HOUSE (1986) will always have a special place in my heart. Sitting alone in my living room, I watched it (on HBO or Showtime of the Movie Channel) as part of a late-night double feature with FRIGHT NIGHT (which I’ll be watching again in the next few weeks). It has forever been branded in my mind as part of one of my favorite movie watching experiences of all time.
With its gloomy music, somber initial pacing, and creepy set-up, HOUSE starts out as a pretty straightforward haunted house flick. But the tone quickly changes and the spectral happenings start to get more and more wild as the movie progresses. We go from ghostly figures to monsters in the closet to ghoulish trolls to flying gardening tools to alternate dimensions… and I’m along for that ride.
The movie has some genuine scares and some really great laugh out loud moments. And some of the musical tricks are inspired. (My personal favorite is the cut from a scene of ghoulish mayhem to a shot of Roger digging numerous graves in the back yard while “Dedicated to the One I Love” plays.
I love a good, old-fashioned haunted house movie. And, if that’s what you want, HOUSE isn’t the choice. But I LOVE the wild, chaotic, anything-can-happen-and-we’re-not-gonna-waste-time-explaining antics of HOUSE.
The best haunted house movie around? No.
The best haunted funhouse movie around? Probably so.
I’d suggest checking out SHOCK SHOP if you like horror stories of ghoulish monsters, bloody happenings, and fun. This book will give you a double dose. Of the two stories in the book, “Familiars” is likely the closest in terms of tone.