Sunday, February 19, 2012

HOUSE 2: The Second Story

House II: The Second Story is a big, overstuffed mess of a movie with at least two plot threads too many, but holy crap is it fun to watch. It basically takes the story and tone of the first House, and adds a bunch more wackiness. It also gets rid of the weird tonal shifts that the first one had (like all those cheesy Vietnam flashbacks). When you think of horror-comedies, you think of movies like this.

Let’s start a checklist of why this movie is a fun experience.

1. First, we have the house itself, which seems much creepier and more Baroque than the first house. One of its rooms is actually a prehistoric jungle, so you know it has some serious square footage.

2. We have our requisite Cheers castmember making the rounds. In the first one, it was George Wendt. In this one, we get Pixar fave John Ratzenberger, who is clearly having a ball.

3. We get Amy (Problem Child) Yasbeck in a completely unnecessary role of a pop star wannabe. Why is this storyline even in the movie? No idea. But it’s always good to see Ms. Yasbeck outside of that damn airport.

4. Bill Maher tries to act. Sure, the character of the slimy music agent really fits him, but what’s really cool is the novelty of watching Bill Maher slum it up in a low-budget horror comedy.

5. Royal Dano as a cowboy zombie adjusting to live in Reagan’s America. His cluelessness and regret are alternately funny and touching. And that make-up is very, very good.

6. And finally, this film involves a whole host of weird puppets, including this little guy clutching a magic crystal skull in its beak. You heard me correctly: a magic crystal skull. This is by far the greatest movie involving a magic crystal skull. (Though, admittedly, there isn’t much competition.)

Will you ever get scared by watching this movie? Probably not. Will you laugh out loud? Maybe. But you’ll definitely grin all the way through. And isn’t that a good enough reason to watch?

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