House (1986)

Day Nine of the 2010 Silver Shamrock Happy Halloween Countdown!

Happy Halloween Countdown Day Nine

Bust out the parachute pants, dude!   We’re rolling back to the 80’s with House.  I may be the only person that remembers this, but House made its theatrical run at the same time as Highlander.  Why do I remember that?  At the time The Wonderstork and I were debating on which movie to see.  I was leaning toward House and he was leaning toward Highlander.  He went into Highlander and I went into House.  After the movies were over we talked animatedly about them.  Okay, The Wonderstock talked animatedly.  I mostly just listened.  I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “Captain Midnight, you sure chose the short end of the stick.  Highlander spawned a series of sequels and a cruddy TV show.  The only House I can think of stars Hugh Laurie.”  Hindsight, old son, that is nothing but hindsight.  From then on, though, both movies were tied to together in my mind.

House, like Highlander, spawned a series of sequels.  And like the Highlander sequels, the House sequels all sucked, with the possible exception of House II, which is a comedy more than anything.  Back in the 1980’s it wasn’t so clear.  Highlander had the guy that played Tarzan.  It also had Sean Connery, which says more about Sean Connery’s career at the time than it does about Highlander.  Connery was coming off a string of mediocre to bad films.

House, on the other hand, was the epitome of the 1980’s horror-comedy.  It had some known TV talent in William Katt from The Greatest American Hero, George Wendt from Cheers and Richard Moll from Night Court.  There was a fair bit of buzz at the time that there would be sequels, each featuring a different cast member from Cheers.  This was director Steve Minor’s third feature film, having previously made Friday the 13th parts Two and Three.  House seemed like a good choice.

House isn’t a bad movie, but it does feel like watching a made for TV movie, albeit a better sort of made for TV movie.  The effects are weak, even for the time, though they still look better that most of what I see on the SyFy Channel.  (Do you hear me, SyFy Channel!?!?  Your CGI sucks!) The mixing of humor and horror effectively seems to elude Miner, which may be why I remembered this as being mostly a horror movie before watching it again recently after not having seen it since it’s theatrical run.

Despite Highlander seeping into American pop culture while House is largely forgotten, I would remind you that in the end, both movies are not all that good despite The Wonderstork’s insistence otherwise.  If you have kids under the age of ten or eleven, House is a good bet for a family Halloween film.  The humor comes mostly in visual gags, the horror isn’t too intense and there isn’t much in the way of gore.

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