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House: A B-Horror Film Review

Updated on January 27, 2019

This film was brought to life in 1986 by Steve Miner, the same director who gave us Lake Placid, Friday the 13th parts two and three, and the show Dawson’s Creek. It tells the story of a down-on-his luck ginger named Roger (William Katt), a Vietnam vet and horror novelist. His young son has gone missing, his wife has divorced him, and his aunt has just committed suicide by hanging when we meet this poor soul.

The Plot

Naturally, he decides to move in to his dead aunt’s place, a big creepy Victorian house full of her strange and unnerving paintings. Here he sets forth to write his next book, but is plagued by constant interruption. First, there’s the comic relief of his tubby and somewhat goofy neighbor, who is constantly checking in on Roger with a six pack and sage advice (“Solitude’s always better with someone else around, eh?”). Then there’s the fact that the house is haunted by a bloated, sniveling she-monster in a housecoat and red nail polish.

Things get personal when Roger figures out that his son is not dead, but trapped somewhere in the house. What ensues is a mental tug-of-war with Roger trying to save his son and hold on to his life and sanity in the process.

My Experience

“House” was an entertaining watch overall. Though the actual monster sitings were reduced to humor from bad 80’s special effects, there were many moments of real suspense in this film. The slow and timid movement of each character through the house left me tensely wondering what each corner would reveal. The time spent with Roger, as his supernatural experiences grew progressively worse, had me puzzling over reality. Was he seeing things? Did he actually murder a woman, or was that an apparition? Were there real monsters, or was Roger having a post traumatic breakdown into criminal insanity? These questions are not answered during the bulk of the movie, prompting you to continue watching.

The acting isn’t terrible, but not wonderful either. Roger’s neighbor Harold was a well-written character, so much that I actually looked forward to the scenes when he would appear. He had a sort of John Goodman-esque quality that made him loveable and was always good for a giggle.

The plot is creative – I love the backstory of the aunt and her paintings that hold a message. The reveal at the end is unfortunately far-reaching and disappointing. Why do these movies always fall off at the end? Ultimately, however, the creative suspense building and humorous elements of this film make it worth the watch.

Favorite Parts

"House" has all of the classic elements of a cheap creep – the big spooky house, the weird old lady with ominous warnings, the hand that pops out of a grave. . . you know, the usual. Here are some highlights from the movie:

1) The defeat of a persistent disembodied hand by flushing it down the toilet:

2) Roger discovering the clue in his aunt’s painting, a depiction of his son trapped in the bathroom mirror.

3) Roger’s unforgivably low V-neck sweater, reminiscent of the SNL skit featured below (forgive the subtitles)


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