Detective Lucas McCarthy finally apprehends "Meat Cleaver Max" and watches the electric chair execution from the audience. But killing Max Jenke only elevated him to another level of ... See full summary »
Roger Cobb is a Vietnam vet whose career as a horror novelist has taken a turn for the worse when his son Jimmy mysteriously disappears while visiting his aunt's house. Roger's search for Jimmy destroys his marriage and his writing career. The sudden death of his aunt brings Roger back to the house where his nightmares began. The evil zombies in the house force Roger to endure a harrowing journey into his past.Written by
Arthur de Boom <Raindance26@yahoo.com>
This was regarded as a "transitional" film by director Steve Miner, who was known mostly for horror films up until this time. This movie while staying within his bankable genre of horror, gave him an opportunity to branch off into comedy as well, which helped him springboard successfully into other genres for future projects. See more »
The rope that Roger lowers into the "black hole" in his medicine cabinet is a smooth, cotton rope. The rope that we see him sliding down is a rough, hemp rope. See more »
When "Cheers" and "Night Court" Combine in the World of Terror
After an old woman is found hung in her creepy old house, her nephew (writer Roger Cobb, played by William Katt) decides to move in for some solitude. But the memories of the house come back to him, as this was where he lost his son and his marriage began to fall apart. And what is up with all the demons hiding in the closet?
The genesis of the film is somewhat interesting. Screenwriter Ethan Wiley was referred to the creators by Fred Dekker, who had developed the original concept. Dekker was too busy developing a Godzilla film for Steve Miner, so he passed the idea to Wiley, who converted it into more of a comedy. Now, the Godzilla film ended up in development hell, but the positive outcome is a superior "House". Dekker's version would have been darker, focused more on PTSD, while Wiley's version is what makes it so enduring.
Although my favorite film in the "House" series is part two, the entire run was respectable. We have some of the better acting for horror films of the time, and an interesting and original plot. The biggest flaw really is the poor makeup effects (especially on Big Ben), but this may have been partially intentional to reinforce that it is less than serious. The Vietnam theme is also played up a bit too much, but that was the kernel of the story, so it would be hard to remove.
Richard Moll (Bull Shannon from "Night Court") appears as Big Ben, a Vietnam soldier captured by the Vietnamese. His role is very important, although the acting comes across as flat. I do not know if he is a poor actor or if the script simply did not give him much room to work, but the entire Ben subplot is a bit lacking.
At the same time, we have George Wendt (Norm from "Cheers") as a friendly neighbor who has no problem inviting himself in for some pizza and beer. Wendt is wonderful and really makes this film fun, just as he would do twenty years later in John Landis' "Family". He also starts the trend of "Cheers" actors in the "House" series (John Ratzenberger appears in part two).
The film is fun, and a good pace. Nothing very scary here, not even the closet that goes straight to what looks like Cthulhu's basement. But sometimes you do not need scares and scantily-clad women. Sometimes you need a little fun, and you will find it here (and even more in "House II"). Watch it. You will like it.
Arrow Video has released the definitive "House" set (either two films or more depending on your region). For the first film, we not only get an extremely informative audio commentary from Steve Miner, Sean Cunningham, William Katt and Ethan Wiley, but we have a brand new making-of documentary which has all of those names plus George Wendt, Fred Dekker, Harry Manfredini and more. This is the last word on "House".
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