House (1986) Review

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I’ve been wanting to watch the House franchise of films for quite a while now and finally this Christmas I got the box set of 1-4 on DVD. I had vague memories of these films but wasn’t sure which ones I could remember, turns out I didn’t remember a thing about the first two but the third one I kind of knew what was going to happen. I figure I might as well take the time to review all four of the films, as it turns out the first three really aren’t related to each other in any way at all. They’re not even set in the same house or anything, anyway here’s my review of the first House movie!

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Director: Steve Miner

Writers: Fred Dekker (story), Ethan Wiley (screenplay)

Budget: $3 million estimated
Run Time: 93 minutes 
Trivia – Kane Hodder, who was the stunt coordinator for the film, is known to horror fans as the one who played icon Jason Voorhees more than anyone else, four films total. Director Steve Miner also directed Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), the first to actually feature Jason, and Friday the 13th Part III (1982), the first to feature the famous hockey mask.
Trivia – Glenn Close and Sigourney Weaver were considered for the female lead role.

This is exactly what you’d expect from a film called House, yes it’s about a haunted house. It all starts off with a grocery delivery boy making his rounds to a eerie old house. He walks inside and hears a noise upstairs, he investigates the noise and finds the owner of the house has hung herself.

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Roger Cobb is a writer of horror books but wants to do something different and decides he should write a book about his experiences in Vietnam. After meeting some of his strange fans Roger heads home and gets two phone calls, one from his ex which leads him to pretend he’s at a party. Then after a nightmare he gets another call saying he’s inherited his Aunt’s home.

With writers block Roger heads to the house and where we get to meet his weird and bit stalkery neighbour George Wendt from Cheers, along with the sexy mum neighbour across the street who cons Roger into babysitting and he fails to do what anyone else in the world would have done and told her to do one.

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Whilst at the house we get some flashbacks about the disappearance of Roger’s son in that house. Over the course of the film Roger has nightmares about his time in Vietnam and to top it all off there’s strange things going on all over the house. So much so that poor Roger comes across as bat shit crazy to everyone in the film.

It turns out the house is some kind of portal to another world that bring up weird monsters and some strange scenes where Roger goes on a mission to rescue his son but finds himself back in Vietnam witnessing what he’d seen in the past. Everything comes back to his son Jimmy and the man who holds a grudge against him for what he let happen to him in Nam.

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The Good

  • Ex-Miss World is in it.
  • Norm from Cheers is in it.
  • I liked the effects, the monsters were cool looking but I suppose a bit cheesy nowadays.
  • I enjoyed all the portal to other places story of the house.
  • Every “main” character served their purpose rather than including people just to be killed off.
  • The musical score was pretty good and adds to the slight creepiness house.

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The Bad

  • I know it wouldn’t make a good film but I couldn’t help thinking why Roger just didn’t tell people to fuck right off when they pestered him.
  • I wasn’t keen on the main character, didn’t really relate to him much at all.
  • Could have been a lot scarier but fell into a more light-hearted approach.

This wasn’t a bad film but could have been better it’s not dated too badly and the effects are still reasonably good for their style. It’s worth a watch and I’ll be taking a look at the other films over the next week or so. I’m on Twitter @ABsHorrorShow let me know what you thought of the House franchise!

Overall Score – 6.5/10

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