When I was a kid I vividly remember watching House. It was the afternoon on the weekend and my mom was asleep. I sneakily watched the move while my mom sawed some logs and it scared the crap outta me! I loved it! I loved all the monsters, the imagination, and the total lack of regard for traditional horror film rules. I also remember seeing the second film and loving that one too. Sure, it’s goofy and not really a horror flick but it retained the vibe of the original and again I had no idea what would happen next in it. I also remember watching House IV on tv but only a hazy memory of a burn victim, a possessed pizza, and a bloody shower remained. I finally got my hands on the flick and gave it a revisit. Did it hold up?
First let me clear something up. House III, was actually The Horror Show starring Lance Henrickson and Brion James. Despite some cool effects and solid character acting the film is largely a snoozer. It was called House III in the UK and other territories so that’s why the producers decided to call this one House IV which is really House III since The Horror Show is about an evil convict’s spirit haunting a house and driving Lance crazy, not an evil house. Got it? Good.
House IV briefly stars William Katt, reprising his role from House only now he has a daughter instead of a son(?) and he’s married. Oh and the house is no longer in a suburb of northern California but out in the middle of nowhere in the desert. Also he has a jerk of a step brother and instead of the house belonging to his eccentric aunt it now was his father’s house. Or maybe Cobb just has lots of spooky houses in his family. There’s also a token native american guy who doesn’t really do much for the plot. So it’s a direct sequel to House…kinda.
After visiting the home the family gets in a terrible accident leaving their daughter in a wheelchair for the rest of her life (though from the way she acts in the film is largely unaffected by this horrible tragedy), and Mr. Cobb is terribly burned and left a quadriplegic who dies in the hospital. Mrs. Cobb decides to take her daughter back to the house and live in it in honor of her husband, but that’s when creepy things start happening.
By creeping things really all that happens are the aforementioned possessed singing pizza and bloody shower mixed with flashbacks of the hospital. Really the film is about the jerk step brother trying to buy or sabatoge the house so he can gain possession of the house for a nefarious industrial toxic waste creator so that he can dump his waste on the land.
House IV lacks the imagination of the first two films but is a lot more entertaining than the third, in name only sequel. Visually the film had some pretty fun monochromatic coloring as well as funky dutch angles. There’s a bit of nudity, a bit of blood, but no real monsters to speak of which is a bit let down. I still enjoyed the revisit but I’d chalk that up to nostalgia than any high degree of quality of the film. Still its better than plenty of direct to video obscurities out there.