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House (1986)

R  |   |  Comedy, Fantasy, Horror  |  28 February 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 16,187 users  
Reviews: 116 user | 72 critic

A troubled writer moves into a haunted house after inheriting it from his aunt.



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Title: House (1986)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Stavin ...
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Cop #3
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Roger Cobb is a Vietnam vet whose career as a horror novelist has taken a turn for the worse when his son Jimmy mysteriously disappears while visiting his aunt's house. Roger's search for Jimmy destroys his marriage and his writing career. The sudden death of his aunt brings Roger back to the house where his nightmares began. The evil zombies in the house force Roger to endure a harrowing journey into his past. Written by Arthur de Boom <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You are cordially invited to spend an evening with Roger Cobb and his friends. Don't come alone! See more »


Comedy | Fantasy | Horror


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

28 February 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

House: Ding Dong, You're Dead  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)


$19,445,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Glenn Close and Sigourney Weaver were considered for the female lead role. See more »


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[first lines]
Grocery Boy: Mrs. Hooper?
See more »


Referenced in Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape (2010) See more »


You're No Good
by Clint Ballard Jr.
See more »

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User Reviews

Make yourself at home.
28 January 2009 | by (the Mad Hatter's tea party.) – See all my reviews

A true product of the 80s, but does that mean its anything less or far more… I don't know but I had trouble not getting caught up in its irresistibly off-kilter charm and patchwork ideas. I truly have a soft spot for it. Yeah it's a mess, a clueless and incoherent one. However it's goofy nature, vivid visual effects and willing performances lend very well to a competent looking production… yeah so what if those Vietnam flashbacks looked hokey and it's origins are cheap. This was the third film under the belt of director Steve Miner, who a couple years earlier brought us the raw, opening sequels 'Friday the 13th' Part 2 and 3'.

Miner is joined by producer Sean S. Cunningham, the man behind the original 'Friday the 13th'. This time it's far from chilling (but it doesn't feel like its trying either… well there are moments, lightly done though), as the angle is focused on the comedy, even if it doesn't have you constantly laughing out loud. It remains amusing nonetheless, while managing to be unpredictable in a way. We've flooded with ideas, artistic lashings and loose writing. William Katt makes for a likable victim, to his worrying state of thinking his going crazy due to the traumatic stress (war experience, missing child and marriage failure) or maybe it's the house and its dark, devious secrets preying upon his fragile mind.

Roger Cobb is a Vietnam VET/ horror novelist that has tragedy on mind after the strange disappearance of his son Jimmy when visiting his aunt's house. His obsessive quest on finding him takes on a huge toll on his marriage, as his wife leaves him and now he wants to write a book about his Vietnam experience despite the growing success of his horror novels. After the death of his aunt, he heads back to the house and decides this is where he would write his new book. However he finds out there's more to this house, and maybe a chance to find his son again.

Sounds like the typical haunted house shenanigans… Well to a point. There are monsters (creative animation/ rubber make-up and the zombie soldier design looks awesome) stemming from portals to other universes through closet doors and bathroom mirrors. In the end I guess there just wasn't enough of it, compared to its boundless sequel 'House II: The Second Story'. The psychological aspect (yes it tries) is muddled and never truly explored; because it lets the daftness and convoluted tone take control of anything of importance through its Vietnam slant. Miner keeps a steady pace, drawing some minor moments of suspense and unhinged weirdness. The direction can feel a little too staged, and planned out in its set-pieces due to its change in shifts. Although the execution comes off better than it probably should have and is fairly presentable, as just look Mac Ahlberg's polished cinematography as the camera seamlessly glides through the set-pieces and Harry Manfredini's score is elastically piercing in its perky arrangement.

Like I mentioned up further, Katt brings along an honest and capable performance. Around him is a down-to-earth turn by George Wendt. Who is good fun as Cobb's interfering neighbour. The stunning Kay Lenz doesn't get a lot to do, but her warm presence doesn't look out of place and Richard Moll is imposing as Cobb's Nam buddy. The beauty of Mary Stavin engulfs the few scenes she's in. Another asset you could say, and just as part of the film's character is the house itself. A formidable setting, but it didn't entirely have the lasting impact like I would've hoped and that's why the atmosphere (quite patchy) across the board didn't always have the same effect.

Loony, spontaneous comedy/horror that doesn't entirely hit the mark, but does plenty to tweak ones interest.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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This is about facing survivor guilt GrandWushu
Watched this when you were little Phillie_Roller22
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The song 'You're No Good' BoDukeLover
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I can't believe Fred Dekker penned this dorian06
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