House II: The Second Story begins with a couple having their baby taken away, followed by a weird Wild West-type guy who wants a fancy glowing skull, and he’s prepared to kill for it!
Fast-forward to the then-present day (1987) and Jesse (Arye Gross) tells how his great-great-grandfather, also called Jesse (and who is that Wild West-type guy), fell out with a friend over the cranium, but that there’s one with jewels in the eyes will bring eternal life to whoever possesses it.
Now, as we learned in the first film, the House series is nothing without a family reunion, and so enter Jesse *Very* Sr, aka Gramps (Royal Dano), which begins rather disappointingly as a typical ‘fish out of water’ story, since Gramps is a self-confessed “170-year-old fart”, and the frat party making it look like Weekend At Bernie’s, as Gramps looks the ultimate in cosplay. However, thanks to a very Weird WWE-style bloke coming back to collect the glowing skull, everything takes a sharp turn for the better, with an adventure for Jesse and his friend, Charlie (Jonathan Stark) that includes dinosaurs, John Ratzenberger as a myopic builder (following on from House‘s George Wendt), plus Devin DeVasquez, who played Billy Warlock’s girlfriend, Clarissa in Brian Yuzna’s amazing Society!
So House II feels rather a damp squib for the first 30 minutes, but then goes completely ridiculous and turns into quite a hoot, and nothing like what I was expecting! Comparing the two initial films in this series, the first one feels more for ‘creature feature’ and this one’s even more of a comedy. none of it made any sense, but I actually enjoyed it more than the first one as it’s played more for laughs!
The film is presented in the original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition, and while it’s not perfect early on, it does clear up, and look pretty damn good.
The audio options include a new DTS HD-MA 5.1 soundtrack, but feels a bit all over the place, with it having the effect as if a speaker’s come back into life after being broken for the last 30 minutes.
The extras are as follows and start off with a another big one:
- It’s Getting Weirder: The Making of House II (57:38): A new documentary with writer/director Ethan Wiley, producer Sean S Cunningham, plus Ayre Gross, Jonathan Stark and others. Like the first disc’s ‘making of’, this is also around 2/3 of the length of the movie, and another must-watch for big fans. Again, there’s no subtitles, nor chapters.
- Vintage EPK (14:38): A ‘making of’ from back in the day, mixing clips from the film with chat from the cast and crew.
- Stills Gallery (6:14): Pics aplenty with one approx every five seconds.
- Trailer (1:24): In 16:9, it shows a lot from the film, but in no particular order.
- TV spot (0:33): And a shorter version, in 4:3.
- Audio Commentary: with producer Sean S Cunningham and the original’s writer, who’s now also directing, Ethan Wiley.
And while I just received a check disc for this movie, the one you buy will also include a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn.
The main menu features a short piece of the score set to clips from the film, there’s a bog-standard 12 chapters and subtitles are in English.
Running time: 95 mins
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: December 11th 2017
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio
Widescreen: 1.85:1 (35 mm)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Ethan Wiley
Producer: Sean S Cunningham
Screenplay: Ethan Wiley (inspired by an original story by Fred Dekker)
Music: Harry Manfredini
Jesse: Arye Gross
Charlie: Jonathan Stark
Gramps: Royal Dano
John: Bill Maher
Bill: John Ratzenberger
Kate: Lar Park-Lincoln
Lana: Amy Yasbeck
Sheriff: Gregory Walcott
Clarence: Dwier Brown
Judith: Lenora May
Virgin: Devin DeVasquez
Rochelle: Jayne Modean
Slim: Dean Cleverdon
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.