House (1985) - Plot Summary Poster



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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.

  • Roger Cobb is a author who has just separated from his wife. He moves into a new house and tries to work on a novel based on his experiences in the Vietnam War. Strange things start happening around him; little things at first, but as they become more frequent, Cobb becomes aware that the house resents his presence.

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


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • A dettached house is shown with eerie music. A careless boy who hits the fence with his moped brings a bag of groceries into the home. The grocery boy (James "Jim" Calvert) calls for Mrs Elizabeth Hooper (Susan French), saying that he'll collect the money next week. the boy thinks he has heard some noise upstairs so he goes up, making a comment on his way -"yawk"- about a painting on the wall. He peers onto a room, and hears a soft thud. He enters on a second rooms and looks at Mrs Hooper, who has just hanged herself.

    At the funeral, the priest (Billy Bekc) is giving out his response. A man (Bill McLean) tells Roger Cobb (William Katt) that his aunt was not crazy. The man points to his wimpering wife, saying that she is truly mad, but not Mrs Hooper.

    Cut to a store where Roger is signing autographs to buyers of his shocker book - the novels Rob Cobb writes as supposed to be thematically similar to Stephen King's first horror novels. All the fans are a bit of a nerd/weirdo: the punk; the talkative spinster (Mindy Sterling) who is more interested in knowing whether he is married to Sandy Sanclair (Kay Lenz), the movie star, than in buying the book; the fan (George Wendt) who is disappointed when he hears that Cobb's next book is going to be about his experiences as a veteran in the Viet Nam war; the cheesy high-school football player (Jayson Kane). Roger says that he's now divorced from her, but the spinster keeps on talking about how wonderful and talented Sandy Sinclair is as a young actress. Frank McGraw (Steve Susskind), Cobb's publicist and friend, tells him that his fans want to buy and read the same type of novel he's produced before, but Roger insists: he really needs to write the Nam book.

    Back home, on his own, Roger prepares himself to defrost a pizza, putting it into the microwave without even tearing the package open. Roger stares at the blank page, so he goes to the phone instead, but the investigator hasn't been able to find any new information. Sandy phones Roger from a phone booth: she's lost a nomination to an award. Roger pretends like he's with somebody else in a party. Roger consoles her briefly and then mentions that he's writing another book, to what Sandy reacts with happiness. Sandy is sad to hang up, but she smiles to cheer the pararazzi and the crowd.

    That night, Roger is having a restless sleep. He wakes up with a nightmare: he is playing close to a cross indicating a tomb, all on his own, and all of a sudden, a rotten dead arm springs from the dirt. Roger wakes up in horror.

    Right afterwards, Roger receives another call from a realtor, saying that he's inherited his aunt Elizabeth's house. Roger goes to his closet and packs, in spite of Sandy's concerns about Roger going back to that home. Chet Parker (Michael Ensign) shows him around the home, which will be auctioned. Parker also sees possibilities in auctioning some of the furniture and bric-a-brac.

    Right afterwards, Roger is pruning some bushes, and his son Jimmy (Eric Silva & Mark Silva) is playing on his own with toy cars. A second later, Jimmy has disappeared, leaving the toy cars there. Roger calls out for him everywhere, Sandy goes to the door to help him, but the car leaving through the other end of the street looks to be too far away to have anything to do with Jimmy's disappearance. Roger sees a boy on the pool splashing the water. Without a doubt, Roger jumps in, but nobody - apart from himself - is there. All this is remembered by Roger while Parker talks on and on about the home. Parker thrusts an air-shotgun arrow at him carelessly. Both men stare at a weird painting of an elderly woman resembling the late aunt about to enter a lighted passage. Parker can't believe that the house has got an omen, as Roger says.

    Roger keeps on remembering - the police have no clue. Aunt Elizabeth looks a bit mad when she says in front of the police women that the house took Jimmy. Sandy runs away from the room crying. The police officers (Alan Autry & Steven Williams).

    Finally, being on his home at the house, Roger starts to think that he can hear something upstairs, and as usual, he goes to take a look. He looks at Jimmy's bedroom, and in Aunt Elizabeth's room, he watches her hang herself again. She encourages him to leave while he still can.

    Roger has a medicine box full of pills, but for now, he won't take any. Next morning, a dog is spreading all his rubbish. He watches his neighbour Tanya (Mary Stavin) jogging, an attractive woman. His neighbour on the house of the left, Harold Gorton (George Wendt) talks to him, and invites him to have some beer. Harold is a fan of him. As they don't have a pen there, Roger will sign an autograph for him later on.

    Roger goes back to writing at night. He remembers about Nam. His lieutenant (Dwier Brown) wakes Roger up, and Big Ben (Richard Moll) expresses his wish to be done with Nam as well. The Lieutenant is distributing Fitzsimmons (Joey Green), Cobb and Big Ben in attack formation for the impending one they are about to launch. Big Ben realises that a grenade was thrust at them. Shooting and mayhem ensue, and Big Ben stands tall to shoot the Nam soldiers back. He is supposedly killed in action at that moment. -- We realise that it's not only a rememberance; Roger is finally! writing the Nam war novel he wanted to write. There is a moment in which he turns off TV so that he won't lose his concentration.

    However, he can suddenly see the smiling face of Jimmy.He stops writing and goes to take a look. In old Jimmy's bedroom, he can't see anything, is about to peer open another door, but then mutters to himself that he's going crazy. Roger leaves, goes to the bathroom to take a pill and wash his teeth, but then decides to go back to Jimmy's bedroom to open up a door which he had left closed the previous time: there is nothing there, bevause it's an empty closet. The grandfather's clock strikes midnight just when he's aboout to leave. Roger decides to peer into the closet again, and this time, a monster is there. It attacks him, but Roger pushes it back and locks the door.

    Roger buys plenty of staff to build a monster trap. He dresses himself up as if he were back in his soldiering times again, and jumps out of the house, cheering to himself. His neighbour Harold asks him what he's doing, and Roger first asks "nothing", but then rumbles something about being doing his workout, and wanting to go back to the solitude of his home.

    He sets the monster trap, a photograph and video recording system and several thingies more. He pulls with a coil the closet door open, but nothing appears. He turns off his equipment, but comes back at midnight again. Harold scares him offering a midnight snack. Downstairs, Roger tells him that he believes that the house is hunted and he wants to catch the ghost. Harold points to Roger's divorce, level of stress..., but Roger is convinced. Roger shows his scars from when the monster tried to catch him. Harold doesn't believe him, and starts believing that Roger is nuts. Harold leaves after stealing Roger's phone book. He tells Sandy that Roger may be losing it. Unfortunately, Sandy has to be on the set at 6:30 the following morning. She leaves her day-time phone number with Harold, and then, she tries to hole Roger on the phone.

    But he won't pick the phone up, as he's wrting about the time when he, Fitzsimmons, Scott (Stephen Nichols), and another soldier are smoking during a break. They finally keep marching on, trying to hide from the enemy, and they realise somebody has been following them. He is writing that when he feels he needs to stop.

    A running toy car recalls his attention. The eye of a sword fish hanging on the wall starts to move and the sword fish attacks him. Roger tries to pick some weapons but axes, hammers, and other DIY tools start attacking him. He shoots the sword fish but his eyes keep on moving around. He tries to take another pill but has not time, as the tools bang on the door and attack him.

    When he goes to the hall, Sandy appears. A bullet falls, Sandy bends to pick it up, saying that she was really worried about him, and then a monster appears. Roger kills it, but then he realises it was Sandy all the time. Sandy's body has fell out of the home, but Harold his neighbour couldn't see the body. He calls the police thinking that Roger Cobb has tried to commit suicide. Roger picks Sandy's body and puts it inside the department under the stairs. When the police arrive, Roger says that it was a loose shot, as he didn't know that the gun was loaded. One of the policemen asks to use the toilet, and Roger offers them some coffee. He's nervous as hell, and everybody can notice that. Harold has also invited himself in to some coffeee. On the floor, Harold can see two more shotgun bullets. The police officer (Ronn Carroll) asks him questions about that.

    Later, alone again, Roger goes to tend to Sandy's corpse, but it's not there. He follows some closing doors, but behind him appears the monster (Peter Pitofsky) with a shotgun. the monster says that he won't find Jimmy as the boy is dead. The monster tries to shoot him after having hit in the back, but the gun doesn't fire. Roger leads the monster to where the flying tools are waiting, and they are the ones who killed it. Roger digs a hole in his garden to hide the head and the body sepparately. Tanya appears in a bathing suit, swimming in Roger's swimming pool!, as apparently she used to do that when Aunt Elizabeth was alive. They talk, and she asks Roger what he's doing, and what he's about to bury - the body of the monster. Roger tries to talk to her non-chalantly, as if nothing is ado. An arm appears from under the plastic rubbish bag and Roger steps on it so that Tanya doesn't notice anything odd. She is cute but stupid, so she doesn't seem to realise nothing out of the ordinary.

    Roger has to dig many holes, and he stares at the photograph of what once was a happy family. Harold's dog undigs the hand of the monster and runs away. Tanya calls on him with her son on tow. He's a nice boy, and the hand of the monster is holding to the jumper of Robert. Robert (Robert Joseph) is a naughty boy who runs away until Roger catches him. He has to bite onto the monster hand to release it, then he throws it away rhough the toilet. Tanya is in a hurry: she leaves Robert with a bag full of clothes, toys, etc...

    Robert cries, so Roger picks him and sits him down in front of the TV. Leaving him on the sofa of the sitting room, Roger goes back to write. there are animal noises in the jungle, but probably they are the enemy closing in. Big Ben goes to look what's happening, as usually staying tall, when panicky Roger Cobb shoots him dead - friendly fire. Roger goes to look for Robert, but he's not there.

    Three little critters (Elizabeth Barrington, Jerry Maren and Felix Silla) have taken Robert away, and are taking him up the chimney. Roger holds to Robert legs, until the three critters let him go. Roger puts Robert in a bath, and they start playing with sponges. When Tanya comes back, Robert is smiling and laughing, a s he had lots of fun.

    Harold appears again with some beer. Roger convinces him to help him with his fight. Harold is getting nervous. Harold is going to shoot at midnight, and it's Roger who opens the door. A big monster appears, but Harold stays frozen. When he reacts, Harold can't help Roger, who leaves flying with the big monster with a foot tangled on the rope.

    Roger feels he's back at the Nam place when Big Ben is about to die. He asks Roger not to abandon him in the jungle, wounded as he is. Roger says that everything will be all right, and doesn't kill Big Ben. The Nam soldiers appear and take Big Ben with them, alive and screaming that he will get back at Roger someday. Roger runs away amist the soldiers' fire. He runs to the light and gives a big jump to fall in front of the sleeping useless Harold. He wakes Harold up, who reacts startled and hits Roger in the head.

    Roger puts Harold to bed. He checks one of Elizabeth's paintings again: hidden with a dirty piece of cloth, in the painting of the elderly lady walking into a lighted door, he can see Jimmy from behind a mirror screaming for Elizabeth not to get in there. Roger recognises the mirror of his medicine cabinet; he goes there and pries it open, but only his medicines and pills are in it. He closes the cabinet and breaks the glass with a stool. There is a black hole which leads to another diemnsion.

    A tentacle appears to catch Roger. He frees himself and cuts the monsters with a knife, but then, he goes armed onto the black shaft with a flashlight. the skeleton of a dinosaur attacks him. He falls to a lake / sea. Incredibly enough, his torch is still working. He swims down trying to find Jimmy.

    On the shore, on a cage, he finds Jimmy, who wants to go back home but is OK otherwise. Jimmy tells him that he is coming back. Roger rescues Roger, and they emerge through the swimming-pool. They are about to leave the house through the door, but the skeleton of Big Ben (Curt Wilmot) appears Big Ben says that the Cong soldiers tortured him for weeks, and that now he wants his own back. Roger sends Jimmy for help. Big Ben enters the home and goes after Roger. Big Ben's ammunition is finished, so he throws his shotgun away, while Roger runs to the roof, and then goes back inside the house again.

    Roger takes one of Big ben's arms away, but he puts it in. The house now stands on the verge of a cliff. Roger galls and holds to the floor while dangling from a height. He uses his belt to throw Big Ben to the cliff.

    Big Ben appears again, lifting Jimmy by his t-shirt. Big Ben tells Roger to commit suicide or he will slash JImmy's throat. But a stab from Big Ben to Roger doesn't produce any effect: Roger is not afraid of him anymore. He takes Jimmy away from Big Ben, steals one of his grenades and thrusts it up between Big Ben's showy rib cabge. The explosion kills Big Ben and creates a fire on the house.

    Outside, Harold stares at teh fire. Finally, Sandy has arrived on a taxi, and she gets off with a worried look. Roger appears with Jimmy, who runs to Sandy.

    John William Young ... Would-be Writer (as John Young)

    Ronn Wright... Enthusiastic Patron

    Renee Lillian... Zealous Fan.

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