House (October 15/01)
House takes the old haunted house story and puts a comedic spin on it, mostly to unimpressive results.
William Katt stars as a writer who once had a successful horror novel, and has since been riding the tide of that success. He decides it's finally time to follow up that book with a more introspective and personal story about his time in Vietnam. He moves into his recently-departed grandmothers gigantic house, where some strange stuff starts to happen.
The real problem with House is the complete lack of scares. Since the entire flick takes place in this haunted abode, not much happens aside from Katt's increasingly bizarre visions. Occasionally, his next door neighbor (played by George "Norm" Wendt, of all people) will pop by, but really, this is the story of a man and his house. It doesn't take long before a pattern emerges: Katt sees something weird and crazy, gets excited about it, and attempts to take action. This happens over and over until finally Katt's daydreams about Vietnam (which are also quite useless and cheesy) start coming to life, with a soldier whose death he was partially responsible for comes back to haunt him (played by Night Court's Richard "Bull" Moll!)
There are some impressive special effects sequences, but we're never really given a reason to care. Katt basically goes off the deep end immediately and becomes more and more affected by his past experiences in the war - most of these scenes don't initially make much sense, but by the time the end rolls around (and Shannon shows up in full skeleton regalia), the pieces have been put into place. But really, what it all comes down to is the fact that House is merely Katt being scared by the various elements in this haunted house. This is another problem: The death count is virtually nil. Katt imagines he kills someone at one point, but that's about it. And for a so-called horror movie, that's not good. We need gore and we need lots of it. A guy running around in a monster suit isn't enough to sustain a full-length horror flick (but then again, this is a cult film, so what do I know?)