Two years after I concocted the wholly original idea of watching both House and House back to back my dream became a reality, and turned into a nightmare! Nah, it wasn’t that bad, I just wanted to sound cool. I mentioned in the other House review that both movies struggle with tone and genre. Neither movie commits to being a comedy or horror and no convincing argument that they find the perfect balance could be reasonably argued. Unfortunately Sean S. Cunningham’s House fails to do either. Beetlejuice it is not.
House is a haunted house movie, but instead of emulating Poltergeist or The Uninvited it models itself after Home Alone. After moving into an old house he inherited, author Rodger Cobb begins investigating the property’s strange happenings. Sometimes joined by his neighbor Harold (George Wendt), Rodger spends the better part of House setting up elaborate ghost traps in the hope of recording evidence of supernatural events or better yet evicting (exorcising?) his demonic tenants.
House gets an A+ on practical special effects but low marks for everything else. I didn’t find it funny, and I certainly didn’t find it scary. I mostly found it weird. I couldn’t get over occasionally seeing Norm in a horror movie, but that’s probably just me (It isn’t just me… John Ratzenberger stars in House II: The Second Story, what are you hiding Cheers cast alumni? Who put you up to this?). The jokes weren’t funny and some of the situations made no sense. Rodger’s love interest is a single mother who after knowing him for less than a few days… leaves her young son in his care while she goes out partying. Maybe that wasn’t uncommon for single people in the 80’s, but I would be uncomfortable letting someone I barely know bathe my child while I’m out getting white-girl-wasted. Not this lady, she can’t wait to find a horny rube to saddle with her diaper-clad kindergeist.
It’s just weird, it’s not good enough to enjoy or bad enough to roast. It’s totally unremarkably substandard. If you like Cheers or silly horror maybe you’ll like House but otherwise don’t waste your time.