Director: Steve Miner
Starring: William Kat, George Wendt
Roger Cobb is a Vietnam vet whose career as a horror novelist has taken a turn for the worse when his son Jimmy mysteriously disappears while visiting his aunt's house. Roger's search for Jimmy destroys his marriage and his writing career. The sudden death of his aunt brings Roger back to the house where his nightmares began. The evil zombies in the house force Roger to endure a harrowing journey into his past. - IMDb
Single word titles are sometimes tricky. They very often suggest a lack of originality and, most evidently, ambiguity regarding what the movie is about. This is certainly the case with 1986's House which, as the title suggests, is simply one ambiguous word. Haunted House? Full House? Ghost House? The title is so basic that you're left in the dark about what you're watching. Luckily, however, House takes this ambiguity and runs with it: you come in not knowing what to expect and leave completely satisfied about what you just witnessed. House is a monstrously great time.
I can't remember my history with House very well. Like most of the other movies I've chose for past Monster Mondays, I first saw the film in early adolescence and, ever since this time, tightly clenched onto the images in my young mind. Over time, these images manifested themselves as nostalgic memories in adulthood. Having watched the movie several times over the last decade, I find the movie equally as satisfying as the first time I saw it.
House is certainly not an obscure film, but it is often overshadowed by its significantly more infamous half-twin Evil Dead 2. Unfortunately, while Evil Dead 2 continues to be held in extremely high regard, House is often forgotten despite having predated Evil Dead 2 by a year. When visiting the movie, the parallels become obvious, and the question arises whether Evil Dead 2 might have "borrowed" some ideas from the underrated House.
That being said, it's a bit unfair to compare the two movies in this fashion, since House deserves to be enjoyed on its own merits. And, indeed, the movie is extremely enjoyable. Unlike the last several Monster Monday choices (see Pumpkinhead, Watchers or Rawhead Rex), House is a literal smorgasport of monsters. While the aforementioned movies provide us with a fantastic monster, we're still only left with one monster. For some, this monist approach can become tiresome and tedious, since there remains little versatility in terms of monstrous visuals. With House, we're constantly assaulted with monsters in varying shapes, sizes and forms: large monsters, small monsters, scary monsters and funny monsters. There's truly something for monster fans of all varieties.
Additionally, the movie is consistently hilarious and rarely misses a beat. This is thanks, primarily, to the excellent supporting cast and quirky characters. While the lead does a fine job, it's truly the minor characters (and specifically George Wendt) who make the movie such a blast. The chemistry between the characters manifests a hilarious atmosphere which creates some truly fantastic and unforgettable scenes.
In fact, aside from the lame title, there's little to dislike about House. With great effects, a likable cast, hilarious script and literally a dozen or so memorable creatures, House is a highly underrated monster movie which deserves far more recognition than it gets.