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Headscratchers / House of Wax (1953)

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  • Just what was Burke thinking when he started burning the sculptures? Think about it: Even if he didn't expect Jarrod to physically attack him, Jarrod had already said he disagreed with the plan. Therefore, at minimum, he was committing arson and insurance fraud in front of a witness sure to go to the police.
    • Perhaps he already had in a small part of his head the dead men tell no tales solution...
  • What's the actual reality of the plan. Bodies naturally decompose over time, but what would a wax coating do to that rate? Does wax in any way preserve, does it stop air from getting to the body? Or would Jarrod have kept new exhibits coming in and taking ones that were too far decomposing into the back workshop?
    • It could be that Jarrod embalmed the bodies before displaying them. Or as the museum wasn't up for very long, the problem didn't have time to rise, and he was simply too mad to care. Maybe he could have done an exhibit of plague victims and said the smell was part of the exhibit?
  • One of the features that tips off Sue that the Joan of Arc figure is actually the real Cathy is that the figure's ear is pierced. Why would Jarrod possibly have included such a feature in the display? Yes, Leon claims that Jarrod insists upon "realism" in his waxworks, but Jarrod has no trouble changing the hair of his figures to better match the historical people they duplicate. And although no paintings from life exist of the historical Jeanne d'Arc, it's a pretty safe bet that the Maid of Orleans didn't have pierced ears. So why - other than providing an easy clue for the heroine - didn't Jarrod have his accomplice leave that tiny, potentially-betraying detail concealed by the head's sheath of wax for verisimilitude's sake, just as he'd had a wig placed over Cathy's hair?
  • The original work that House of Wax and Mystery of the Wax Museum is called "The Wax Works" but what actually is it? The wikipedia pages actually contradict each other, one saying it was a three act play and the other saying it was a short story. They agree it was unpublished, does anyone know what it actually was and if it ever turned up anywhere after?
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    • It seems the author (Charles S. Belden) wrote up the same tale as both a short story and a play, then shopped them both around to see if either format would sell. The concept was eventually optioned by a film studio, so he left both play and story unsold in deference to their option. Because of legal issues over the similarity between Belden's story and another author's stage play - "Black Tower" by Ralph Murphy, about a villain who embalmed his victims as living statues - Belden never actually released either play or story, although the motion picture did get made after some back-and-forth litigation. (Presumably the movie studio had better lawyers than Belden did.)
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