House was one of the movies we used to speak about in hushed tones during middle school lunch. To us 6-8th graders, it was a hard core horror film. I remember talking specifically about the flying demon skeleton inside the mirror who spins a shotgun in his bony hand before firing it. I also remember talking about the visible rib cage in the Big Ben ghost.

When I came back to House years later, I discovered that it wasn’t a straight horror. Yes, it had some horrific elements. Heck, it had a prestigious horror pedigree, being produced by Sean S. Cunningham, executive produced by Roger Corman, directed by Steve Miner, and scored by Harry Manfredini. It also had a pretty horrific move poster.

Some posters had the tagline "Ding Dong, You're Dead"

Some posters had the tagline “Ding Dong, You’re Dead”

But there is still a lot of humor in the movie as well. From Roger Cobb/William Katt’s obsessive fans to the obese monster he chops into pieces to the very presence of Norm from Cheers. It’s not completely humorous, but it is not completely horror, either.

The sequel, House 2, was even more comedic. Billed as “The Second Story” (house, story, get it?), it has much of the same pedigree, with Cunningham and Manfredini returning, and it also has Kane Hodder (who is listed on IMDB as “gorilla”). But it doesn’t have any relation to the first film. The cast is completely different, as is the house and the plot. But it had a similar poster and a really great comic book ad, not to mention a comic book of its own.

Other versions of this poster have the hand showing two fingers, a la the ghost in Ghostbusters 2.

Other versions of this poster have the hand showing two fingers, a la the ghost in Ghostbusters 2.

House 2

Then there was House 3. We probably know this one (if we know it at all) as The Horror Show, but it too has Cunningham and Manfredini and was apparently called House 3 in some countries.
Finally, there was House 4. I just learned about this one, and have never seen it, but it at least brings Cobb/Katt back (maybe just for a little while; it looks like he gets killed early on).

I’ve just watched House and House 2 on Netflix Instant, and to be honest, they weren’t as awesome as I remembered. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t as hardcore as a middle school me thought they were. Still, we talked about them in those hushed tones back then, and once something is talked about in hushed tones, it gains a certain credence that reality just can’t take away.

Behind The Scenes Photo from the Horror Classic “House” (1986)

A heap of thanks to Quint over at Ain’t It Cool News for this wonderful photo of make-up effects legend, Shannon Shea (House, Predator, Monster Squad, Alien Nation…He has a long list of credits), working on Big Ben (Voiced by Richard Moll when he shows up in skeletal form and played by Curt Wilmont.) on the set of Steve Miner’s 1986 cult classic House.

Quint was also kind enough to point the way to Shannon’s own blog site, First Person Monster Blog! Make sure to jump over to that link because there is a ton of interesting stories to be read and some great photos to boot. Like the pic below, the prop novels from William Katt’s character, Roger Cobb that Shannon still owns to this day!

Thanks to ShockCinemaify for uploading this home video trailer on YouTube!

60’s Time Capsule Home Puts Mad Men Set to Shame

In 1964, an Australian woman moved into a brand new home. She decorated it, bought some swingin’ new furniture, and aside from replacing some broken appliances with newer models, hasn’t touched a thing since. Result: Coolest grandma’s house EVAH.

Yowza. Proof once more that the retro enthusiast should be thankful for the cheapskates and the stubborn of the world.

Even better: It’s for sale. Who wants to take up a collection for the new Retroist HQ down under?

Check out the full slideshow at the Daily Telegraph, including some awesome then/now shots.