House is one of those movies that is a total guilty pleasure. It’s chock-full of bad humor and has just enough scare factor to keep you smiling…at least those of use that revel in that sort of thing.
The movie came in 1986, and star William Katt was riding the success of Greatest American Hero and his appearances in the too-numerous-to-count Perry Mason movies. House was the first of four movies in the franchise, but you’ve probably only heard of the first two. (You’re not missing much with 3 and 4.)
Katt plays Roger Cobb, a tortured author living off his last hit novel, whose son disappeared while playing at his aunt’s house. Cobb was there and saw the boy flailing in the pool, but when he tried to save him, the child was gone.
Distraught over the loss of his son, Cobb’s marriage to his actress wife dissolved, and he dedicated himself to writing a memoir about his time in Vietnam. He moves into the house of his recently deceased aunt and immediately begins experiencing crazy creatures and unusual phenomenon, including a homicidal mounted fish and grotesque closet monster.
While writing his Vietnam memoir, Cobb has a flashback and we meet Bull Shannon…wait, never mind…Big Ben, played by Richard Moll. He’s a crazy soldier that rushes into battle like a Highlander on steroids and ends up getting shot…a lot. As he’s dying, he begs Cobb to finish him off so he won’t be captured and tortured by the enemy. Cobb can’t do it ,and Big Ben’s spirit doesn’t take it kindly. He’s the one who kidnap’s Cobb’s son and ramps up the bad mojo already existing in the house.
It’s up to Cobb to take down Big Ben and rescue his son.
Why I Loved House
What I love most about ‘80s movies is there was never any CGI. Monsters are made from rubber and other prosthetics to create something that looked incredibly real. It’s refreshing to see a giant blob monster and groan at the pathetic CGI. Sure, the Harryhausen-esque flying sequences could use some work, but what do you expect, it’s the ‘80s?
I also loved how the movie never took itself too seriously. It skirts the line between horror and horror comedy well. It’s not farcical like Army of Darkness, but has the right amount of drama and comedy to keep it light and the pacing up.
Katt’s comedic talents are OK, but it’s Moll and George Wendt ( a.k.a. Norm from Cheers), as his next door neighbor, that really make this an amazing movie. I remember watching this over and over again as a kid. I recently had the opportunity to see it again on ScreamBox, and it brought back a flood of fond memories.
Anyone looking for a night of good movie watching or just wants to relive a piece of his childhood should take the time to check out this movie. See the Internet Movie Database listing here.