Open House Pt 2 (House II: the Second Story, 1986)

House_2_PosterJesse has inherited his ancestral home and finds himself drawn to the history of the structure.  His girlfriend works for a sleazy music executive and so his friend Charlie arrives with his girlfriend, the singer in a band to try and get her career a boost.

Jesse discovers that his great great grandfather (for whom he is named) may have been buried with a great treasure…he and Charlie decide to go to the graveyard nearby and exhume his grandfather.  When they find the  treasure, it is a crystal skull…but that is not all… great great grand dad is still alive. They bring him back, and it turns out that the elder Jesse is a kindly old cowboy who explains that the house is a unique nexus of time and space.  But they must protect the skull as evil seeks it out for evil’s own gain.

Each room can lead to another time and place, fraught with excitement and danger. And it is this premise that makes House II stand apart from the first film.

Rather than follow Cobb on another tale in the house, they opted to tell a stand alone tale in an all new house. The tagline was “It’s Getting Weirder” and boy how… the premise is really more of a sci-fi fantasy adventure with little horror elements. Heck the film features Jesse and Charlie acquiring a weird but cute Caterpuppy and a prehistoric baby bird.

The cast of characters are a lot of fun, especially Royal Dano as Gramps (who even gets an emotional moment when he realizes he looks more corpse than living man) and a real highlight in John Ratzenberger as Bill Tanner. The second Cheers alum in the franchise was a coincidence…but frankly it would have been a hilarious conceit to continue the trend.

The film did not do very well upon release, but found new life on TV as it was PG-13 and could actually be played virtually uncut.  And the fact is, this movie is just a lot of fun. It may not be much of a horror movie, but it is funny and exciting.

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