House of Wax [Blu-ray 3D ], Warner’s 3-D spectacular from 1953 was issued on Blu-ray seven years ago (photo).
Amazon charged $30 for it in 2013, but it went out of print in a couple years.
Last month, new copies were were selling for upwards of $100 on the internet.
Now Warner Home Archive has reissued it for $18.
Apart from the cover art, THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO BLU-RAYS.
The new cover is based on the original 1953 movie poster.
The back cover is identical.
There is no point in reviewing the new Blu-ray:
The old Blu-ray had 650 reviews with an average grade of five stars.
It’s up to you if you want to spend extra for the 3-D Blu-ray player, special glasses, and 3-D television.
Fortunately, Warner also prepared a 2-D presentation of the film (very few theaters were equipped for 3-D in 1953).
Both versions are included on the Blu-ray.
Did I mention that there is NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO BLU-RAYS?
Save yourself some money.
1953 was an important year in Hollywood.
To combat the threat from television, Hollywood introduced three innovations in 1953: CinemaScope, Stereophonic Sound, and 3-D.
‘House of Wax” was filmed in Stereo and 3-D, but not widescreen CinemaScope.
It was filmed in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio, which had been the industry standard since the 1920s.
The picture is pretty good.
It would have looked better if it was filmed in Technicolor, but Warner used their own process Warnercolor to save money.
In 2014, ‘House of Wax’ was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress, and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
I only own a standard Blu-Ray player, but I saw the 3-D version a few years ago at the home of a friend who had a 3-D home video set-up.
It is probably the best 3-D movie ever made.
Alfred Hitchcock's 'Dial M for Murder' (1954) is a better film, but the 3-D effects are not as impressive.
Bonus Features, carried over from 2013:
--- Audio Commentary by David del Valle and Constantine Nasr.
--- Documentary: “House of Wax: Unlike Anything You’ve Ever Seen Before!” (48 minutes)
--- Theatrical trailer
--- Newsreel of 1953 premiere (2 minutes)
--- English SDH subtitles for the feature and the documentary
--- bonus film: ‘Mystery of the Wax Museum’ (1933).
MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (1933)
The original 1933 version of this film is in no way inferior to ‘House of Wax’.
But the transfer included on the ‘House of Wax’ Blu-ray dates back forty years to the era of analog television.
‘House of Wax’ is presented in 1080p.
‘Mystery of the Wax Museum’ is presented in 480p, the old NTSC TV standard
BUT in 2020, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, and the UCLA Film Foundation funded a new 1080p transfer of ‘Mystery of the Wax Museum’.
A lot of time and money went into this, and the result is stunning - documented in an eight-minute featurette, and two new audio commentaries.
‘Mystery of the Wax Museum’ was filmed in the old two-strip Technicolor process.
The Technicolor film in use from 1928-1933 was incapable of reproducing the colors red and blue.
In place of red and blue, the colors beige and green were substituted.
Also possible were yellow, orange, brown and salmon (not to mention ecru, ochre, and taupe).
This may sound like a handicap, but once you get used to it, the picture is quite stunning.
I have included two screen shots of the same scene with Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill.
The old transfer - included with ‘House of Wax’ - attempted a color correction using red and blue computer enhancement with disastrous results.
The new digital print shows an artfully applied pallet of beige, green, brown and orange.
Flesh tones are especially well-captured by the two-strip process.
Three-strip Technicolor, with a more accurate color palette, was introduced in 1935.
To find the new 1080p Blu-ray of ‘Mystery of the Wax Museum’ on Amazon, enter “ Mystery Wax Museum Blu ray ” in the Amazon search window.
I wrote a review on Amazon (+ a checklist of Pre-Code Horror Films) dated May 25, 2020.