Roger Cobb (William Katt, Carrie) is a writer trying to get over the mysterious disappearance of his son. When Cobb’s aunt (Susan French, Jaws 2) commits suicide, the author moves into her home. Initially, Cobb enjoys the solitude the house offers him, but he soon realizes that the house is haunted.
Reaction & Thoughts:
Back in 1986, when I was a senior in high school, I sat down and watched House. Frankly, I thought at the time that it was a perfect blend of horror and comedy. The film scared me and it made me laugh — two emotions that usually don’t go together. While dated in places, House is still fairly amusing and entertaining.
Although made by the same people who gave us Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) — producer Sean S. Cunningham, director Steve Miner, composer Harry Manfredini — the gore is almost non-existent. It’s like one of R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps stories.
House does have a good sense of humor. The business with the little boy is hilarious. There is also one memorable scene with William Katt’s character fighting a hideous-looking ghoul — you don’t know whether to laugh or to scream.
The practical effects are inventive and effective — the puppetry and make-up effects are old-school moviemaking. I enjoyed the strange parade of silly and ugly monsters. It shows how much fun filmmakers had before CGIs took over everything.
Katt is likable in the lead. Despite all the wonky visuals, this is mostly a one-man show and Katt relishes the rare opportunity to shine. The supporting cast is very good too. George Wendt (TV’s Cheers) is pretty funny as Katt’s nosy next door neighbor. Sexy Kay Lenz (Clint Eastwood’s Breezy and White Line Fever) plays Katt’s ex-wife.
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
House has not aged as well as other films from that era so I can’t give it an enthusiastic recommendation. However, this is a fun piece of ’80s nostalgia — House has achieved cult status in the years since it was made. Color, 93 minutes, Rated R.
Followed by House II: The Second Story (1987)