Our Halloween ‘Fright’mare

It was 1953 in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
I was nine and my sister, Lorayne, was eight.

One afternoon we happily went off to see a brand new Stereoscopic 3D movie that had come to our town. Little did we know at the time that it would change our lives forever.

The movie was:
Vincent Price, Roy Roberts,Charles Bronson
Carolyn Jones & Phyllis Kirk


There is no way on this planet that we should/would have ever gone to see such a horrible movie, but in those days there was NO censorship, NO trailers, NO previews, NO movie critics, NO movie press, NO cautions, NO ratings or anything of any sort to warn us away from this horror flick.

So, we two little girls went off to the movies together, without a care.

! ! ! H-E-L-P ! ! !
Get us freaking outta here.

We were frozen solid in our seats and were too scared to even move an inch, nevermind think of getting up and leaving the theater.


“Professor Henry Jarrod (Vincent Price) is a devoted wax figure sculptor with a museum in 1910’s New York. When his financial partner Matthew Burke (Roy Roberts) demands more sensational exhibits to increase profits, Jarrod refuses. In retaliation, Burke deliberately sets the museum on fire, intending to claim the insurance money. He fights off Jarrod in the process, and splashes kerosene over his body, leaving him to die in the fire. Miraculously, Jarrod survives with severe injuries, and builds a new House of Wax with help from threatening deaf-mute sculptor, Igor (Charles Bronson).”

“The museum’s popular “Chamber of Horrors” showcases both notable crimes and more recent ones, including the murder of Jarrod’s former business partner by a cloaked, disfigured killer. Burke’s fiancée, Cathy Gray (Carolyn Jones) is also killed. But when Cathy’s friend, Sue Allen (Phyllis Kirk), visits the museum, she makes a discovery that leads to the horrifying truth behind the House of Wax – that all of the waxworks are the wax-coated bodies of Jarrod’s victims. Allen herself almost becomes an exhibit, but in the end it is the disfigured Jarrod who falls into the waxworks.”

House of Wax

As an adult, I watched the movie again and when compared to other films of the same genre today I found it very tame overall. In those days however, it was strikingly frightening and we were scared out of our collective wits.

It took us literally years and years to get over how terrified we were and to this day neither of us can bear to watch horror films of any kind.



2 responses to this post.

  1. I’m totally with you on horror films.


  2. For my mom, it was “The Birds”. I like the suspenseful films (like Hitchcock), but I can’t stand the blood and gore films. I don’t know how I’ve gone this long without ever having seen this. It’s a classic. Maybe, based on your review, I will just pass it over.


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