers, Bo and Vincent, seek isn’t necessarily directed at one person or a particular group of people. They both have a hatred for human beings: Vincent knows he’ll never look like them; and, Bo has a psychotic hatred for people because of the way he was treated in his childhood. The fact that there are two killers—instead of the normal one—shows the unorthodox basis of House of Wax, setting a precedent for the entire movie that challenges the horror film stereotype. After the murders of Blake and Paige, Bo and Vincent are introduced as twin brothers and the origins of their wax fixation are explained as a shared childhood influenced by their mother’s passion for wax art. Bo’s main objective is to kill people and hurt them to express his own psychotic desires. He manipulates Vincent and his love for wax art into killing people—it is discovered later in the film, on a mass scale. Vincent’s only desire is to take something he views as perfect (people) and create something he could never achieve (making a complete person). They never kill on a certain day and the killing occurs when people who are traveling get lost and wonder into their town. This is unlike typical horror films, like Friday the Thirteenth and Halloween, whose killers only kill during a certain time of the year. Though Bo and Vincent don’t have a personal vendetta, the movie is centered on a group of teenagers of both sexes that just happened to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time. In true horror film fashion, the teenagers are killed one by one, but never in the same way. Wade is the first one to be killed, but Vincent attacks Wade by cutting his Achilles heel making sure Wade doesn’t die (he simply immobilizes him) before he transforms him into a wax figure. Vincent, who happens to do the killing (Bo does attempt to kill, but mainly orchestrates the evil), uses knives to kill Dalton and Blake, but he kills Paige by throwing a large javelin-like weapon that penetrates her forehead. The adaptation of murders shows Vincent to be an inventive killer using an array of different elements in his kill schemes. Bo and Vincent only kill (or capture) at the prime opportune time positioning their victims like a game of chess. Cutting the fan belt to Wade’s car created a need for the victims to search for help and exemplified their well-calculated methods. With a single act of misdirection, the killers set in motion their plans and separated the group of friends making them easier to kill. What the killers did not anticipate—leading to their demise—was another set of equally resourceful twins, Carly and Nick. Carly was established early in the movie as the Final Girl, but House of Wax isn’t centered on her survival alone. An underlying theme of the movie is the...
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