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About The Production
Set primarily in the fictional town of Ambrose, an eerily quaint enclave tucked away in a tangle of Louisiana backroads, House of Wax was filmed at the Warner Roadshow Studios in Queensland, Australia, and on location in Guanaba, a 45 minute drive from the Studios, where director Jaume, cinematographer Steve Windon and production designer Graham "Grace” Walker (Gothika, Ghost Ship) created the film's sprawling central set piece from scratch.

"We built a cruise liner for Ghost Ship. We built the interior of an asylum for Gothika,” Silver says. "For House of Wax, we built an entire town.”

"I read the script and I made a layout of Ambrose, and independently Grace read the script and made a layout, and they were identical,” Jaume recalls. "When it came to the style of the town, Joel wanted to do something a bit more unique than a ‘normal' small town or the gothic look you see in typical horror films.” "How many times do you build a town for a movie?” asks Silver, who has produced over 40 films and counts Ambrose as the first town he's ever commissioned. "In all of our Dark Castle pictures, we like to create unique environments that you haven't seen in the horror genre before. With Ambrose, we had the opportunity to push the envelope even further.”

Silver suggested the design team look to the small East African city of Asmara for inspiration. An exciting architectural discovery of recent years, Asmara served as a prime building ground for architectural innovation for Italian designers during the Modernist movement of the 1930s and has even earned the nickname "the Miami of Africa.”

Executive producer Herb Gains found the perfect location for Ambrose in a rambling cow paddock in Guanaba. "It was a vast open field surrounded by hills that gave it a palpable sense of isolation,” Gains says.  "We had to chase the cows away,” says Walker, whose carpenters and construction team transformed the three-acre stretch of farmland into the town of Ambrose in just ten weeks. Before building the structures, the crew dug trenches and installed water and electricity, laying two and a half miles of cable underground so that Windon and his lighting team could individually control dimmers for the 750 lamps strategically positioned along the town streets. 

Along a dusty main street lined with cracked sidewalks sprouting real weeds, Walker's crew built a gas station, a movie theater, a barber shop, a corner store, a pet shop and a few old homes. At the end of the road, a church and graveyard were constructed, and further up a hill, the old Sinclair house. 

Looming over the desolate town is Ambrose's main attraction, Trudy's House of Wax. The film's unlucky visitors quickly discover that the house is literally made of wax, from the streamlined-moderne exterior to the curios and furniture that lend a peculiar charm to the museum's interior, where numerous wax figures mingle and dance in an elaborate party scene that appears to be frozen in time. 

"Grace's design for the House of Wax is drenched with foreboding detail,” Silver enthuses. "It draws you in with its stylish façade, but the closer you look, the more unsettling it becomes.”

20 tons of wax were used to create the House of Wax sets, which were constructed with traditional materials and then coated with a spray-on wax façade. "The best-colored natural wax is beeswax,” Walker informs, "which is a rich brown flecked with gold and orange. We used this beeswax hue as our under-color for the House of Wax and also for the wax that Vincent works with in the film.” 

The four main sets that comprise the House of Wax – the living room, the music room, the kitchen and Vincent's sinister basement workshop – were duplicated and modified for filming the film's blistering climax in which the house is engulfed in flames, slowly liquefying its wax denizens. 

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