House Franchise – Film

“House Franchise”

The original is a classic which belongs on every true horror fans “must watch” list. I’d seen the second when it was first released. I’d not seen the rest until now.

Movies #12, #13, #14, #15 of the 2020 31-Days of Horror.

House (1985)

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Roger Cobb is an author that usually writes horror novels, but lately has been trying to write the memoirs of his personal experiences during the Vietnam War. After the aunt who raised him is found dead in her home, he decides to return there, where he and his estranged wife, a famous soap opera star, and their son once lived.

Decided to follow up with this one because there is a scene in it that has Stephen Nichols very briefly and he was one of the main characters in Witchboard. Besides, you don’t really need an excuse to watch this horror/comedy classic masterpiece!

Fantastic puppet/make up effects, appropriately timed jump scares (yeah there is such a thing and I think this is the only movie I’ve ever complimented on it), well written, well directed, there’s no end of good in this. Plus, you’ll have Linda Ronstadt stuck in your head for days after watching this!

House II: The Second Story (1987) – Film

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In the vein of its predecessor, Jesse inherits a house and moves in with he girlfriend, Kate. His somewhat obnoxious best friend, Charlie, shows up shortly after, with his friend, Lana. Jesse and Charlie start digging through old pictures and stuff in the basement, they decide it’s a good idea to dig up the grave of Charlie’s old gramps and they quickly discover that not only is the house haunted, but is actually a temple housing a gateway to an alternate dimension.

This is a lot less dark than the first film, though it does give the first film a couple nods, most notably, with the choice to cast John Ratzenberger as Bill the electrician. Amy Yasbek, though in a small role as Lana, is a comedic joy. Also, watch for Kane Hodder! There’s plenty of plot threads that are simply dropped rather than weaved into the story, leaving holes here and there.

It’s a good, whimsical buddy adventure/horror. The creature effects are original and fun, I’d like this movie just for that. It has a completely different type of charm, but just as entertaining as the first. Just suspend your disbelief, embrace the fantastical non-logic, and enjoy.

House III: The Horror Show (1989)

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Detective McCarthy finally apprehended “Meat Cleaver Max” Jenke and has been having nightmares about it. Things only get worse once Jenke is executed and there is a huge electrical surge at McCarthy’s house.

Though it was originally titled House III: The Horror Show, and kept that title internationally, the MGM distributer dropped the “House III” and released in the US as “The Horror Show.” This was released around the same time as “Shocker” and “The First Power” and has similar themes: a murderer captured, tried, and executed comes back from beyond the grave and continues to murder. This time we have the talented Brion James as Max Jenke, Lance Hendriksen as Detective Lucas McCarthy, Thom Bray as parapsychologist, Peter Campbell, and Aron Eisenberg as Scott McCarthy.

So much violence and gore in this, that’s always a good thing. A creepy ass basement. All sorts of eager victims. It has it’s charm, but it doesn’t hold up quite as well. It really toes the line of being a “haunted house” movie, since the spirit is attached to the person, McCarthy, not the house itself.

This has been my least favorite of the franchise, but since it was technically removed from the franchise, that makes sense. As a stand alone, it’s not bad, I like other, similar, movies better.

House IV: The Reposession (1992)

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When Roger Cobb dies, his wife and daughter decide to move into his old family home and to restore it.

In this installment, the house is built on an ancient Native American magical well, and the house was a wedding gift to one of Roger’s antecedents with the agreement that they would never let it leave the family. However, Roger’s step brother, Burke, wants to sell the house to Mr. Grosso (an apt name for the character), so that Mr. Grosso can store toxic waste on the property.

So, I thought, when I saw William Katt credited as Roger Cobb, that this movie wrapped back around to the original. It doesn’t. The name “Roger Cobb” is intentional/incidental because the characters are completely different. The story is actually about the wife, Kelly, and to some extent, daughter, Laurel.

For the love of crazy choices! This was the freaking ’90’s not the 50’s! They had modern folding wheelchairs! The left out the cheesy creatures from the previous installments, and I rather missed them… with the exception of the pizza scene which was awesome.

Since this was a first time view, I think I need to give it a second chance. I didn’t dislike it, but I’m certain that I’d like it more after another viewing.

Overall, this is great franchise. They’re all different enough to be interesting, though the third installment doesn’t really fit with the rest of the films. I’m very glad I watched them. Maybe someday I’ll revisit and expand on these.

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