Directed by Steve Miner [Other horror films: Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Friday the 13th Part III (1982), Warlock (1989), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Lake Placid (1999), Day of the Dead (2008)]
House holds a special place in my heart. It’s not an overly special movie, but it’s a movie I remember very vividly seeing bits and pieces of as a kid, and though it’s not particularly frightening nowadays, this movie really scared me when I was younger.
To tell the truth, some scenes here still got my heart racing, as pathetic as that might be to admit. While the comedy did occasionally veer to too silly a level, it’s the scares here that stood out, such as that ghoul woman attempting to abduct the child or the multitude of monstrous hands attacking the protagonist from the mirror.
Really, I find the whole concept of House intriguing. The main character (played by William Cobb) is dealing with both the trauma of his experiences in Vietnam along with his recently losing his son, who has gone missing. The house in question, which contains within it different dimensions (or something akin to that – it’s not much touched on), looked quite grand, and the whole mirror sequence onward were true quality to see again.
Cobb did sometimes get a bit goofy, but he was still a very solid main character, and I enjoyed the conclusion, which ended somewhat like the first A Nightmare on Elm Street. None of the side characters really added as much as you’d hope for (be it George Wendt or Mary Stavin), but as the movie’s really a personal journey for Cobb’s character, I think that could be excused. Richard Moll made for a solid antagonist, though.
The way House was put together really works, too. With many flashbacks to Cobb’s time in Vietnam setting up the conclusion, and plenty of ghoulish attacks (that overweight ghoul perhaps being the most memorable) and adventures (Cobb’s journey into the mirror onward), the movie really came together wonderfully, and though I wish a few things were added to the end, and some of the humor stripped down, the film’s enjoyable whether or not there’s a blot of nostalgia over it.
Sure, some of the special effects seem a bit goofy, and the comedy sometimes becomes a bit much, but there are some decently funny lines and scenes in here too, and the multiple issues that Cobb’s character deals with works even ignoring the comedic overlay. It’s a movie that scared me as a kid, and seeing this again after some time, it’s a movie I really enjoy now.
This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one.