Fear Made Real – House (1986)

Roger is a man haunted by his past, the death of his aunt and by the strange disappearance of his son. His wife has left him and instead of writing a new book that will sell easily like his last horror novel, he has instead decided to write about his time in the Vietnam War. Staying in his aunt’s house, Roger is not having an easy time of it, especially due to the weird happenings that are taking place including the awful creatures who keep showing up and his extremely nosy neighbour who cannot seem to stay out of Rogers business. Soon Roger has to face his fears head on house-9and it may end up being too much for him.

Directed by Steve Miner, House is a pretty standard example of 1980s horror – that being one part fright, one part cheese and two parts drama. That does not mean it is a bad film or even a clichéd one, it simply means that there is nothing that really sets it apart from any other number of horror movies to come out in that decade that would feature many of the same elements. The one thing that does stand as a testament to its endurance as a classic where others might have failed is the fact that it sported some great special effects in regards to the creatures and additionally, that it managed to generate three sequels, though none would be as good as this original film. At first the picture starts off a little slow, though introductions to Roger as played by William Kattt and his world is essential, but it soon picks up as he finds himself with a bit of writer’s block and unable to focus on anything except for bad dreams and even worse memories. The monsters that haunt Roger are inventive and extremely well done, as house-12gruesome as anything you might find in a Sam Raimi film, yet the real horror comes from Katt – his time during the war and the loss of his child.

Katt does a solid job as Roger and it is understandable that he would have a bit of post-traumatic stress disorder due to what he experience during the war. Adding to that is the very mysterious disappearance of his child and then the cryptic message from his aunt, of how she was tricked, her eventual death and it is easy to see why Roger is a little withdrawn. Though the movie is not particularly ridiculous in any sort of way, there is a slight attempt at humour every now and then and it does not exactly work as well as it maybe should have and thus, that little bit of cheese. Katt still manages to make it a believable performance nonetheless and it is easy to get immersed in the movie due to his performance.

With some truly terrifying creatures, a descent into what could only be some sort of hell and a fair amount of action, not to mention the film also stars George Wendt of all people, it is easy to see why House has become such a classic. One has to wonder though, that given the ending of the film, how did three sequels come about?

3.5 out of 5

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