Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) - Michael Curtiz

Ivan Igor was once the worlds greatest wax sculptor. That is until an attempt on his life burned his hands and melted all of his life's work. Now, confined to a wheel-chair and unable to work with his hands, he returns to reclaim his spot as the worlds greatest sculptor by directing a group of young artists to bring back his greatest creations. Quite mad and power hungry, Ivan Igor will not let anyone step in his way however, things begin to go awry for the unbalanced artist when a young journalist discovers that there is more than just wax going into the creation of his sculptures.

This film is littered with crazy-fast talking and funny quips. It reminds me of that Fast Talking and High Trousers bit that appeared in the Family Guy television show. The movie stars Lionel Atwill again as the protagonist Ivan Igor. Glenda Farrell and the original scream queen Fay Wray round out a pretty stellar cast and bring a great deal of horror and humor to an already creepy flick.

The movie really grabs you and doesn't let go. Unlike a lot of its early 30's counterparts this movie has a very quick pace and is constantly bringing you action and scares. The protagonist uses some really creepy looking make-up and even has some really cool effects that are used at the end of the film. It is an incredibly unusual horror movie for its time and because of that it stands up with some of the best of its day. However, the writing and the story are completely ludicrous and it can loose you in some places if you are not paying attention. You really need to sit down and devote the hour and fifteen minuets to watching this.

Mystery of the Wax Museum is rare in the fact that it was filmed in the two-color Technicolor film process. The only other film to use this process was  Doctor X from 1932. Also, once again this movie deals with themes that were deemed controversial for its time; these being drug use and sex. In my epic quest to review every horror movie ever I am getting close to the year when the MPAA stepped in and made these movies no fun anymore (at least until the late 50's early 60's, or something like that). This movie has also spawned two remakes: one in 1953, and the other in 2005 with Paris Hilton.

It could have been a lot better in some parts, but it can definitely go toe to toe with the other little known gems of its time. I would recommend watching this movie back to back with Doctor X if you are a fan of old horror.

As I live and breathe and wear spat the prince.

  • This movie was considered lost until someone stepped up with it in the 60's
  • The original title was just "Wax Museum"
  • The film has the same opening music as Doctor X