Psychological thrillers depict the unstable or delusional psychological states of its characters. They focus on the complex and often tortured relationships between obsessive and pathological characters. In this edition of Trends of Terror, film critic Steve Hutchison reviews 64 psychological thrillers sorted from best to worst. How many have you seen?
Wax and wane...
This intricate picture was created in two-color Technicolor, in shades of salmon and peacock, and it is one of the last dramatic fiction films made with this process. It certainly has an appeal and it makes you wonder why this didn’t become a standard. The production looks twenty years younger than it is. The special effects are, too, ahead of their time.
The wax figures look like real people because, well, that’s what they are, in most cases. Some of them are beyond creepy. Some move and aren’t supposed to. All characters have their perks. There’s a drug addict, a deaf-mute; there’s even a monster. Sculptor, reporter, editor, model; people are defined by their occupations and everyone’s got a respectable job.
The performances are theatrical and not as stiff as you’d expect. The script is big on dialogue and slow, but not particularly slow for a 1933 movie. An interesting thing to note is that it was made before the application of the Hays Code. It’s basically free of censorship. Those are all reasons that should urge you to watch Mystery of the Wax Museum. It’s a great anomaly.