Tyler: Welcome to Episode 126 of the Horror Pod Class. My name is Tyler Unsell and by day I am a just an ordinary teacher but by night I transform to an ordinary teacher who likes to talk about spooky shit. I am joined tonight as I am most nights by The cohostest with the mostest. The sassiest skeleton I know…Orrin Grey. What have you been up to since we last appeared here man?
Tyler: Tonight we are going to discuss what we have been reading and watching, highlight some free content on the internet with our dark corner of the web and finally we are going to buy ourselves a ticket for the infamous (?) Paris Hilton vehicle the 2005 House of Wax
What are we watching!
Tyler: Reading Experimental Film by Gemma Files, Also THE NIGHT HOUSE! Less exciting The Fun House. Black Summer
But it’s got “fun” right in the title!
Orrin: Reading, I just finished Sensor, the latest thing from Junji Ito! Watching, I caught Angst, a flick from 1983 on Shudder that absolutely lives up to the hype, thanks mostly to its camerawork, which is like a character unto itself.
Dark Corner of the Web” Nightmare Junkhead Prom Night 2: Episode is great!
I mean, Prom Night 2? Also great!
Essential Question: Can the 2005 House of Wax remake teach us why wax figures are so friggin scary.
SUMMARY: A group of teens are unwittingly stranded near a strange wax museum and soon must fight to survive and keep from becoming the next exhibit.
CAST AND CREW
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra Jungle Cruise recently but The Orphan Also The River which is cool
- as Trudy Sinclair
- (as Dragitsa Debert)
- as Jennifer
Paris Hilton is not that bad
in this film
Fixed it for you.
Things I need to talk about: Tourist Trap; my proposition that this is a gothic film
Baudrillard and The Simulacrum
- The first stage is a faithful image/copy, where we believe, and it may even be correct, that a sign is a “reflection of a profound reality” (pg 6), this is a good appearance, in what Baudrillard called “the sacramental order”.
- The second stage is perversion of reality, this is where we come to believe the sign to be an unfaithful copy, which “masks and denatures” reality as an “evil appearance—it is of the order of maleficence”. Here, signs and images do not faithfully reveal reality to us, but can hint at the existence of an obscure reality which the sign itself is incapable of encapsulating.
- The third stage masks the absence of a profound reality, where the sign pretends to be a faithful copy, but it is a copy with no original. Signs and images claim to represent something real, but no representation is taking place and arbitrary images are merely suggested as things which they have no relationship to. Baudrillard calls this the “order of sorcery”, a regime of semantic algebra where all human meaning is conjured artificially to appear as a reference to the (increasingly) hermetic truth.
- The fourth stage is pure simulacrum, in which the simulacrum has no relationship to any reality whatsoever. Here, signs merely reflect other signs and any claim to reality on the part of images or signs is only of the order of other such claims. This is a regime of total equivalency, where cultural products need no longer even pretend to be real in a naïve sense, because the experiences of consumers’ lives are so predominantly artificial that even claims to reality are expected to be phrased in artificial, “hyperreal” terms. Any naïve pretension to reality as such is perceived as bereft of critical self-awareness, and thus as oversentimental.
Simulacra and Simulation identifies three types of simulacra and identifies each with a historical period:
- First order, associated with the premodern period, where representation is clearly an artificial placemarker for the real item. The uniqueness of objects and situations marks them as irreproducibly real and signification obviously gropes towards this reality.
- Second order, associated with the modernity of the Industrial Revolution, where distinctions between representation and reality break down due to the proliferation of mass-reproducible copies of items, turning them into commodities. The commodity’s ability to imitate reality threatens to replace the authority of the original version, because the copy is just as “real” as its prototype.
- Third order, associated with the postmodernity of Late Capitalism, where the simulacrum precedes the original and the distinction between reality and representation vanishes. There is only the simulation, and originality becomes a totally meaningless concept.
Wax Works The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Orrin: Tourist Trap, Wax Mask
Before the review. Someone gave it a half a star but a rating of 35/100. Not to be nit picky but if each star is 20 points than it should be at least a start and a half right?
Anyway here is the ALU associated with the 35/100-
More like SCARE-US Hilton, amirite???
Fulci, Buttgereit & co. have interacted with death as the transformative property but few films have been as explicitly literal as Collet-Serra’s interpretation proves here – transformative art coating the confines of flesh in pursuit of the ultimate preservation. That’s perhaps why this works better as body horror than teen slasher, strapped to the apparatus with its form a tomb for the mind to weigh the existential agony of aestheticised immortality, no option but to stare through the sockets of eternity.
Of course that’s also ignoring how, glorious wax-struck ossuary aside, Collet-Serra is content merely playing walkabout slasher. Piecing clues in the point & click confines of a small town, except it’s to the purpose of a known mystery and more importantly – it detracts from the central house of wax. The wick lit climax produces a melt in gloopy literalism, dripping concept upon action into conclusion, but not without a preceding glut of Saw’s industrial-lite aesthetics in the green grade, dark blood, condemned cruelty of it all.
Hilton’s stunt casting could not be more blatantly obvious between the catchphrase and the one night DV nods, but she gets a great death. Both for the sheer gore, and how the wound through her face forms one of the few elements openly contemplating the seeming chasm between creation and destruction. Imagine if it spent more of its mammoth 113m runtime exploring such a concept!
There’s nothing satisfying about this remake…I’ve only seen a single video of Paris Hilton and it didn’t make me hate her all that much so seeing her die isn’t even satisfying
We’re finally gonna do Targets (1968), the movie that gave my second collection its title and one that we should have no trouble making more-than-vaguely academic.
Tyler has been the editor in chief of Signal Horizon since its conception. He is also the Director of Monsters 101 at Truman State University a class that pairs horror movie criticism with survival skills to help middle and high school students learn critical thinking. When he is not watching, teaching or thinking about horror he is the Director of Debate and Forensics at a high school in Kansas City, Missouri.