What do you get when you put a pop culture icon on an island with elaborate costumes and 20 tons of wax?
The answer: basically the same things you’d get with any Hollywood horror flick. “House of Wax” (Dark Castle Entertainment) doesn’t stray far from the genre’s foolproof formula – carefree college students, a deserted rural town, graphic mutilations – the whole deal.
But, hey, no one said they were trying to reinvent the wheel.
“When you see it, it gets a reaction out of you. You jump, you get scared, and you’re just along for the ride,” said co-star Jared Padalecki in a conference call with the film’s three other leading cast members.
Besides turning corpses into wax figures, the plot bears little resemblance to the original 3-D horror film of the same name. But cast members say that the remake takes wax a whole new level.
“It was the most disgusting wax material you could possibly imagine, covering (me) from head to toe,” explained Elisha Cuthbert, who plays Padalecki’s girlfriend. “Showering wasn’t even good enough.”
Cuthbert said that when they starting filming, wardrobe was really important. “There’s moment in the movie where (co-star Paris Hilton) wears very revealing clothing, and they wanted me to wear long johns. I was wondering where all my sexy clothing was, so I caused a little drama.”
Asked why she thought she was cast, Hilton hesitantly replied, “(The directors) thought I’d be cute in the movie. And we all look good together.” She later agreed that, indeed, it was because she was “hot.”
Although there are no nude scenes, Hilton explained, “In every movie you need some sexiness. People like it,” and said that everything is done “tastefully.”
“I tried to overcome a lot of barriers as far as (where) we were going to go nudity-wise for this film,” Cuthbert said. “Obviously reading this film, I knew that we had our male audience and that this character was very sexually-driven. But I also rewrote a lot of the dialogue to give her a character and to make sure that girls felt for this character as much as guys did.”
“They wanted to make it a horror film, but they also wanted to make it a generation piece. I think (sexuality) is just a part of this generation’s movies. It was important,” Padalecki said.
Despite her many engagements over the past year, Hilton said filming a hit reality TV show only takes a month out of her year. “The rest of the time I have time to do whatever I want.” Discussing her preference between film and TV, Hilton said “The Simple Life” is “much easier than a movie. I don’t have to follow any script or do anything. But I love film and I love TV. They’re both fun.”
All four co-stars have dabbled in both TV and film. Padalecki, who just finished a pilot for “Supernatural” on the Warner Brothers network, elaborated on the difference between the two. “With movies, you get the whole script in front of you before you agree to do something. But with TV, you get a script and then the next week it’s something completely new.”
While filming, Hilton held a concert to promote her freshly announced music career and solo album Paris is Burning. While she has been booed of stage at other recent performances, she explained that her show in Australia was “a lot of fun – great song to dance to, great people. I love music and I’ve been doing it my whole life. Everyone really liked it.”
Hilton is planning to have her real-life wax figure created for London’s famous Madame Tussaud wax museum next month. Co-star Chad Michael Murray said he’d pass if given a similar opportunity, but added, “It works for Paris.”
Murray and Cuthbert said they got particularly close while playing brother and sister in the film. Asked their scariest real-life moments, Murray said, “I choked on a cough drop when I was nine.”
“I choked on a lifesaver!” exclaimed Cuthbert. “Wow. We really are related!” Cuthbert added that “House of Wax” fills a void left by this generation’s horror films. “I think people in college look back on the films they saw as a kid and say, ‘where are those movies now?’ and (here you) have it.”
“House of Wax” opens Friday in Washington, D.C.