Terror in the Wax Museum (1973)

PG | 90, 93 or 95 mins | Horror | June 1973

Director:

Georg Fenady

Producer:

Andrew J. Fenady

Cinematographer:

William Jurgensen

Editor:

Melvin Shapiro

Production Designer:

I. Stanford Jolley

Production Companies:

Fenady Associates, Bing Crosby Productions
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HISTORY

Although there is a copyright statement for Bing Crosby Productions listed onscreen, Terror in the Wax Museum was not registered for copyright. Floyd Joyer's onscreen credit reads: Unit production and Assistant director. Nicole Shelby appeared in the opening but not the closing onscreen credits. According to the Box review and 3 Nov 1972 DV item, producer Andrew J. Fenady used twelve members of the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts Pageant of the Masters, a popular southern California "Living Picture" troupe, to portray the wax figures. In the film, the murderer's identity is not revealed to the audience until the final shot of the murderer-victim wax figure tableau created by "Flexner" of "Fowley" standing over the dead "Dupree." Terror in the Wax Museum marked the final feature film appearance of actor Louis Hayward (1909--1985). Modern sources add Sandy Helberg to the ... More Less

Although there is a copyright statement for Bing Crosby Productions listed onscreen, Terror in the Wax Museum was not registered for copyright. Floyd Joyer's onscreen credit reads: Unit production and Assistant director. Nicole Shelby appeared in the opening but not the closing onscreen credits. According to the Box review and 3 Nov 1972 DV item, producer Andrew J. Fenady used twelve members of the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts Pageant of the Masters, a popular southern California "Living Picture" troupe, to portray the wax figures. In the film, the murderer's identity is not revealed to the audience until the final shot of the murderer-victim wax figure tableau created by "Flexner" of "Fowley" standing over the dead "Dupree." Terror in the Wax Museum marked the final feature film appearance of actor Louis Hayward (1909--1985). Modern sources add Sandy Helberg to the cast. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Jun 1973
p. 4599.
Daily Variety
18 Oct 1972.
---
Daily Variety
3 Nov 1972.
---
Daily Variety
11 May 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 1972
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Dec 1972
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 1973.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
19 May 1973.
---
Variety
23 May 1973.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Fenady Associates Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Vice president of prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Casting
Post-prod supv
Unit pub
DETAILS
Release Date:
June 1973
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 16 May 1973
Production Date:
17 October--early December 1972 at Paramount Studios
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
DeLuxe
Duration(in mins):
90, 93 or 95
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In late 19th century London, the owner of the House of Horror Wax Museum, Claude Dupree, meets with American businessman Amos Burns to discuss selling the museum’s unique collection of infamous murder tableaux. Enthusiastically showing off the carefully crafted scenes that include Marie Antoinette, Lizzie Borden and Jack the Ripper, Dupree admits to Burns that he senses the characters feel betrayed by his intention to sell. Exasperated by the older man’s eccentricity and his request to have another evening to consider the sale, Burns nevertheless agrees and, upon leaving, stops at the Clock and Horn pub next door. There, as attractive barmaid Laurie Mell sings a lively tune, owner Tim Fowley welcomes Burns, who asks if he knows Dupree. Revealing that he is the property owner of the museum building, Fowley assures Burns that Dupree is kindly and trustworthy. That night, Dupree, who lives above the museum, awakens from a nightmare in which the museum figures accuse him of betraying them. Unsettled, Dupree goes downstairs to walk among the wax figures and is terrified when Jack the Ripper comes to life and walks toward him. The next morning, Dupree’s longtime partner and associate, Harry Flexner, finds Dupree stabbed to death and reports to Scotland Yard, which sends Inspector Daniels and young Sergeant Michael Hawks to the scene. Daniels questions Flexner who explains that Dupree lived alone at the museum except for his helper, a disfigured deaf-mute, Karkov, for whom Dupree had cared since the childhood accident that had impaired him. Daniels also speaks with Burns, who relates his meeting with Dupree the night before. Soon after, ... +


In late 19th century London, the owner of the House of Horror Wax Museum, Claude Dupree, meets with American businessman Amos Burns to discuss selling the museum’s unique collection of infamous murder tableaux. Enthusiastically showing off the carefully crafted scenes that include Marie Antoinette, Lizzie Borden and Jack the Ripper, Dupree admits to Burns that he senses the characters feel betrayed by his intention to sell. Exasperated by the older man’s eccentricity and his request to have another evening to consider the sale, Burns nevertheless agrees and, upon leaving, stops at the Clock and Horn pub next door. There, as attractive barmaid Laurie Mell sings a lively tune, owner Tim Fowley welcomes Burns, who asks if he knows Dupree. Revealing that he is the property owner of the museum building, Fowley assures Burns that Dupree is kindly and trustworthy. That night, Dupree, who lives above the museum, awakens from a nightmare in which the museum figures accuse him of betraying them. Unsettled, Dupree goes downstairs to walk among the wax figures and is terrified when Jack the Ripper comes to life and walks toward him. The next morning, Dupree’s longtime partner and associate, Harry Flexner, finds Dupree stabbed to death and reports to Scotland Yard, which sends Inspector Daniels and young Sergeant Michael Hawks to the scene. Daniels questions Flexner who explains that Dupree lived alone at the museum except for his helper, a disfigured deaf-mute, Karkov, for whom Dupree had cared since the childhood accident that had impaired him. Daniels also speaks with Burns, who relates his meeting with Dupree the night before. Soon after, Dupree’s solicitor, Mr. Southcott, arrives with Dupree’s niece, Margaret Collins, and her guardian, Julia Hawthorn, summoned by a letter written by Dupree before his death, to discuss his unformulated will. Julia declares that if there is no will, the next of kin legally inherits and as she is Meg’s guardian, she is in charge of Dupree’s property. Southcott and Flexner respond angrily when Julia insists on moving in with Meg and reopening the museum immediately to capitalize on the notoriety of Dupree’s murder. When Flexner expresses concern for Karkov, Julia reluctantly agrees to allow him to stay. Unsettled by Karkov, Burns suggests that he committed the murder, but Daniels points out that Dupree was stabbed by a right-handed assailant and Karkov’s right arm is withered and useless. Hawks then goes to the Clock and Hound to question Fowley, who describes Dupree’s dedication to the museum and kindness to Karkov. Meanwhile, Julia arranges to open the museum the next day and although the crowds enjoy the displays, they pay special attention to Jack the Ripper. Later that evening as Julia records the day’s profits, Meg confides to Hawks that it seems the public believes the Ripper killed her uncle. Hawks, who was involved in the original Ripper investigation, reminds her that it has been a decade since the Ripper’s last crime. After Hawks has left and Julia has retired, Meg walks through the museum displays and hearing a strange sound, panics when she notices that the hand of Lucretia Borgia has been cut off. Responding to Meg’s scream, Hawks, who has been keeping watch just outside, breaks in and Julia comes downstairs. Meg insists the Borgia figure was initially whole, but admits she does not know how the hand was severed. When the distressed Meg tells Julia she should sell the museum immediately, her guardian says they must give the matter consideration, as the property is her entire inheritance. At Dupree’s burial service the next day, Burns asks Julia if she will sell the wax figures, and they arrange to meet that night after the museum closes. Back at the museum, Flexner shows Hawks and Meg the huge vat of hot wax in the cellar, managed by Karkov. Meg is startled to discover a likeness of her uncle’s head nearby, but Flexner explains that as soon as the crime is solved he intends to complete an entire display of murderer and victim. That evening, Julia concludes the sale of the tableaux with Burns, infuriating Flexner who refuses to accompany Burns to America or to abandon Karkov. After Flexner storms out, Burns stops at the Clock and Hound to celebrate. Later, as a storm begins outside, Flexner arrives at the pub and berates Burns for ruining his life’s work. Burns remains at the pub until closing and after Laurie refuses his drunken request for a date, he departs. The next morning, Meg is terrified to find Burns impaled on a spear in one of the museum displays. Hawks questions Karkov and a hung-over Flexner, who insists that he was in the distant Limehouse district all evening. Angered to have lost her buyer, Julia nevertheless determines to open as soon as possible to exploit the latest murder. That night, Meg experiences a nightmare of being chased by the Ripper and the other museum characters and, awakening, is thunderstruck when she sees her uncle standing across the room and faints. Afterward, Meg informs Julia she is leaving the following day. Hawks arrives the next morning to find Meg packing and encourages her to stay as he believes she is intentionally being frightened away. Meg agrees and accepts Hawks’s invitation to dine together that night. At a Chinese restaurant in Limehouse that evening, proprietor Madame Yang tells Meg’s fortune, warning her that she is in grave danger and could also come into money and romance. Madame Yang later admits to Hawks that Flexner was at her establishment only until closing at 2 a.m. on the night of Burns’s murder. Upon returning to the museum, Hawks and Meg find Southcott waiting for them with a letter from Dupree that had been delayed in the mail. Hawks reads the letter aloud which informs Southcott of Burns’s offer and his wish that Flexner and Karkov receive the bulk of the proceeds as he has other special assets to leave Meg. Dupree’s letter also warns against Julia having any involvement with the museum. Declaring that the letter is legal as it is dated and signed, Southcott tells Julia she may remain on the premises until the court officially rules on Dupree’s estate. That night before departing, Hawks assures Meg that he will be sitting in a cab across the street keeping guard. Later after Laurie helps Fowley close the pub, she walks off alone and is followed by a constable. Sometime later, Meg is awakened by the sound of the guillotine in the Marie Antoinette display and investigating, finds Laurie’s decapitated head on the floor. Finding Hawks’s cab outside empty, Meg returns to the museum where, with Julia, she goes to the cellar looking for Karkov, who awakens in time to see a figure dressed as the Ripper come up behind the women. Julia faints in fear while Meg struggles against the Ripper and eventually passes out. Karkov attacks the man but is hurled into the vat of wax. Hawks, who has entered the cellar by a secret backdoor, arrives in time to prevent the man from throwing Meg into the vat and chases him upstairs where they struggle until the Ripper is impaled on an axe blade in a display. Pulling off the man’s rubbery mask, Hawks discovers Fowley. Several days later, Hawks and Daniels meet Meg and Julia to explain that Fowley, using his knowledge of secret entrances into the building and disguising himself as wax figure characters, was searching for Dupree's secret assets, destined to be passed on to Meg. He killed Dupree and Burns in an effort to keep the museum open so he could continue his search. Fowley was later forced to kill Laurie when she recognized him wearing a constable’s uniform he had removed from one of the max figures. Hawks then reveals his discovery that Dupree’s treasure lay in the Ripper’s medical instruments, handmade by Dupree from solid platinum, the most valuable metal in the world. As Hawks congratulates Meg on her unusual inheritance, Flexner unveils the completed tableau of Fowley standing over the dead Dupree. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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