Reviews | Written by Andrew Pollard 10/12/2017

HOUSE (1986)

For many longtime horror hounds, the House franchise is one that’s maybe often overlooked at times. Sure, there was no constant, unrelenting bogeyman churning out bodies consistently throughout the franchise ala Michael, Jason or Freddy, but there was still a whole host of fun and scares to be had with this series. And now, the fantastic crew over at Arrow Video have put together a new Blu-ray release of Steve Miner’s original 1986 picture.

For those of you who’ve yet to knock at House’s door, don’t be expecting an edge-of-your-seat terror-ride. Instead, House is a movie which keeps a tinge of humour to its horror. William Katt – who made a huge splash with genre fans in Brian De Palma’s Carrie – takes centre-stage as Roger, a novelist whose life has taken a major nosedive. Since the disappearance of his son, his marriage has come to an end and his creative juices have dried up. Following the suicide of his grandmother, Roger ends up moving in to her creepy old house in an effort to get his spark back and get to work on his next work: a look back at his military days hauntingly served in Vietnam. When it soon becomes clear that the mysterious house is full of plenty of things that go bump in the night, Roger sets out to prove that he’s not crazy and that there’s something sinister at play within the home’s walls and beyond.

Part haunted house story, part PTSD tale, part an examination of struggling with loss, House is a beloved favourite of many for a whole slew of reasons. With Bill Katt never less than charming and endearing at the centre of Steve Miner’s movie, you find yourself constantly engaged as Roger falls further and further in to a mystery full of twists and turns. Even better for longtime horror fans, there’s some absolutely fantastic practical effects work at play, even if one or two of them may now understandably look a tad dated by this point.

As a film, House is still as much of a warm, at times bonkers, family-friendly horror as it’s ever been. Where the release really comes in to its own, however, is with the excessive special features included here – particularly the brand-new Ding Dong, You’re Dead! all-encompassing documentary that brings all of the picture’s key players back to discuss their thoughts on the film. It’s a fascinating and hugely engaging watch, and is one of the best retrospective docs we’ve seen in a long while.

Additionally, in case you were wondering, yes, this is essentially the exact same release that was a part of House: The Complete Collection earlier this year. That release had all four House efforts together in one swanky boxset, and this new Blu-ray release of House is just the first film’s content from that boxset. That’s not particularly a bad thing, for this now gives those unwilling to splash £70 on the boxset the chance to grab the movies individually.

Complete with a 2K transfer of this 1986 effort, this new release of House is the perfect overall package for longtime fans of the film, while newcomers will never find a better opportunity to explore this genre classic.

Special Features: Audio commentary / Ding Dong, You’re Dead! The Making of House documentary / Making-of / TV spots / Trailers / Stills gallery / First draft screenplay and Fred Dekker’s original 15-page Twilight Zone-inspired story


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