Artist has his work destroyed and his face and hands ruined when his partner burns the wax museum for insurance money. Twelves years later, he resurfaces to continue his work, albeit with more gruesome techniques.
The early two-strip technicolor may date this film for some more than if it had been filmed in B&W, but watching a film in shades of pink and blue is not nearly as irksome as Farrell's shrill wisecracking reporter. And like so many 1930s films, the ostensible romantic lead has all the appeal of a wet sock. On the plus side, being filmed before the Hays Code went into effect is a great benefit, and allows for more explicitness than even the 1953 version had.
Possibly the goofiest ending of any horror film, but along the way we get to see Atwill at his best, Carewe showing that Dwight Frye wasn't the only actor who could play a creepy sidekick, and Fay Wray put her stockings on (and of course, hear her scream), so who can complain?
Remade in 1953 as House of Wax, which like its predecessor was used as a showcase for a new form of film technology.
Note:The version used for screencaps here is the version included as a bonus on the House of Wax DVD, and is very inaccurate in terms of color and an insult to the original cinematography. A good case for hanging on to your tapes and/or laserdiscs!