House (1986) - Steve Miner

I first watched this movie with my dad when I was like five or six. It scared me then but fails to do so now. Over time this movie hasn't held up as the horror movie heavyweight that I remembered it being. However, it still entertains and has some freaky moments. Also it has George Wendt from Cheers and Richard Moll from Night Court. It's pretty chock full of eighties television stars. 

The film is about Roger, a Vietnam veteran that's been in the shit and watched some close friends die. Not only that, but he has also recently lost a son and favorite Aunt. It is safe to say that this guy has been through a lot. When he moves into a haunted house, that tips him right over the edge.

I didn't really notice it before but now that I watch this movie it starts to dawn on me that Roger is suffering from a really intense case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. His PTSD manifests supernatural events to occur in his new home. Things move around. Dead people from his past return and haunt him. He has visions of short demons running amok. It all feels like a usual case of PTSD. Then Roger's new best friend Walter sees one of the horrors himself. He could have faked it, to appease his new pal.

I really like this movie. It has a very cool and classic feel. I have described it before as a haunted fun house. The movie is full of comedy and a good deal of terror. The effects are cheesy and so is the dialogue but it's still a classic. I recommend. I definitely recommend.

  • Like several horror films of the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s, one of the major themes of this film is the mental trauma of the Vietnam War that is re-lived and dreamt of by its protagonist. This can largely be attributed to the recognition of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association and an increased popular understanding throughout those decades of PTSD symptoms, e.g. nightmares, flashbacks, etc., as well as an increasing number of Vietnam veterans who committed suicide as a result of their wartime experiences. Thus in many ways, films like House reflect a change in national consciousness as war ceased being depicted as a glorious event and began to be seen as a harrowing and traumatic experience.
  • According to Fred Dekker, the script was originally inspired by Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983). After seeing that film, Dekker and his friends, which included Ethan Wiley, Steve Miner, and Shane Black, planned to make their own independent anthology movie on video. But the project was never completed. Dekker used the idea for his unproduced segment for this film.
  • Glenn Close and Sigourney Weaver were considered for the female lead role.