House (1986)

OCTOBER 19, 2008


Part of the deal for the all night horror-thon at the Bev was a secret movie. Some folks were convinced it was Trick ‘R Treat, others had their money on Halloween. I can’t help but think that they were massively disappointed when it was revealed to be House, the Steve Miner film from 1986 that is best known for its sequels' names: the awesome subtitle for the 2nd film, (The Second Story! Get it? It's a play on words!) and the fact that part 3 is completely unrelated (and not even named House III in the US, despite the fact that we still got House IV). Having never seen the entire film, however, I was happy to see that the secret film was one I could use for a HMAD entry.

Unfortunately it wasn’t all that good, and worse, it brought the crowd down a bit. Granted, as the night goes on you can expect folks to get more and more sleepy, but if one were to graph the level of energy throughout the night, you’d be able to see a pretty big drop occurring right around the point of House when you realize that Miner and co were simply making the movie up as they went along. I think it’s one of those movies that lives solely on its nostalgia, and just won’t be “appreciated” by someone watching it for the first time now, as an adult.

Part of the problem is that the movie is rated R, but it’s aimed at kids. There’s something kind of odd about having a movie with all these adult themes (losing a child, divorce, suicide) when the villain is a wisecracking zombie that seems teleported from a Scooby Doo cartoon. So the humor doesn’t really work on me as an adult (except for a few lines from George Wendt, who is the movie’s only real highlight), and I’m left with rather bland horror.

There’s a great sequence, partially set to “You’re No Good” (for some reason), where Katt dispatches a monster and tries to dispose it about halfway through the movie, but it’s pretty much the only memorable horror bit. The rest is just the usual generic haunted house stuff, plus a haunted fish that may have inspired those singing fish things that idiots buy you for Christmas.

Also, there are poorly implemented flashbacks to the disappearance of Katt’s son and his time in Vietnam that completely throw the movie off. Again, it really just feels like they are making things up as they go along; the movie keeps going on tangents and then haphazardly resuming the actual story. For example, late in the film, the would-be love interest drops her kid off, and Katt tries to prevent him from seeing monsters and then has to rescue him (nice job on the prevention! Greatest American Hero my ass!). Throughout this sequence, he never once seems to really consider the parallels with his own son. If anything, he barely seems concerned for the kid’s safe return; it’s as if he’s more worried that if the kid is killed he’ll never get to fuck the mom. And that would be totally fine, if he stuck to that principle. But no, the kid is rescued and the two of them are never mentioned again, then they suddenly dive right back into the son/Vietnam stuff as if nothing happened.

And for the love of Christ... attention all movie characters who are authors: When you need to write something – stay the fuck in your own home! Or go to a Starbucks or something. This pathological need to go to isolated houses or old family mansions will be the death of all of you! It never works out. Just once, I’d like to see a movie where a writer goes off to his old childhood summer home or whatever, writes a book without any interruption, then returns to his 2 bedroom apartment in Studio City and discovers his roommate is a warlock. The rest of the movie is about the warlock.

What say you?


  1. This is one of the first horror movies I remember watching as a kid. It used to scare the shit out of me, mostly because I find old ladies hanging creepy. I hid behind my brother during most of it being I was 4 at the time.
    I rented it about two months ago and the nostalgia was the only positive. Depressing

  2. didnt scare me, but as i just bought 1 and 2 recently..I really liked 1..
    2 I remembered liking MORE than the 1st one when i was a kid, but after rewatching..part 1 was the better.

    I liked how both of the movies had the cheers guys in it. I wonder if 3 had Frasier and 4 had woody harrelson?


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