It is time for something lighter in tone than what we’ve been writing about this month. I’ve never been a big fan of House, but I found House 2 on Shudder a couple of years ago and was charmed by it.
Jesse (Arye Gross) inherits a mansion that turns out to have portals to alternate dimensions, including the time of the dinosaurs and the old west. He resurrects his great-great grandfather using a crystal skull and the house turns into a temple. Jess’s wacky buddy Charlie invites a bunch of people over for a Halloween party and some bad dancing happens, then a fight breaks out as assailants from across time converge on the house looking for the skull.
Cliff Claven shows up as an electrician who isn’t at all surprised about the dimension hopping, and joins in. Actually, I think he is my favorite part of the whole movie, both because Norm was in the first House and that seems to be why Cliff was cast, and because one of my favorite tropes is the character who is matter-of-fact about magical goings on. Hong Kong horror comedies are full of such characters, which explains a lot about my love for them. A close second favorite part is the little dog/glowworm toy creature that Jesse acquires. I want one.
Whereas House is a horror movie with humorous elements, House 2 is a comedy with horror elements such as zombies who don’t eat people. I remember Arye Gross best as a friend character in Soul Man and Ellen, but he carries this movie well. His buddy you may recognize as the vampire’s assistant in Fright Night. Amy Yasbeck, Royal Dano, and the chick who played Carrie in Jason Vs. Carrie round out the cast, and speaking of Jason, Kane Hodder was the stunt director and also plays a gorilla. Ed Wood player Gregory Wolcott is the sheriff from our original dimension who shows up at the end when the wild west gunfight spills over into 1987. The effects aren’t bad, and I was particularly enamored with the stop motion zombie horse.
In Italy, because you knew I was somehow going to bring this around to Italian movies, this is known as La Casa 6, which was part of the fake series of unrelated movies that distributor Joe D’Amato pretended were all sequels to The Evil Dead. Ghosthouse is part of that series, and I actually like that movie even more than either this or The Evil Dead. I should be happy that my house doesn’t have portals to other dimensions, but the truth is I wouldn’t really mind it.
Let’s talk about all the amazing horror movies and horror comedies that came out in 1987, which explains how I missed seeing this for 30 years because it must have gotten lost in the shuffle. The Lost Boys, Hellraiser, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Prince of Darkness, Near Dark, My Best Friend is a Vampire, The Video Dead, Creepshow 2, and Psychos in Love came out in 1987 along with many others. It was the last amazing year of horror before the genre made a downturn until about 1996.