House (1986)

We have little to no control over where and when horror finds us. The horror in our past is hard to overcome. Sometimes I think back to the scariest moments of my life and I can hardly imagine how I got through them and I’m just an ordinary guy. There are people who go through hell on Earth just to live another day and they have that burned into their memory forever. I can’t imagine being a soldier in a war where I was in real danger. I never saw a dead person outside of a funeral. Still, I can understand the true horror of trying to live today with the memories of true horror. The emotional baggage we carry around can be more terrifying than any ghost story. Of course, this movie is a ghost story too.

Thankfully, even with the heavy subject matter, there’s a lot of humor in this movie. It’s an interesting style of humor too. It’s quirky and light sometimes when the mood should be heavy or scary. Sometimes it actually makes the moment scarier in a very surreal way. The people in the story don’t act exactly as they should and while it’s sort of funny, it gave me sort of an alien feeling as well. Of course, there were was plenty of funny stuff too. I was reminded of a mix of movies like Airplane and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. It’s a strange kind of humor that mixes reality with unreality almost seamlessly.

The movie gradually gets weirder as it goes on. It starts off quirky with a side of strange but slowly the horror elements start to take over. We’re dealing with ghosts in this one but they’re some of the most crafty ghosts I’ve ever seen. Like the ghosts in the Shining, the house knows about every single moment of the main character’s life. Also, the ghosts actively mess with the character’s mind, a mind of a vietnam vet. He’s also a writer and I know from experience how much a vivid imagination can mess with your mind all on its own. The movie spends much of its time bouncing between vivid flashbacks and hauntings in the present. The sometimes jarring transitions help you get into the head of somebody who’s not quite well but seems oddly at ease with being in that condition.

William Katt stars as Roger Cobb, a horror writer in a horror movie a cliche that Stephen King practically invented. He has just the right energy to pull the character off without getting too corny or too heavy. He’s joined by George Wendt who plays Roger’s pushy next door neighbor Harold who seems to have forgotten a lot about human tact. Cobb is haunted by his past and strange creatures who are hard to explain. It becomes clear that Cobb is a man with issues. Issues that go beyond being haunted by ghosts and he goes against obstacles that are hard to explain without spoiling the movie.

I don’t want to spoil the movie. It’s a weird little thing as the director, Steve Miner, was fresh off of Friday the 13th parts II and III. The idea for it came from Fred Dekker who wrote Monster Squad but it was fleshed out by first time screenwriter Ethan Wiley. Apparently all three of them were best friends inspired by Twilight Zone: The Movie and it definitely shows. The movie paces out similar to horror anthology segments like Twilight Zone or Tales from the Crypt. I would suggest you check this movie out if you’re into an offbeat horror movie that’s as funny as it is weird.

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