Movie Review: House (1986)

Susanto Sen By Susanto Sen, 3rd Jan 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Horror

An author moves into a mansion he inherits from his deceased aunt. Soon, his missing son and paranormal activity within the house begin to haunt him.

Horror of the Fantasy League

Horror has already found a niche with the spirit world and the paranormal, and both seem to converge in time with splatter and gore. In their interlude has come fantasy. Horror fantasy was not that which ‘Evil Dead’ depicted, nor has ‘House’ done so of the spirit world. But both seem to have equal shares of paranormal regalia. The paranormal blended with fantasy has conjured a new kind of horror – one that would intrigue a new audience either into amusement or in the belief of some absurdity that defies reasoning.

In its beginning, an old woman hangs herself in a mansion – the house. 25 years later, the house is ordained to be haunted without any intimation from anyone but by a spooky air about it. Not even the house’s nearest neighbours know of its devilish intents. The deceased woman’s nephew – Roger – has little to ponder on returning to the antiquated house, having it bequeathed to him while it still bore all its archaic magnificence. In addition, Roger’s an author endeavouring a war memoir that would find stimulus in the abounding solitude of his new inheritance. Even a pestering salesman fails in buying it off him. But before he steps in, a nightmare rattles him, conveying ill-omens perhaps. That is one paranormal episode. Another one goes overboard; Roger’s son Jimmy dips into a pool and goes missing thereon. The weirdest of paranormal circumstances and investigation in the retrieval of Jimmy forms the culmination. The sudden disappearance of Jimmy could be a hallucination or a paranormal occurrence, the water and the drowned son might propose some Freudian emotion in play for the whimsical imagination of an overstressed author. Roger’s delirium becomes viable for he had lost his mother in childhood, and the aunt who had raised him hung herself in the very same house.

A sudden dose of paranormal activity hints at Roger’s psychotic symptoms, and for the greater part, he seems insane. An extroverted neighbour turns out to be his greatest fan and, for that, a meddling character. Even he doesn’t conform on Roger’s hysterical visions. But that’s only till the right time. At the stroke of midnight, the concerned neighbour who speaks to Roger’s ex-wife of his afflictions, makes a turnaround at a paranormal sighting to give him a dedicated hand but not a helpful one at that. Roger is left to face his own troubles eventually. He embarks on a mission of irrational mystery and raving adventure to retrieve his lost son from the clutches of an old friend turned foe.

The spectres show up before the eerie sounds, a sequence that is commonly vice-versa. The haunting predominates in the room where Roger’s aunt committed suicide. Another woman hangs herself before disappearing. Taking a page out of the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’, a monster walks out of the room’s closet leaving a trail to another world. That doesn’t happen to be the only portal in the house. The pool and the bathroom mirror too lead to the other dimension that draws parallels to Roger’s imagination. The ingenious devises in spectres and monsters is a rarity among horror films made thus far. Still, ‘Evil Dead’ scores better in grotesque. The grotesque in ‘House’, however, was more comical than scary. A flapping wall hanging swordfish with rolling eyeballs tended to be more irksome than freaking.

Bugged by a lost son and a deserted wife, an upset Roger has very little to laugh about except when his new neighbour happens to be the most beautiful woman in the block with who a trust or relationship is never built. A burly man, his other neighbour fails to get even a smirk out of him. His excessive concern for Roger eventually coerces him into divulging his secrets.

Paranormal and fantasy are not the only offered themes in this subject of horror. An author’s reboot of the Vietnam War is in graphic depiction, albeit in brief purport. The paranormal shuttled frequently with reality eschewing the events in constant flow. For some reason, Roger had to essay the war memoir. Had he achieved gallantry, gained an enduring experience or lost something very dear to him, stayed for an answer. A lost son and a wife who deserted him afflicted his thought and narrative although the memories of a staid valiant past still held him on. As a part of a platoon, Roger writes of his platoon’s intrepid ambush attack that could be too heroic to be true. His docudrama even carried death and tragedy on battlefield. The war, in the context of an end, had only a peripheral significance. The violence and martyrdom bore connections with Roger’s missing son, albeit in a far-fetched sense. A mix of war and paranormal spectres transform Roger from a soldier to a ghostbuster, who avenges an irate comrade… a pertinent subject of euthanasia.


Fantasy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Review, Paranormal, War

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author avatar Susanto Sen
As a bibliophile, I love to collect non-fiction books, My non-fiction interests are mainly philosophy, spirituality, and some bit of statistics. Other interests are movies and television media.

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author avatar Aaron Welch
4th Jan 2016 (#)

I love horror especially those that were made by Thais however "The House" was one of my best picks during high school years. Apart that, I also like those stories with plot twists such as "The Mist" etc. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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author avatar Susanto Sen
6th Jan 2016 (#)

Thank you for your observations, Aaron.

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