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House Reviews

A surprise hit early in 1986, HOUSE is an ineptly structured effort that tries to combine both scares and laughs, succeeding at neither. Katt is a successful Stephen King-like horror novelist suffering from writer's block brought on by a recent divorce from TV actress Lenz and the disappearance of their son, played by twins Erik and Marc Silver). Although urged by his agent to crank out another novel, Katt instead concentrates on writing about his experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam War. After the mysterious suicide of his rather-eccentric aunt, Katt decides to move into her huge Victorian house in search of solitude but finds that the place is a gateway to another dimension, with all manner of special-effects spooks and monsters popping out. There are about six films going on at once in HOUSE--monster, haunted-house, comedy, traumatic-divorce, search-for-a-missing-child, and Vietnam War--and noe of them works. The plotlines are mixed together so haphazardly that little here makes any sense. It seems as if screenwriter Wiley and director Miner made this film up as they went along and never went back to check whether the preceding footage shot would match the brainstorm they just had. There is no logic to the strange things that happen in the house, not even the warped logic found in horror films. Of course, horror films aren't logical when compared with normal life, but they do (and must) maintain a concrete logic within the context of the fantastic story line. HOUSE doesn't do this, and the film suffers because of it. Suspense is lost because at from moment to moment all the rules in this film change, so it's pointless to try to anticipate what will happen next. Despite the special effects (which are mediocre--all the monsters look like silly, overstuffed rubber toys) and bizarre images, the film becomes dull and dragged out. A sequel, HOUSE II: THE SECOND STORY, was released in 1987.