Open House Pt 5 (House: the Collection)

For a long time, it was hard to come by the films in this set, outside of the first two which were more well known. Until Arrow came along, a complete blu-ray set seemed an unlikely scenario.

House_Box_set

Each disc comes in its own case with reversible art, one side newly created artwork for the Arrow Releases and the other side the original poster or VHS art. I admit, my preference is to the original art.  The paintings are really nice, but the disembodied hand ring the doorbell is iconic.

The Box itself is sturdy, allowing for safe storage.

Each disc is loaded with extras, including bonus interviews, audio commentaries and all new documentaries for three of the films. I wish they had one for the third film. However, the Horror Show includes the American and European cuts in HD.

This is a good set, full of really good extras to let you immerse yourself in the history of each movie.

Open House pt 4 (House IV: The Repossession, 1992)

House_4_posterAfter the massive departure with the Horror Show (including abandoning the “House III”) Sean S. Cunningham worked with a new team to bring out House 4.

This film is an attempt to return to something closer to the first two films.  This film features the “return” of Roger Cobb, again played by William Katt. Cobb and his wife are being pressured by his step-brother to sell their old house.

Roger is killed an accident that also leaves his daughter wheelchair bound.  Roger’s wife Kelly wants to keep the house, but also senses a presence and sees visions.  Roger’s Step Brother is in league with a sleazy business man who is looking for a place to unload his toxic waste and they want the land on which the house sits.

The odd thing with this film is that it really does not connect to the original film at all.  In that film he was divorced and had a son. This film has a wife and daughter and it appears they have been happily married for over a decade.  There is really nothing that indicates there is any connections between the Roger Cobb of the first House and this film.

This one has an uneven feel.  There are a few instances where they aim for humor, but it still stays closer to a serious tone for most of the film.  And it moves at a slow pace. Having William Katt return as Cobb is just kind of confusing.

Overall, this film has a very early Fox TV movie feel (lie, the early days of Fox when they were trying anything to make it work…like the Omen IV). This never matches up to the heights of fun absurdity of the first two films, nor the gory seriousness of the third film, and it is just a bit lackluster.

Open House pt 1 (House, 1985)

House_1986_PosterSo, 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.

house_newspaper_adAs 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.

Fishies Pt 3 (Piranha, 1995)

piranha_1995_posterProbably the most interesting fact of the Piranha remake is that a twelve year old Mila Kunis plays the daughter of the Greatest American Hero.

In 1995, Roger Corman and Showtime started remaking Corman “Classics” like Not of This Earth and Humanoids From the Deep.

Piranha was part of this series and the worst thing about it?  It is not bad or good.  It is just there.  It exists.  It is a pretty straight remake, just with a different cast.

William Katt (The Greatest American Hero & House) and Alexandra Paul (Baywatch & Christine) head up the cast.  The film follows  the original beat for beat.

There is not much to say, the effects are updated (yet there are many effects shots from the original film used in place of shooting new footage).  But the film brings nothing new to the story and ends up being so close to the original, it feels pointless.

The Showtime films somehow managed to tame the source material, which ends up making them…well…toothless.  It lacks Dante’s flair and has no chance of unseating the original.  This explains why the film is largely forgotten.

Just one random observation of both the original and the remake.  Somehow, when people start getting attacked while on docks or in boats, they are unable to remove legs or arms from the water…people are even pulled from boats by the piranha.  Because they are super strong…I guess?

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑