Response To Horror in Three Dimensions: House of Wax and Creature from the Black Lagoon, Kevin Heffernan
Those who have explored an exhibit of wax sculptures in the image of man and woman can most certainly disclose how lifelike these shapes can seem. It might be possible that while exploring such a display, thoughts have crossed the viewers mind regarding how such a human counterfeit could be so close to life that one can almost expect the specimen to walk off and out of the building. Could it be possible that a once living, breathing, person was so unfortunate as to somehow become entrapped into a wax cocoon for all eternity, and we might one day be sentenced to the same fate somehow? This anxiety is elaborated in the 1953 film House of Wax.
In the opening line of Horror in Three Dimensions: House of Wax and Creature from the Black Lagoon by Kevin Heffernan, Heffernan references a quote as said by R. M. Hayes from a historical survey of three-dimensional films: “There have always been two thoughts on House of Wax: one, it is a classic film of the horror genre, and two, it is claptrap exploitation of the worst kind. There seems to be no middle ground.” I strongly believe that this is the overall basis and underlying statement of Heffernan’s article, as he explores the rise of three-dimensional motion pictures throughout the middle part of the 20th century.
However, I disagree with the notion that he agrees with the latter part of Hayes statement. Heffernan explains the sensationalism and excitement of these 3D films, as a gimmick contrived by the film industry to bring movie goers a new, and costly, experience, but also discusses the film as though it stands alone as a classic horror flick despite the gimmicks it used to draw in audiences in at the time. His article, if anything, ties the two ideas together.
Heffernan states that horror film has a distinct quality and position to be able to blend and fuse “narrative and scenes of...