Episode XXXV: House (with its writer Ethan Wiley!)

house

Hear House writer Ethan Wiley on the podcast to this episode

By: Bo from Last Blog on the Left

Film: House (1986)
Rated: R
Directed by: Steve Miner
Written by: Fred Dekker and Ethan Wiley
Starring: William Katt as Roger Cobb
                   George Wendt as
                   Richard Moll as Big Ben
                   Kay Lenz as Sandy Sinclair
Tagline: Horror has found a new home.

Pre-Screening Memories: To be fair, I loved the movie House as a kid.  Really loved it.  Despite the R rating it carried, it was a movie that was harmless enough to keep the parents from fretting, and it contained enough gore and strangeness to keep a newly crowned teenager coming back for more.  My memories of the film were faint, but not too obscured by time to feel as distant as, say, Explorers.  I still think trauma may have had something to do with that one.

 So, House is the story of Roger Cobb, a horror novelist who moves into his aunt’s home after her death.  The house is filed with memories, both of Roger’s youth with his aunt and the disappearance of Roger’s son.  Roger recalls seeing the young tyke in the pool, but, after jumping in after the kid, finds himself alone in the pool.  Much like a werewolf bar mitzvah, that is both spooky and scary.

 

Roger finds himself alone in the house, separated from soap opera actress/wife Sandy Sinclair (Kay Lenz), devoted to the idea that he is finally going to write his Vietnam memoirs.  Unfortunately, Roger is beset by odd neighbors, including Harold (George Wendt from Cheers), and some poltergeists, one of which is quite scratchy and lives in the closet.  Metaphor, anyone?  Seriously, though, the house comes at Roger from some odd angles.  The missing kid showing up in the window’s reflection, a troll-like version of his wife, and the phantom of his dead aunt, warning him about the house’s attempts to trick Roger.

 

Ultimately, the movie marries the threads of Roger’s Vietnam memories and his missing son, culminating in a showdown between a zombified war buddy and Roger.  I remember reading a review of this movie in a rag called The Horror Show from my youth which ended with the line (and I’m certainly paraphrasing from memory), “The film ends, perhaps not in as satisfying a manner as one would like, but, like all nightmares, it does end.”  I think that’s about right.  The problem I’ve found with almost all ‘haunted house’ movies is that, once you establish the creepiness of the haunting, how do you end it?  Do you personify the house in a single entity like in House or do you go all psychological like The Haunting?  I don’t know the answer to that, but I think it’s an appropriate question.

 

New Memories: Upon viewing this movie as an adult, I couldn’t bring myself to dislike it.  There are some goofy effects, some jokes that fall flat, some moments when the tone doesn’t quite jive, but I couldn’t hate it.  House is the cinematic equivalent of a puppy for a horror fan.  It just wants to please you soooo much, and it often succeeds, but it’s the effort that counts.  The story, by and large, makes sense, and I really like television’s The Greatest American Hero, William Katt, in this one.  I think he gives a pretty fun performance, if not always a consistent one.  It was an important film for me as a burgeoning horror fan, understanding the delicate balance between horror and comedy.  I have now seen House twice since my reintroduction to the movie, and it has been a wholly satisfying experience.   It does my heart good to hear that a new generation has discovered this movie, this strange movie.  Much like Big Ben, it won’t lay down and die, and I, for one, am happy to hear it.

 

wiseacrefilmsEthan Wiley makes a return to the House with Bo and Rob and recalls some fascinating tales from his years in the business, from sweeping floors at Industrial Light and Magic, to his puppeteering prowess in Gremlins and the mad skills of John Ratzenberger. Check out Ethan’s site as well, Wiseacre Films, for news on his current projects.

 

A big ‘thanks’ to Ethan for his contribution to this episode! You can hear it all here, or scroll down just a little bit:

submit to reddit
Digg!
href=’http://www.blogs.com’>Find the best blogs at Blogs.com.

Advertisements

5 Comments

  1. Interesting post!! Hope to come back again soon,,

  2. Thanks for this really interesting podcast. This gave great insight into the first two HOUSE movies. Fantastic! Best wishes from Germany.

    • Mr. Wiley is a fascinating guy, no question about it. Now if we can only get Fred Dekker, too…

  3. Happy New Year everyone!

    I have recently watched House during the holidays and loved it….pure 80s gold. Nice post, and the podcast is interesting too.

    Oh, btw, when will you post the the podcast with Jeffrey Bloom, the director of Flowers in the Attic? He informed me of this and I have been waiting for it for a month. Please please post it!! I am dying to hear it!

    • Thanks, Constantine, and Happy New Year to you as well.

      House is one of those of-the-era horror films that still holds up well today.

      Hang tight for that Flowers in the Attic, it’s on its way. The podcast is completed, just getting the post ready. Holidays and such have set us back a bit. Trust us, there’s a great lineup coming up.


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Now Flixster Certified!

  • BEETLEJUICE with GLENN SHADIX

  • LIONHEART with HARRISON PAGE

  • CLUE with director JONATHAN LYNN

  • NIGHTBREED with co-star SIMON BAMFORD

  • POPCORN with star DEREK RYDALL

  • CADDYSHACK with co-star CINDY MORGAN

  • THE WRAITH with co-star CHRIS NASH

  • THE LONELY LADY with co-star JARED MARTIN

  • darkcrystalsmall

    THE DARK CRYSTAL with puppeteer DAVE BARCLAY

  • mischiefsmall

    MISCHIEF with stars DOUG McKEON and CATHERINE MARY STEWART

  • christinesmall

    CHRISTINE with ALEXANDRA PAUL

  • rockulasmall

    ROCKULA with writer/director LUCA BERCOVICI

  • justonesmall

    JUST ONE OF THE GUYS with STU CHARNO

  • buffysmall

    BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER with producer DENNIS MURPHY, fx artist HANK CARLSON

  • tremorssmall

    TREMORS with co-star CHARLOTTE STEWART

  • 3oclocksmall

    THREE O'CLOCK HIGH REUNION with co-stars CAITLIN O'HEANEY, SCOTT TILER and LIZA MORROW

  • visionquestsmall

    VISION QUEST with author TERRY DAVIS

  • westwordlsmall

    WESTWORD with co-star JARED MARTIN

  • SKI PATROL with star Roger Rose

    skipatrolmini
  • BEAT STREET with Ralph Rolle

    beatstreet
  • NIGHT OF THE COMET with Kelli Maroney

    nightofcomet
  • Support Natsukashi: Visit 80s Tees

  • RAD with its star Bill Allen

    radsmall
  • HOUSE with its writer Ethan Wiley

    housesmall
  • THE TERROR WITHIN with its fx artist Bruce Barlow

    terrorwithinsmall
  • HARLEY DAVIDSON and the MARLBORO MAN with actor Jordan Lund

    harleysmall
  • TROLL with fx artist Jim Aupperle

    trollsmall
  • AMERICAN GRAFFITI with ‘Kip Pullman’

    americangraffiti

  • THE BLACK HOLE

    balckholesmall
  • RETURN FROM WITCH MOUNTAIN

    witchmountainsmall
  • THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER

    muppetcapersmall
  • BABY: SECRET of the LOST LEGEND

    babysmall
  • SWAMP THING

    swampthingsmall
  • NIGHT OF THE DEMONS

    nightofdemons
  • THE GIANT of MARATHON

    giantmarathonsmall
  • wordpress
counter