House (1985)

house poster 1985 movie william katz
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some fun moments

Story is sloppy

Movie Info

Movie Name:   House

Studio:   New World Pictures/Sean S. Cunningham Films/Manley Pictures

Genre(s):   Horror/Comedy

Release Date(s):  December 6, 1985 (Premiere)/February 28, 1986 (US)

MPAA Rating:   R

house sandy monster

Your lipstick brings out your beautiful smile

When Elizabeth Hooper (Susan French) kills herself, her nephew Roger Cobb (William Katt) finds himself inheriting her old home.  Cobb and the house have a strained relationship since it is where his son Jimmy (Erik Silver/Mark Silver) disappeared which led to the breakup of his marriage to actress Sandy Sinclair (Kay Lenz).  As Cobb tries to come to grips with his time in Vietnam and start writing again, he begins to discover that the house could hold some more secrets…and with his neighbor Harold Gorton (George Wendt), Hobb could find a way to repair his shattered life.

Directed by Steve Miner, House is a horror comedy.  The film was met with average reviews but gained a cult following over the years.

House was always on television growing up.  There are some horror movies that easily translate to the small screen and network TV, and House was one of those films.  As a result, it felt like I watched House a lot though I didn’t particularly like it…and watching it again, I still have the same problems with the movie.

house gargoyle monster

I want more flying gargoyles with shotguns

The plot for the movie is all over the place and has way too many plotlines.  The story could have simply been about his son disappearing in the house and his quest to find it, but it is mixed with this odd totally ’80s Vietnam veteran story.  Its attempts to balance humor and horror don’t quite mix as well as something like Evil Dead 2 and instead of being scary, the movie generally comes off as laughable with little to no scares (something that a horror comedy still needs).

The cast is kind of interesting.  William Katt plays the tortured author, but I still wish he was sporting his ’70s (and early ’80s) afro.  The movie also brings in some ’80s TV comedy actors.  George Wendt stepped out of Cheers for a moment to make the movie, and Richard Moll put Night Court behind him to play Big Ben.  It doesn’t necessarily help the film, but it at least makes it different than a lot of horror films from the time.

house big big soldier richard moll

Let’s make a Vietnam war vet story too

Visually, the movie is also up and down.  You have some great designed creatures like the monster woman and the little critter characters, but it also feels you don’t get to see them enough.  While the previous mentioned characters are kind of cartoonish, the zombie work on Big Ben is actually quite good…and the movie utilizes it more.

House will be a “fun” movie for a lot of people who grew up in the ’80s, but I always found it kind of a bore.  I don’t like the tone of the movie, and it feels like with some tweaking and writing changes that the movie could have been a better film.  With a modest success, the film started a franchise, and House was followed by the unrelated House II:  The Second Story in 1987.

Related Links:

House II:  The Second Story (1987)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response