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Professor Henry Jarrod

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Henry Jarrod

Professor Henry Jarrod is an insane antagonist in House of Wax (1953) but is a genuinely kind-natured person, despite his aborrent crimes. He is constantly polite, he never mistreats his deaf/mute assistant (actually named Igor), compliments the ladies for their beauty, and goes to great lengths to save them from pain and horror while he transforms them into detailed wax figures.

He was portrayed by the late Vincent Price who also voiced Professor Ratigan in Disney's The Great Mouse Detective.


Professor Henry Jarrod is a talented wax figure sculptor with a museum in 1890s New York. He specializes in historical figures such as John Wilkes Booth, Joan of Arc, and one that he considers his masterpiece, Marie Antoinette. When his business partner Matthew Burke demands more sensational exhibits to increase profits, Jarrod refuses. Unwilling to wait to be bought out, Burke deliberately sets the museum on fire, intending to claim the insurance money. In the process, he fights off Jarrod, who is desperately attempting to save his sculptures "whom" he sees as friends. Burke splashes kerosene over Jarrod's body and leaves him to die in the fire.

Miraculously, Jarrod survives, but with severe injuries including crippled hands. He builds a new House of Wax with help from brutish deaf-mute sculptor Igor and another assistant. Jarrod now concedes to popular taste and includes a "Chamber of Horrors" that showcases both historical crimes and recent ones, such as the murder of his former business partner Burke by a cloaked, disfigured killer. Burke's fiancée, Cathy Gray, is also killed. Her body mysteriously disappears from the morgue. Later killed Wilbur Patterson, the deputy city attorney, and into a wax figure of John Wilkes Booth.

Cathy’s friend Sue Allen visits the museum and is troubled by the strong resemblance of the Joan of Arc figure to her dead friend. Jarrod explains that Cathy was the model for the sculpture. Unsatisfied, Sue returns after hours and uncovers the horrifying truth behind the House of Wax: many of the figures are wax-coated corpses. Sue is confronted by Jarrod, who proclaims her his new Marie Antoinette. She fights him off, striking his face, which is revealed to be a wax mask that shatters and exposes hideously fire-scarred flesh beneath. He subdues her and nearly succeeds in making her into a wax figure, but the police arrive barely in time to save her. While trying to escape, Jarrod is punched in the face by a policeman and falls to his death in his own vat of molten wax.

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