Classics of the Corn: House (1986)

“This house knows everything about you. Leave while you can!”

Roger Cobb (William Katt) has experienced plenty of horrors in his life. He’s a Vietnam War veteran whose son has disappeared and whose favorite aunt has recently committed suicide.

(Image via Collectors Connect)
(Image via Collectors Connect)

Despite these troubles, Roger has chosen quite the morbid career: writing horror novels.

It’s been a year since his last book was published, and his editor is putting pressure on him to churn a new one out. But having recently divorced from his wife (Kay Lenz) on top of all of those other personal troubles, he finds himself unable to write.

Instead of a horror novel, Roger decides to write about his experiences in Vietnam. He hopes this will serve as a form of therapy, relieving him of one of his emotional traumas.

After his aunt’s funeral, Roger decides to move into her house instead of selling it. He spent a lot of his childhood there, and has memories of being there with his aunt. But it’s also the house where he and his son were staying when his son disappeared.

When he moves in, he begins experiencing strange things, including nightmares and encounters with odd creatures.

House (1986) was directed by Steve Miner. The screenplay was written by Ethan Wiley from a story by Fred Dekker.

House has been on my Netflix queue for a very long time. I kept putting it off in favor of other horror flicks that I though would be more thrilling or more cheesy. But I finally decided to give it a watch one afternoon in June, and boy am I glad that I finally got around to this one!

(Image via '80s Fear)
(Image via ’80s Fear)

Much of the corn in this film comes from the dialogue, and the script seems to have been written with intentional hilarity. The filmmakers are laughing with us this time around.

The cast may be laughing with us too, because William Katt’s facial expressions are golden. Along with on-screen neighbor George Wendt, he makes the film a heck of a lot of fun to watch. Their characters, Roger and Harold, are a horror-comedy dream team: the paranoid haunted house-dweller and the oblivious neighbor. Roger dresses up in army gear and sets up every camera he can buy within a 25 mile radius in order to catch a photo of a monster, and Harold is the type of neighbor who will walk right into your house at midnight, unannounced, with food. Needless to say, they get into some hijinks.

(Sidenote: Speaking of those cameras, it’s really fun to see all of the old technology in this film. Cameras that use actual FILM – pause for collective gasp – and Roger’s beast of a computer.)

Speaking of William Katt, it’s fun to see him in a horror flick where he actually gets the majority of the lines. Before I knew his name, I knew him for years as “Giggles” thanks to his role in Carrie, where he says only a few words and spends most of his time chuckling. He’s the perfect Roger Cobb*, delivering just the right amount of camp.

*What an appropriate last name for a character in a Classic of the CORN. Badum-tsk!

Even the music selection brings the corn here. As far as I can remember, only two songs are played: “You’re No Good” and “Dedicated to the One I Love.” Brilliant choices, especially since they’re played while Roger is killing and burying Mutant Sandy*.

*Mutant Sandy is one of the film’s monsters, who morphs from Roger’s ex-wife, Sandy.

House delivers quite a few laughs and a couple of little jumps as well. It’s a really fun watch full of a wide variety of monsters. Big Ben is my new favorite movie monster, a revenge-obsessed zombie who delivers a lot of great one-liners. And speaking of monsters*…

*By monster, I mean anything that scares, taunts or attacks Roger.

“MONSTER” COUNT: 15

THE “MONSTER” MASTER LIST:

  • Ghost aunt
  • Ghost son
  • Tree branch/root guy:
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
  • The toy car that moves on its own
  • The wall-mounted fish that comes back to life
  • Four flying garden tools
  • Mutant Sandy:
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
  • Two demented hobbits
  • The spine-like snake that wraps around Roger’s arm
  • The skeleton-bat:
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
  • Big Ben:
"You're pissin' me off, Roger." - Big Ben (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
“You’re pissin’ me off, Roger.” – Big Ben (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

The Classics of the Corn series has been in a bit of a slump as I’ve struggled to find films that are corny and fun enough to fit the bill. (Good-bad instead of just bad-bad.) House has definitely remedied that problem. If you’re craving a corn cob, this is not a film to miss.

10 thoughts on “Classics of the Corn: House (1986)

  1. Whoa, whoa, whoa…you’re STRUGGLING to find bad films that are fun? How long of a list from me do you want? Just say the word!

    Believe it or not, I’ve never seen this one, but you make it sound like fun, so if my library has it, I’ll grab it!

    Like

  2. This is one of the first horror films I ever saw (aged about 11 or 12 I think), just after my parents bought a VHS player; I think the whole ‘certificates’ thing passed them by! I remember being terrified by it but having read your review I presume I’d be laughing through it today!

    Like

    1. It would definitely give you some laughs now, but I can see how it would scare a kid! I was scared of a lot of movies as a kid that don’t spook me now – the first time I saw Halloween I hid behind my sister and screamed a lot, haha.

      Like

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