So, in the early 80’s Sean S. Cunningham was working on expanding on his success with the Friday the 13th franchise. Teaming up with Fred Dekker (screenwriter and director of Night of the Creeps and the Monster Squad) and Ethan Wiley to make a haunted house film directed by Steve Miner (Director of Friday the 13th pt 2 and Halloween H20).
House tells the story of a popular horror writer who struggles with his post traumatic stress from his time in Vietnam. In addition, since the death of his son, his marriage has fallen apart. He decides to tackle his demons by writing a book about his time as a soldier. He inherits a house from his aunt who hung herself.
As he sets forth making the house his new home, he starts to deal with bizarre phenomenon…like monsters coming out of closets and a monster version of his ex-wife and visions of his dead son.
House is one of the more unique horror films of the mid-80’s. It is very intentionally meant to be fun. The monsters are fun old school practical, but the film never is all that scary. William Katt plays Roger Cobb serious, but with just a hint of a man wondering if he is caving in to absurdity. George Wendt (Norm from Cheers) is his neighbor Harold. Wendt is pretty open that back in 1985, his Cheers success kind of fed his ego to feel he was better than appearing in a horror film (Wendt looks back on this as foolishness on his part and feels the movie held up). This may have benefited his performance though, because he is really entertaining.
As noted, in spite of there being plenty of monsters, this film is tonally light. But it benefits the film. House is a lot of fun to watch, and overcomes any limitations of it’s budget to be a memorable time.
I love House! I don’t think anyone has ever done a horror film mixed in with wartime PTSD. Kind of an interesting concept where he’s fighting his internal demons while fighting… demons. The best part is Norm from Cheers is in it.