September 19, 2013

Photo Essay: Hollywood in Wax

I seem to celebrate Halloween earlier and earlier every year. I blame my addictive personality. I wore three different costumes to three different masquerade parties last year, and it wasn't enough. I only have two planned this year, and I can't stop shopping for accessories.

When I'm feeling sad and want to get drunk, I go to a Halloween store.

It soothes me.

I think the first real Halloweeny thing I did this year was attend a screening of the classic 3D horror flick House of Wax in original 35MM dual projection at the Egyptian, nearly two months before Halloween itself. (Two days later, I started shopping online for Halloween costumes.)

Since then, while I wait for the various haunted houses and other terrorizing attractions around Southern California to open for the season (sure to brave them alone again this year) - in between my visits to Spirit Halloween, Halloween Adventure, Target, KMart, Hot Topic, Hollywood Toy & Costume, Frederick's of Hollywood, Trashy Lingerie, Claire's Boutique, and Halloweentown (the latter of which I've already visited three times, despite its location up over the hill in Burbank) - I've been obsessed with visiting a wax museum.

Now, as far as I know, there aren't any local wax museums exactly like the one in the movie - certainly none that SPOILER ALERT pour hot wax and shape it over real corpses - but Hollywood does have two from which to choose, so I went off the mainstream and visited the Hollywood Wax Museum instead of Madame Tussaud's. (I'm sure I'll visit the Madame soon enough, though I haven't seen her handiwork since Rock Circus in London in 1995.)

Photo added 9/12/16

In addition to its celebrity recreations in wax, the Hollywood Wax Museum has its own chamber of horrors through which you can walk, once passing a "I wouldn't go in there if I were you" type of warning sign.

It's where Dracula meets Frankenstein...

...and they meet Hellboy.

Chuckie and his bride are forever united behind a glass panel...

...Hannibal Lecter behind bars...

...and Lon Chaney's Phantom freed from his mask.

These wax figures forever raise hell...

...and prey upon...

...and thrill visitors.

And then, of course, are the movie stars...

...some on the red carpet...

...and some in character.

There are also the occasional television stars...

...pop stars...

...and just...stars.

I think most people go into these wax museums to cozy up to the wax figures and get their picture taken with them, so they can tell their friends, "Look, it's me with George Clooney!" But I liked to get right up under their noses, stare into their glassy eyes, and read their faces. Most of them looked sad to me. Most of them looked like there was someone else inside, trying to break free of their waxy exoskeletons, the characters that had been painted and puttied upon them.

I got a little spooked, alone in there with them, their lips parted mid-sentence, lids and lashes never blinking, eyes gazing to the distance, always looking for something else, never really making eye contact, no matter how close I got.

It feels a bit like Hollywood itself.

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