House opens with Aunt Elizabeth (Susan French), who’s having a swinging time in the bedroom…
Since she’s twisting in the wind, as she’s dangling by her neck, enter nephew Roger Cobb (Big Wednesday‘s William Katt), an author who’s writing a book about his personal experiences in Vietnam, who extolls to his manager at a book-signing, when he’s being surrounded by wacky indivuduals…
- Roger: “Who are these lunatics, Frank?”
Frank: “Your most devoted fans(!)”
Cobb is a man who eats as many crappy ready meals as I do, but soon moves in to the house and more weird stuff starts happening, such as seeing a young child swimming in the pool, who disappears soon after, which turns out to be his son who passed away. All the while, plinky plonky spooky music occurs all around…
Add in some George Wendt (NORM!) as the neighbour, a harpoon gun stunt which looks like a health and safety nightmare, plus other bizarre happenings including ghastly goings on inside the closet, pointing out some pretty neat creature effects including that Billy Bass fish on the wall, and many more which are great, especially given that CGI wasn’t an option in 1985. Also, I’m sure neighbour Tanya’s voice dubbed, plus there’s an incident involving a shotgun, but there’s no blood splatter?
The ending is utter nonsense, too, but then as for all of it in general… 😉
The film is presented in the original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition, and it’s not too brilliant, but it’s okay and it’s as good as we’re going to get for a 35mm film print which isn’t in a position to look perfect, all this time on.
The audio options include a new DTS HD-MA 5.1 soundtrack, but in this, the dialogue occasionally movied around the speakers a bit, but then it is an old movie with a low budget. Still, it felt like an odd thing to hear, as if no-one had fully checked the remix.
The extras are as follows and start off with a big one:
- Ding Dong! You’re Dead! (66:39): A making-of that’s 2/3 the length of the movie, and features director Steve Miner, producer Sean S Cunningham, writer Ethan Wiley, plus William Katt and George Wendt (NORM!) all talking about how the film came about, with one commenting “It was back in the days when they gave you the money to make movies and you did whatever the hell you wanted to do!”
It’s a shame this isn’t subtitled nor chaptered, though.
- Archive making-of featurette (24:07): Add this to the previous one and you pretty much have the movie’s running time. I also love these old ones as they won’t appear anywhere else any time soon.
- Still Gallery (6:54): A ton of pics set to the theme. No chapters, so you can’t move on individually. There’s a new one every couple of seconds, though.
- Trailers: Two of them – (0:59) and (1:28). Remember short trailers? They seem like a distant memory.
- Teaser (1:27): Not quite a trailer, this shows ’80s-style VHS quality footage. Ah, the memories… Seriously, I love stuff like this as it’ll never see the light of day elsewhere.
- TV spots (1:31): 3 of them over 90+ seconds. These are shortened trailers for TV.
- BD-ROM Content: First Draft Screenplay and Fred Dekker‘s original 15-page Twilight Zone-inspired story which served as the basis for House.
- Audio Commentary: William Katt with the aforementioned writer, director and producer.
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, but deaf subtitlers are out and about in force. 46 minutes in, “Oh Sandy, it can’t be you” becomes “No one will see in here. It can’t be you”.
Running time: 93 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: Steve Miner
Producer: Sean S Cunningham
Screenplayer: Ethan Wiley
Music: Harry Manfredini
Roger Cobb: William Katt
Harold Gorton: George Wendt
Big Ben: Richard Moll
Sandy Sinclair: Kay Lenz
Tanya: Mary Stavin
Chet Parker: Michael Ensign
Jimmy: Erik Silver
Aunt Elizabeth: Susan French
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.