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Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 104: House

Our house, in the middle of our street

Don't worry, this isn't a review of that TV show with the jerk doctor. This is the horror-comedy movie from the 80's. I wasn't really sure what to expect when I chose this movie. I mean, it's called House. It's got to be a typical movie about an evil house that has bleeding walls and stuff, right? Well, this was the 80's and it was far from typical.

House, directed by Steve Miner (Friday the 13th, Dawn of the Dead remake), stars William Katt (The Greatest American Hero, Carrie) as horror novelist Roger Cobb. Roger recently separated from his actress wife Sandy after their son disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Roger is having serious writer's block for his new novel, which is going to be about his experiences serving in Vietnam. His Aunt has recently committed suicide, and rather than selling her old house, Roger decides to move in for a while in order to help his writing process. Roger begins to have intense, graphic nightmares involving monsters attacking him and memories of his time in Vietnam come out, particularly about a soldier named Big Ben. Roger investigates the house after hearing strange noises and is physically attacked by a disfigured monster. He tries to convince his neighbor, Harold, (George Wendt, Cheers, Masters of Horror: Family) that the house is haunted, but Harold doesn't believe him. Harold actually calls Sandy and tells her that he is worried for Roger's safety. The monsters and attacks keep coming and Harold sees one of the monsters firsthand. Roger discovers another world within the evil house and ventures inside. What does this have to do with his intense memories of Big Ben and his lost son?

Sgt. Fury And His Howling Corpsemandos

I can definitely say that this was not the type of movie I expected when I began to watch it. That's not a bad thing, it's just unexpected. The story is pretty weird and the people involved may or may not have been on illegal substances. It bounces around a bit too much for my liking, particularly with the Vietnam flashbacks that look like they were filmed in someone's backyard. Those flashbacks turn out to be fairly important at the end, but, in the moment, it just felt like they were wasting time. There are a few plotholes and if you think too much about it, blood might come pouring out of your ears. Luckily, the movie is entertaining enough where you can ignore some of the flaws.

The monsters in House look great with a lot of attention to detail. Modern movies could learn a thing or two in how to make monsters. No need for CGI, just good old-fashioned makeup, latex, and creativity. The acting is pretty good throughout and William Katt puts on a good performance. George Wendt is lovable, as always. The humor is not exactly a knee-slapper, but you'll crack a few smiles. The problem with adding a lot of humor is that it takes away the fear and House had some jump-out-of-your seat scary moments. I think the movie would have been better if they had focused more on the horror and a little less on the humor. Have some humor, but don't overshadow the horror part of the story. 

Newt Gingrich looks terrible!

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to House. I give the writers credit for thinking outside the horror box and including some different elements to their movie. The story itself is a bit convoluted and has a few holes, but it's still entertaining. The acting is good and the monsters look great. I think if House was remade today with a stronger focus on horror, it could actually be very good. House is worth your time just to see George Wendt being George Wendt and to see some great monsters.


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