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>
Six years after producer/director Sean S. Cunningham released the wildly popular (but highly overrated) "Friday the 13th" in 1980, and several years after director Steve Miner helmed the film's two sequels, the pair reunited for the 1986 horror-comedy "House." Still another hugely profitable outing for the team, "House" is a more family-friendly affair, blending some effective jolts, rubbery-looking monsters and a great deal of silliness into a tasty but middling stew. In the film, we meet a Viet Nam vet--now a best-selling author--named Roger Cobb (appealingly and effectively played by William Katt). Cobb is going through a decidedly rough patch in his life when we first encounter him. His wife (Kay Lenz) has just divorced him after the mysterious disappearance of their young son, he's having trouble with the writing of his promised war memoirs, and his Aunt Elizabeth has recently hung herself. Roger moves into his aunt's supposedly haunted house to get a little "solitude" to further his writing...too bad, however, that all those yucky-looking demons in the house will just NOT leave him alone....
Anyway, though certainly enjoyable, "House" proved to be just a little too tongue in cheek for this viewer. This is a film for the "Goonies" and "Gremlins" set, and certainly not for the serious horror buff. A little less comedy and a few more scares would have rendered this film a LOT more effective. As it is, those comedic elements are practically assured by the inclusion of George Wendt (riding high at the time playing everyone's favorite beefy barfly, Norm Peterson, on TV's "Cheers") as Roger's Gladys Kravitz-like nosy neighbor (essentially, he IS Norm Peterson here), and by the casting of Richard Moll (who was enjoying a similar great success at the time playing the childlike Bull on TV's "Night Court") as a soldier buddy of Roger's, and whose character is seen largely in flashback. The film piles on additional bits of silliness, such as the jarring misusage of the great songs "You're No Good" and "Dedicated to the One I Love" (sadly, NOT the Linda Ronstadt and Mamas and the Papas versions), as well as an extended babysitting sequence. The picture's script never sufficiently explains away all the spectral mishegas, and many instances of illogic and plot holes remain even after the big revelation toward the film's end. "House" gets by on the charm of its leading man, its barely effective FX and on the energy that Miner brings to his project. The film brought to mind two other movies for this viewer: 2011's "Insidious," which also features a father entering a demon-haunted other dimension to search for his young son, and (of all pictures!) 1958's "Monster on the Campus," which I'd just seen the day before, and which also shows us a man cutting his finger on a fish's tooth! I should add that it was nice seeing the beautiful Bond girl Mary Stavin (from "Octopussy" and "A View to a Kill") again, here playing Roger's superhot neighbor. In all, "House" is an entertaining if second-rate 93 minutes at the movies; it is supposedly much better than its two sequels, however. My psychotronic guru, Rob, has called the film "minor fare," but in light of the director's name, perhaps we should instead call it "minor Miner fare"! It is best watched with a few cold ones on one side and maybe your favorite 8-year-old on the other....
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