Picks and Pans Review: House of Wax

updated 03/22/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/22/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

As 3-D movies went, which was usually too far, this one was restrained. Released at the peak of the craze in 1953, it starred Vincent Price as a sculptor who is badly burned in a fire; to pay his bills, he opens a wax museum using the bodies of murdered people as his figures. Director Andre de Toth, who went on to direct such action films as Play Dirty, did not keep hurling objects at a cringing audience, though there is an effective scene using one of those rubber balls attached to a paddle. Instead, de Toth used foreground objects and actors' entrances and exits to flaunt the effects of depth. Frank Lovejoy plays a New York cop who becomes suspicious of Price's exhibits; Phyllis Kirk is the woman Vince thinks would make a wonderful Marie Antoinette. Charles Bronson is cast as a deaf-mute henchman named Igor. A remake of the 1933 thriller The Mystery of the Wax Museum, this is not a bad film, and everybody should see 3-D at least once. But the process has not been improved: The glasses still won't stay on, your eyes may ache, and by the final meltdown you may be thinking 2-D isn't so bad. (PG)

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