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Booth's Blog: Ding Dong you're Dead! '80s VHS classic comes to Horror!
By Emily Booth, Thursday 17th November 2016
Emily with chopperYou have no idea how much of a fan-girl I became when Horror HQ told me they were giving House its network premiere this weekend. Released in 1986, I was ripe pickings for this kind of lurid VHS as an incredibly underage, wide-eyed nipper in the back of my local video store, drooling over the salacious, sensational, and indeed saucy video sleeves. This one hooked me in right away, and my brother and I rented it out again and again (the Video Recordings Act was introduced in 1984, and I'm not sure my local video store had caught up; regardless, they had no problems with me and my brother renting the likes of Porkies, House, Phenomena (Creepers at the time), Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street etc, when clearly we were way under 18!). I know many of you hold dear those memories of fondly fondling your way through countless depraved video sleeves designed purely to suck you in and incite lust and terror. 'Rent me, rent me, rent me' they screamed! And we did my pretties, we did...

Like Sam Raimi's Evil Dead, this film manages to straddle both horror and comedy (though I'd say it veers more towards horror) without becoming too self-conscious. it's what I call 'fun-house horror' - a real circus of a spectacle where you can open any door, and waiting behind is all manner of the bizarre and bloody. Here a frustrated horror novelist suffering from PTSD from his time serving in Vietnam, as well as the disappearance of his young son, returns to his late aunt's house for rest and inspiration. But he gets a whole lot more than he bargains for when his inner demons seem to take on a life of their own in the house, seeking to drag him down to hell. Could his son have been taken by this hell house itself? Is he trapped in another dimension? Why is he seeing the burned and vengeful body of the man he left to die in Vietnam, and why has his ex-wife turned into a grotesque, hysterical demon who looks a cross between Miss Piggy and the creature from The Thing? There are so many moments to love here, as the direction from Steve Miner - who'd just come off the fantastic Friday the 13th Parts 2 and 3 - has a real abrupt shock value to it... He certainly knows his jump scares! From the freaky mounted dead fish whose eyes follow him around the room, to the tools in the shed coming to life and flying through the air, and the monster in the closet who only comes out at midnight, the creature effects are simply amazing, grotesque, and inventive, so if you’re a fan of monster makeup over CGI rubbish, then this is the film for you.

On a more serious note, like some of the other films of this era such as Jacob's Ladder (1990) and Cannibal Apocalypse (1980), the subtext of the film really exposes the horrors of the Vietnam War; a reflection of America's military finally acknowledging PTSD as a real, serious condition in 1980. For once, films depicted the mental trauma of the battlefield on its soldiers, rather than the glory.

So if you want a real nostalgic trip back to those rose-tinted and somewhat innocent days of renting a coveted 'horror movie', then make a date with House on Saturday 19th November at 11pm.

Related show tags: HOUSE
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