Kane Hodder, who was the stunt coordinator for the film, is known to horror fans as the one who played icon Jason Voorhees more than anyone else, four films total. Director Steve Miner also directed Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), the first to actually feature Jason, and Friday the 13th Part III (1982), the first to feature the famous hockey mask.
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.
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.
Steve Miner leapt at the chance of making the film as he was largely regarded as a director of horror films, having helmed the second and third instalments of the Friday the 13th franchise. Sure enough, his next projects after House (1985) were Soul Man (1986) and the pilot episode of The Wonder Years (1988).