DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Friday, October 06, 2023

HOUSE Franchise - You're Invited

HOUSE Franchise

Long term fan, first time reviewing this whole series - Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Remember the heady days of 1986? I was 15 and the world was generally a more innocent place. Not having watched many scary films (due to strict religious parents) I would however often spend ages checking out the lurid video covers in the local video store. One cover stood out - HOUSE it said, and it had a disembodied hand pressing a doorbell. It was excellent and I knew I had to check it out...

Oh boy - it immediately became one of my all-time favs! The series continued with 3 sequels of, erm, varying quality, but a franchise was born and for me - this is one I'd LOVE to see a big-budget reimagining of in the style of Hellraiser??

'Don't come alone'

HOUSE (15)

Dir. Steve 'Friday the 13th parts 2 and 3' Miner

"It won Roger. It tricked me. I didn't think it could, but it did. It's going to trick you too, Roger. This house knows everything about you. Leave while you can."

Getting a horror comedy right can be a tough ask. For every classic like Gremlins which is near perfect, there are a thousand direct-to-TV efforts that are neither funny or scary!? HOUSE, is very much on the spectrum but happily nearer the classic end even though it has plenty of cheap thrills, it has some genuinely disturbing bits and some great humour.

Superb practical effects, a genuinely fun, off-the-wall plot, and some unforgettable set pieces make HOUSE an absolute '80s gem. It tells the tale of Roger Cobb (William 'Tommy from Carrie' Katt) a struggling writer who inherits a haunted house - it's great and I fully recommend it if you've somehow never come across it!

'Just when you thought it was safe...'

HOUSE II: The Second Story (15)

Dir.  Ethan 'Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror' Wiley

"There it is. Looks like you've got some kind of alternate universe in there or something."

How do you follow up such a winner that the first HOUSE? Well how about going 'full gonzo' with undead cowboys and prehistoric creatures? Yep HOUSE II (love the tag line 'the second story') might not have the scary factor of the original but it sure is a fun romp. It even spawned a Marvel comic!!
'Marvel tie-in comic!'

HOUSE II is a great fun watch, it's much less of a horror film but that doesn't diminish the outlandish goings on. And it maintains some great humour too - think Texas Chainsaw 2 and you'll know the kind of change of pace to expect...

HOUSE III: The Horror Show (18)

Dirs. James 'Jason X' Isaac & David 'Night Freaks' Blyth

"All that did was give me a hard on!"

How is it that often two very similar films come out in close proximity to each other in this case 1989? HOUSE III: The Horror Show - or just 'The Horror Show' in some countries has the same plot as Wes Craven's SHOCKER - serial killer uses electricity from electric chair to beat death and return for revenge... I have some time for both of these films but can't help thinking that if they creative teams had teamed up (e.g. Craven directing H3) we may have had one great horror film instead of two ok ones?

'hey the alien guys want to have a word with us for copyright'

HOUSE III at least has a fun cast with the excellent Lance 'Bishop from Aliens' Henricksen starring as the detective trying to stop the undead killer Max 'Meat Cleaver' Jenke (Brion James). There's very little 'House-ness' in this flick which is a shame but it's fine as a stand-alone '80s slasher. It's not very funny apart from the late '80s fashion though.

HOUSE IV: The Repossession (15)

Dir. Lewis Abernathy (this is the only film he directed)

" There! No more anchovies! "

When there is not more room in hell, cash-in sequels will walk the earth... Ah HOUSE 4, a very mixed bag of not much fun and very little scares. If HOUSE III focused on being a horror film, HOUSE 4 tries to mix up all that has gone before - even bringing back Roger from the original for a cameo.
Best this about this lamest entry of the franchise (which probably killed it off)? PIZZA MAN!! Yes Kane Hodder himself - he's played Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th flicks and Victor Crowley in the Hatchet films but HOUSE 4 will always be remembered for his playing an evil pizza...

'did someone say extra crispy?'

And so the HOUSE films limp to a sadly unsatisfying ending (so far) but I for one live in hope of HOUSE 5 coming and blowing the doors off the horror comedy world one day :)

Out of a potential 5, you have to go with a Darkmatters:

HOUSE 4 öö

(Overall - see them all but maybe in reverse order so you finish with the orginal and best??!

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