Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Doom House! : House (1986)

The film House is a weird case.  It's a series that ran for four films and seemed to do alright for itself.  However, most casual fans of horror will not ever bring this up.  Some of them have probably seen it- but they don't ever talk about it.  In fact, among all the horror series that I've covered- be it Ghoulies, Subspecies or Pumpkinhead- I have yet to really get many requests for it.  The catch is that it's a highly-regarded first film.  As far as the rest of them, not so much.  Let's focus on the original film though.  It's the tale of a novelist who moves into a new house, but finds out that he's not alone in there.  Oh yeah, 'Norm' from Cheers and 'Bull' from Night Court are here too.  Get out your randomly-bloody dress for my review of...
Early on, we don't know a lot about our hero.  We know that he lost a son due to some sort of accident in a pool and that he's a novelist working on his next book.  Thanks for the extreme close-up of the fan in a book-signing line, movie.  The house seems nice enough.  It's big, spacious and has a hot blond who likes to use the pool.  By the way, I hope you like this lady's ass, because the movie sure does!  The problem: he's got a neighbor who wants to chat.  That neighbor- George Wendt- eventually gets the hint through a bit of really awkward dialog.  Oh wait, it's supposed to be funny.  Inside, the man starts to plan out his novel, but gets caught up in some Vietnam flashbacks.  These seem really out of place, but do eventually tie in to the plot.  They also include Richard Moll, so that's a plus.  The man starts to get into the stories too much, however, as he dresses in the gear for the part while writing.  I'd hate to see what Stephen King does!  On top of that, a monster from his closet tries to attack him.  This leads the man to set up a line of guns facing the door & dive out the front door to celebrate his victory.  Naturally, the neighbor is outside the house doing...um, something. Break out the ironic trombone- again!
The neighbor is a big fan of the author and is worried about him.  Is the stress of writing a book and the loss of his son driving him mad?  He calls the man's girlfriend- an actress- and tells her that she needs to visit.  Her arrival goes well, until she turns into a puss-looking monster.  If the monster from Dagon had a pimple that become a living being, it would be this thing.  The man shoots the monster, which turns back into his girlfriend.  The neighbor calls the cops, thinking that the man offed himself.  This sets up some awkward comedy involving the man hiding the body and it nearly being discovered a few times.  Ha ha- it's funny because she died.  This monster won't stay dead though and has to be cut up and buried in separate holes in the ground.  More comedy ensues as the woman from earlier shows up and dumps her kid off with him.  However, the disembodied hand gets on his back, forcing our hero to cover for the limb's removal.  He also gets more flashbacks to Vietnam that still don't quite seem to synch up.  Random moments that don't make sense- get used to that.
Eventually, he's not alone in his quest to deal with the trouble.  The guy just sort of goes along with his request, but changes his tune when he sees a real monster.  At this point, things just get weird- yes, even by comparison.  The man is dragged into the closet by the monster and ends up in his own flashback from Vietnam.  However, the dead soldiers- especially Moll- are pissed.  He makes his way back to the real world and must do battle with a giant, zombie version of Moll.  The guy is packing heat too!  He chases our hero around with a gun, but there is some good news.  The guy's dead son: he's alive now.  Yeah, he gets pulled in from another dimension apparently and is alive again.  Screw you, God!  After a lot of build-up, the man realizes that he has the true power and blows up Zombie Moll with one of his own grenades.  In true Corman fashion, the house burns down.  The wife arrives just in time to greet the now-not-dead son, so all is well.  Does anyone question this bizarre miracle?  No.  The End.
This movie...is actually pretty good.  Don't get me wrong- it's weird as hell.  However, I was pretty entertained by this film.  I wish that some of it could have been strung together in a more linear fashion, but it's a minor complaint.  Sure, some of the jokes are hit and miss, but it's an overall strong package.  The acting is decent, the plot works and the practical effects are good.  It's really only when they delve into digital and rear-projection stuff that it falters.  To be fair, the right technology just didn't exist at the time.  It's not like those jerks at The Asylum who have no excuse!  If you're going to seek out a weird, horror film from the '80s, you can certainly have a good time with this one.  Will my good luck continue with Part 2?  Given that it's title is a pun, probably not.
Up next, let's look at the sequel which shares neither the characters, plot or setting.  Oh yeah, Bill Maher is here too.  Stay tuned...


  1. I've always enjoyed this film and the effects are fantastic. I loved Part 2 as well - much sillier but a lot of fun.

  2. Agreed, I think its funny in all the right ways, and the perfect piece of 80s pie!

  3. I can't complain too much about a film with zombie Richard Moll wielding a machine gun.