Sean S. Cunningham, Roger Corman (executive) for New World
directed by Steve Miner
starring William Katt, George Wendt, Richard Moll, Kay Lenz, Mary Stavin, Michael Ensign, Erik Silver, Mark Silver, Susan French, Alan Autry, Steven Williams, Jamie Calvert, Mindy Sterling, Jayson Kane, Billy Beck, Bill McLean, Steve Susskind, John William Young, Dwier Brown, Joey Green, Stephen Nichols, Donald Willis, Ronn Carroll, Robert Joseph, Curt Wilmot, Ronn Wright, Renee Lillian, Peter Pitofsky, Elizabeth Barrington, Jerry Maren, Felix Silla
story by Fred Dekker, screenplay by Ethan Wiley, music by Harry Manfredini, creature effects by Backwood Film, visual effects by Dream Quest Images
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Horror writer Roger (William Katt) has been hit by a series of blows of
late, his sonb (Erik and Mark Silver) has disappeared from the face of the
earth, his wife (Kay Lenz) has left him even though he's still deeply in
love with her, he lacks inspiration for a new novel and even his memoirs
from the Vietnam War don't really come along, and then his aunt (Susan
French) who has raised him dies in what looks like suicide. Ultimately he
decides to move into her house to get his creative juices flowing again.
But he soon notices he's not alone in the house - and that doesn't refer
to his rather over-friendly neighbour Harold (George Wendt), but to, well,
something that makes noises in parts of the house that are supposed to be
deserted, to gardening tools that start to move all of their own in an
effort to kill Roger, and of course, a monster in the closet. But however
troubling all this is, at least Roger manages to return to writing - but
writing about his guilt about losing a buddy in Vietnam (Richard Moll)
only brings that ghost back, and he's of the take-no-prisoner variety ...
House arrived in 1985, it was well-received and almost immediately
gained cult status - and despite the film's flaws (especially a drawn-out
set-up), it's easy to see why: The film is just so darned likeable, but in
a good way that makes it also attractive to non-genre fans. But with
likeable, I certainly don't want to claim House takes no chances of
plays it by the book, rather the contrary: It does manage to combine
shocks, suspense and emotional scenes (like when Roger thinks he has shot
his wife) with comedy ranging from subtle to slapstick (like when Roger
all of a sudden has to babysit his sexy neighbour's [Mary Stavin] son
[Robert Joseph] amid all the chaos), boasts some delightfully old school
special effects, and is carried by some palpable performances - not a
given in yesteryear's horror.
By the way, producer Sean S.
Cunningham, director Steve Miner and composer Harry Manfredini were all
involved with the early Friday
the 13th movies - and while that series of course proved to be
a bigger draw with genre fans, House and it's sequel are generally
much fonder remembered by 80s kids.