HOUSE (1986)New World Pictures

“Damn! You rise out of the grave and run out of ammunition.”

Horror novelist Roger Cobb is a man on the edge, reeling from his recent divorce, haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his young son, and struggling with his new book about his traumatic experiences in Vietnam. But when he moves into the strange house left to him by his late aunt, Roger’s precarious sanity comes under siege by nightmares of his dead war buddy, visits from a nosy neighbor, and an onslaught of hideous creatures from another dimension. Horror has found a new home, and it’s fully furnished with murder, monsters and madness!

So, stop me if you’ve heard this one: The Greatest American Hero has retired from the alien supersuit and has become a popular horror novelist who has recently divorced his soap star wife, and inherited the old Victorian style house from his recently long-in-the-neck deceased aunt (too soon?). Instead of selling the house, he opts to move in for some much-needed solitude to begin writing his new book, based on his experiences in the Veitnam war, where he was apparently serving along side Bull from Night Court. The weird confluence of Television Stars from the 1980s continues when he runs into his neighbor, who turns out to be Norm from Cheers, and a bit too nosey for his own good. But, all that pales in comparison to the fact that the house he now dwells in has a few quirks that goes beyond just being an old house: Taxidermy coming to life, garden implements attacking, an unholy monstrosity popping out of an upstairs closet every night at the stroke of midnight to say “hey, howyadoin’?” and, I don’t know, swallow your soul maybe. Soon, it’s a struggle to maintain his sanity while fighting back from the entities that dwell in the house giving him a supernatural atomic wedgie. Turns out, though, it’s his long-dead soldier pal Bull (who now looks like the mascot for the Stormtroopers Of Destruction) pulling the supernatural shenanigans, due to a long-held grudge for getting captured and tortured by the Viet-Cong back in the day. Wackiness ensues.

For the longest time, I never really got around to seeing the original horror comedy that was House, mainly due to it always being “out on rental” at the Applause Video that we got our rentals from back in the day. Mind you, my sister and I got the sequel on VHS, and found that rather amusing, but now that I’ve gotten around to watching the original House, I have to say that I’m struck by how different those two films are. This House is a bit darker in tone, though William Katt is a very good understated actor who pulls off the straight-man type of comedy well, which works with the rest of the cast (especially George Went, who needs to be in more horror movies than he’s been in , let me tell you).  The creature effects were gleefully over-the-top, with Richard Moll’s Sergeant D-like getup giving me some ideas for next year’s Halloween costume (yes, I realize that was another actor in that suit, but it was Moll’s voice coming out of it).

Overall, I found this House greatly amusing fun, and I’m sorry I didn’t manage to check it out sooner than this. I’ve been saying that a lot for a lot of nostalgic reviews, aren’t I? Anyway, if you haven’t check this one out yet, seek to remedy this as soon as possible.