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House II: The Second Story

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House II: The Second Story - a title somewhat lost on UK audiences, this pun translates as 'The Second Storey' and won awards for best title of the year at the time of it's release.



More Trivia from House II: The Second Story
A chilling opening scene: two parents have their baby removed to safety from a house where they are soon murdered by a ghoulish old west cowboy named Slim Reezor (Dean Cleverdon).

Years later, Jesse (Ayre Gross), the baby, is now grown to manhood, inherits the ornate old house and begins to discover its secrets.

By reading in the library, he soon learns that his great grandfather (Royal Dano) is buried nearby with a magical crystal skull. Jesse and his pal Charlie (Jonathan Stark) decide to dig him up. Oddly enough, gramps isn't quite dead yet! He launches out of the coffin like a zombie, but quickly reveals himself to be a lovable 'old fart.'

gramps moves into the house and the skull becomes the centerpiece of their fireplace. He warns Jesse and Charlie that they must protect it from the forces of evil. They grow fond of the old guy and Jesse finally becomes part of a real family. And you thought that was weird? Suddenly, from the dimensions beyond the mere walls of the house, our heroes find themselves drawn into a magical quest to protect the crystal skull.

Battling ancient aztec warriors, dinosaurs, zealous pterodactyls and of course, the return of Slim Reezor, the two cross time and space within the house. Aided by Bill Towner (John Ratzenberger) the tongue-in-cheek adventurer and electrician, the trio rescue a princess before Jesse must go it alone to avenge the death of his parents and get gramps to safety...

Verdict?

Written and directed by the versatile Ethan Wiley, who also wrote the screenplay for the first movie in the series, House II took a new direction. Rather than proceed with a continuation of the original story, Wiley chose to create an entirely new set of characters, in a House that had another story to tell. Often considered as a key contributor to the horror/comedy revolution, this Sean S. Cunningham production pre-dated the 'Goosebumps' style of children's entertainment and was criticised at the time for its slight confection.

However, with its recent release on Special Edition DVD, perspectives have changed and Wiley's imaginative and daring adventure is being described as "...more enjoyable than the original... The visuals are pretty cool... and impressive, considering the movie's modest budget." Apollo Movie Guide

"With as much fantasy adventure mixed in with horror, this amiable feature is in some ways fresher and more fun than its predecessor..." Film Score Monthly

"...sequel to the original benefits from Ethan Wiley's brisk directed elements of suspense, humor, and fantasy. John Ratzenberger puts in a funny appearance as an off the wall electrician, a sort of AC / DC W.C Fields." Newsday

"the film includes one of the greatest cameos ever to grace celluloid..." DVD Town

"The flick maintains a refreshingly throwaway attitude toward its lively material, emerging as a sort of EC Comics Meets Pee-Wee's Playhouse. Vet thesp Royal Dano (Trouble With Harry) does an excellent job as an exhumed old-timer." Daily News

"House 2 is an enjoyable follow up to the darker original. The fun, adventure and wonderful production design tap into all different genres..." DVDivas.Net

A cross between a western-horror-fantasy, a genre that Wiley himself is still pioneering, House II is a tale jampacked with alternative universes, pterodactyls, feuding wild-west zombified cowboys and one of the cutest creations in film history - the caterpuppy!! The watchable Ayre Gross and Jonathan Stark keep the movie ticking along nicely, whilst there are also great supporting roles for John Ratzenburger and 'Politically Incorrect's' Bill Maher as a smarmy record exec.

The House franchise was extremely lucrative, and although it managed to terminate itself with subsequent installments, the first two films at least are a mind bending place to visit! Watch out for the imaginative special effects like the skeletal horse ridden by Slim Reezor, sit back, and enjoy the ride pard'ner!

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Great performances
Fun script, wacky adventure!
Cool special effects
Beautiful score
Classic title
An original adventure, pioneering a unique genre

Weaknesses? Could have been a true sequel to the original.

Our rating: 8 out of 10


Review Written by Simon Barber:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Simon Barber
House II: The Second Story