FearTASTIC Vault O’FUN #60
House II: The Second Story (1987)
Director(s): Ethan Wiley
Writer(s): Fred Dekker, (story by Ethan Wiley)
Starring: Arye Gross, Jonathan Stark, Royal Dano
Yes, your FearTASTIC host is still wandering the deserts of Arizona!
When one travels, walking through an area to get a feel for the local flavor becomes mandatory (even when the heat compares to that of the third circle of Hell)! During one of my strolls, I stumbled upon a house that can only be described as HAUNTING. What creeped me out about this house was that it definitely felt old but not decrepit; it felt like it had history but it stood out from other houses based on the design that felt like the history of the house just oozed of eccentricity. The colors were not necessarily dark and gloomy, quite the opposite, they seem to have pastel overtones but they seem to never blend with each other; it all seemed to be conflicting by design. Overall, the thing that creeped me out the most about the house was how untouched it seemed. Even a house that seemed that old, it almost felt like it was staring at me as I walked by.
This immediately made me think of one of my favorite horror flicks as a child; House 2: The Second Story. I remember assuming that this was was a straight-laced horror flick but ended up being part horror, part comedy, part adventure and ALL ENTERTAINING! Although the House horror franchise is rocky at best, I liked the idea of having each flick as its own separate story. For the sake of not melting everyone’s minds with the history of the House flicks, let us just say the first two were they only ones worth mentioning.
What made House 2 such an entertaining horror flick is that it takes a nice turn into adventure territory early into the flick. This while sprinkling the audience with good humorous bits, creatures of all kinds done with practical effects and dare I say, a little bit of heart? Let us start with the poster of this flick; it actually follows the same format as the previous movie, but as I said previously, this flick has no ties to the first. When you see a zombie – like hand turning the key to the door, you are expecting a horror movie that definitely has the dead involved and some sort of spooky house. I remember not expecting much from the flick especially after seeing the poster. The first House movie did a great job in having a bit of humor in the midst of a movie filled with creatures and scares. This movie however added many appreciated layers that I did not expect from a horror movie about a haunted house.
The story follows a group of young folks staying at a creepy…house (duh). The house has some history as our main character Jesse, who returned to the house after his parents’ murder when he was a baby. They discover a crystal skull (YES, I can hear the collective groan now; give Indy a break folks!) that rejuvenates Jesse’s great cowboy grandfather and various hilarious hijinks ensue since “Gramps” is a friendly corpse that wants to connect with his great grandson. Not all cowboy corpses are friendly however and the gang must find a way to fight off the evil cowboy that may have ties to Jesse’s past.
I absolutely LOVED the turn of having Gramps in the movie; he was a force of unexpected heart and humor that really did the flick justice when it came to the story line. Although the movie itself is riddled with spooky creatures, the interaction between Gramps and the rest of the crew gave the movie emotional legitimacy. The use of practical effects in the movie was something that I sorely miss in this world of CGI. There is something quite charming about having puppetry when introducing creatures of different kinds and they especially work with a story line that is more adventure and comedy based. This movie even managed to create a cute horror dog that I could imagine sell lots of toys if the franchise ever did reach that level of fame.
The ending of the flick takes another turn that makes you realize that although you did watch a movie about a haunted house, it became so much more by the time the credits start rolling. It is safe to say that you went through and experience with these characters where you are left wondering, did I just watch a horror flick? Why, yes, yes you did.
So take a walk folks and see if you can get yourself sucked into a spooky adventure…just don’t break into any homes…or at least don’t mention me or this article if you do, thanks!
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.