Review: ‘House’

Filmmakers Sean S. Cunningham and Steve Miner scored hits with several simple Friday the 13th films but tackle a more complex story here with embarrassing results. Cornball script [from a story by Fred Dekker] posits Roger Cobb (William Katt) as a successful horror novelist who moves into the spooky house where he was raised following the suicide of his aunt, as he writes a book based on his war experience in Vietnam.

Filmmakers Sean S. Cunningham and Steve Miner scored hits with several simple Friday the 13th films but tackle a more complex story here with embarrassing results. Cornball script [from a story by Fred Dekker] posits Roger Cobb (William Katt) as a successful horror novelist who moves into the spooky house where he was raised following the suicide of his aunt, as he writes a book based on his war experience in Vietnam.

Cobb immediately experiences odd happenings which play as hallucinations, but which the audience is supposed to believe are real. His estranged TV actress wife Susan (Kay Lenz), shows up, apparently changes into a puffy monster and is killed by Cobb.

Though much of this nonsense is played tongue-in-cheek, an audience can hardly be expected to swallow the screenplay’s arbitrary approach to Cobb’s character. Compounding such credibility problems is a ludicrous subplot with Cobb’s neighbor, a wolf-whistle beauty, Tanya (Mary Stavin).

Cast cannot be faulted, especially lead Katt. The monsters are fake and rubbery, better suited to a comedy than a film in search of scares.

House

Production

New World. Dir Steve Miner; Producer Sean S. Cunningham; Screenplay Ethan Wiley; Camera Mac Ahlberg; Editor Michael N. Knue; Music Harry Manfredini Art Dir Gregg Fonseca

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1986. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

William Katt George Wendt Richard Moll Kay Lenz Mary Stavin Michael Ensign
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