31 in 31: House (1986)


Story: So there’s this doctor, and even though he’s brilliant, man is he an asshole. No wait. There’s a guy named Rodger Cobb, but he’s a horror writer who wants to switch to nonfiction. He’s got a hot movie star ex-wife and a house he just inherited from an aunt that recently committed suicide. And from where his little boy vanished several years ago.

Scares: Well, Cobb uses DOS…. *shudder*  Truthfully, though there’s plenty of funny, this is brought to you by Friday The 13th’s Sean Cunningham & Steve Miner. Even with the cheesy 80s rubber monster FX. (Hey, worked for The Evil Dead.)

Splat Factor: Mostly demon goo. Mostly.

Closing Scene “Shocker”?: Nup. Yay!

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: 100% it’s own.

Trick or Treat?:  House gives you something you want, and something you didn’t know you wanted: a cool horror story with real humor. If you like the bits of humor scattered around Friday The 13th, Lake Placid and Smallville, you’re gonna enjoy this. C’mon, the tag line is “Ding Dong. You’re Dead”. I know, right? This film feels like a cool mashup of ghost story, haunted house, EC horrorshow & comedy. Best of all, this works.

Bonus: this horror-comedy came out years before the horror-comedy genre really took off. And there’s William Katt, aka the Greatest American Hero (and in Carrie, the greatest short-lived prom date) as Cobb.

Katt is pretty smokin’ here, but I had to laugh at the 80s fashions. Honesty, did guys really wear those deep-vee chunky sweaters as a single layer? Miner surrounded Katt with great character actors like George Wendt (Nooooorm!) and Night Court‘s Richard Moll. Kay Lenz – The Tick‘s American Maid – plays Cobb’s not-so-estranged ex.

As Cobb’s new book plays out in his head, it soon starts playing out in his crazypants haunted house. Cobb’s “yeah, she always said it was haunted” attitude keeps scares while lightening the load a bit.

And baby, you haven’t lived til you’ve seen a dude blow away a stuffed swordfish.

Score: out of 5 pumpkins.

About Denise

Professional nerd. Lover of licorice.
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