Thursday 21 July 2011

House (1986)

Cor, talk about chucking everything in bar the kitchen sink.  There's loads going on in Steve Miner's HOUSE and some of it is quite good, so let's deal with that first.  It has a decent stab at horror / comedy, with the emphasis on the comedy; think of the weird third segment of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE or JUMANJI.  Or even GREMLINS.  In other words its '15' rated, as opposed to '18'.  It actually sustains that atmosphere well  rattling along, never settling on one theme for too long.  It's also set in a slightly off-kilter USA, which is always good to see, where there is no traffic, no pedestrians -  in other words, no reality to intrude on the strange goings-on.  The effects are pretty good too and it's kind of fun to see actual rubber monsters again, instead of CGI.

On the downside, there's probably a bit too much going on.  Poor old William Katt: his aunt has just killed herself, he's got writer's block, his marriage (to Kay Lenz) has fallen apart, his son has been abducted, his neighbour (CHEERS' George Wendt) won't give him a moment's peace, he is traumatised by Vietnam flashbacks and his house is haunted.  That's a fair bit to resolve in 90 minutes and to be honest Miner doesn't try; what he does instead is solve everything in one fell swoop, which is a bit of a cop-out.

HOUSE was a big hit in its day to the extent that it became a minor franchise.  Steve Miner went on to spawn a further mini-franchise with another comedy / horror LAKE PLACID (1999) and contributed installments to both the HALLOWEEN and FRIDAY THE 13TH series.

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