Wednesday, February 15, 2012

House IV

Directed by Lewis Abernathy
Written by an infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of keyboards
Starring William Katt (barely), Denny Dillon, and Terri Treas (no idea)

House 1 and House 2 are light-hearted horror comedies where everything works out in the end. Sure, the leads have to face down gloopy looking ghosts and pterodactyls (seriously), but they proceed along at a quick pace and are a lot of fun to watch. House 4, on the other hand, doubles down on the wackiness quotient, but ends up paradoxically darker, angrier, and more unpleasant than either of its prequels. (House 3 doesn’t exist, by the way.)

First of all, take a look at the titular house. It’s not a charming fixer-upper like before. This is a horrid little place in the middle of the desert. Why does it even exist out here? Who built it? Should I be paying attention to the stupid Indian burial ground backstory that comes out of nowhere halfway through the film?

Apparently, the property is quite valuable, which is why a midget mob boss wants to kill William Katt and his family so that he could demolish the property and build something-something. I say go for it. I’m sure there are some nice condos nearby. And by nearby, I mean far far away from this deserted hell-hole.

To start things off with a bang, William Katt dies in a car accident, leaving his grieving wife and newly paralyzed daughter behind. That’s a great way to begin a horror-comedy, don’t you think?

Did I mention the midget crime boss? Because holy crap was that character an ill-advised bit of nastiness. He is hooked up to a machine that constantly pumps phlegm from his neck hole. In one lovely scene, he has his goons hold down a business partner and pour the phlegm down his throat. By this point in the movie, I’m really starting to miss the pterodactyls of part 2.

Even the wacky monsters are meant to be goofy but come across as disgusting. Case-in-point: the Pizza Man, who looks like this:

William Katt's widow shoves him in the disposal, getting brownish pizza goo all over herself. The scene was meant to be slapsticky, but comes across as depressing instead. They also make jokes about anchovies, which are God’s gift to pizza lovers everywhere, so I’m a little angry at that, too.

Most of the actual humor comes via SNL alum Denny Dillon. If you don’t remember her from SNL, she was on that show during the early 80s, when no one watched. It was a dark time for late night television, but Denny herself isn’t half bad.

All-in-all, this movie's attempts at comedy come off horrific, and its attempts at horror come off comedic. It is an unpleasant movie full of phlegm and cheap drama. (In one scene, the wheelchair-bound daughter looks longingly at two girls who are jumping in slow motion for no reason whatsoever. Stupid stupid stupid.) Do yourself a favor and rewatch parts 1 or 2 instead. Or part 3, which doesn’t exist.

A random picture. I wanted to cheer myself up.

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