Friday, 22 July 2011

HOUSE 4: The Repossession (1992)

Movie and TV Mistress back again with the final instalment of the HOUSE films.
The Fourth movie is called HOUSE 4: The Repossession and it sees the return of Roger Cobb again played by William Katt. Though William Katt is back as Roger Cobb the character, House and family are completely different to the first movie. The only memory of this film I have is that Roger is a ghost, the movie is not going to be as dark as the third film and promises to be a comedy horror, lets hope so, lets start the final movie.

Well at least the correct title appears at the start and it is called HOUSE 4, we see Kelly Cobb standing on the road outside a huge house and she walks in and joins Roger and his step brother Burke talking about home movies, Burke wants Roger to sell the house. Roger has promised to keep the house in the family and renovate it but Burke won't give up on Roger selling. A random Indian has arrived called Ezra, who parts some wisdom on Kelly and the family saying the spirits will rest because Roger is honouring his Grand Father's agreement.

Everybody drives off, but Ezra goes into the basement and checks on a glowing green hole in the floor, carries out a ceremony. Meanwhile Kelly is driving and asks Roger to explain the agreement, Rogers Grand Father made a blood oath on his wedding day not to sell the house, after explaining everything they have a car crash. Kelly is able to pull Laurel her daughter free but the car blows up with a living Roger stuck in it. Laurel survives but is paralysed. For 1992 you'd think Kelly would get her daughter an up to date wheel chair, but no it's a creepy old wicker type.

They return to the house and put Roger's Ashes on the mantle her Dad tries to persuade her not to stay or fix it up. The house is covered in cob webs everywhere and the furniture is all falling apart. Laurel wants to have a Halloween party at the house and starts talking about her first Halloween and we get our first flashback of this movie. She cuts her hand on a piece of glass in the house and goes to wash it but looks like the slime from Ghostbuster 2 is in her taps. Laurel is stating the obvious I hope she doesn't do that in the entire film. Kelly goes to answer the door but the person has already let themselves in, Verna Klump, who claims to be the house keeper is played by Denny Dillion yet another cast member from Night Court, Richard Moll played Big Ben in HOUSE.

There are strange noises coming from the basement so time to investigate, I wonder will we have any jump scares in this film. No she sees a mouse falls over and sticks her bloody hand in the glowing green hole, hay that’s one way to trick a girl into giving a blood oath. 25 minute in and nothing remotely scary has happened. Kelly's cut has healed in a day, wow that house is magic; this house kind of reminds me on the house in the Munsters and Practical Magic. Kelly has more flashbacks and Laurel looks longingly at girls skipping, but Burke arrives to take the property from her to sell it to a Toxic company.

Finally 33 minutes in and an official jump scare, Roger's Ashes are on the ground, Kelly goes to touch it and a hand pops out and grabs her, then Verna arrives and the Ashes are back on the mantle. Yet another William Katt horror film with that scare. There are strange noises in the basement but this time Al the Plumber pops out. Here comes the most famous part of this film the singing pizza man arrives but its the singing pizza with a face that Kelly kills in the garbage disposal which is so famous and hilarious.

Laurel has yet to see anything creepy and probably thinks her mum is nuts. Time for a shower sequence, you got to fit it in somewhere and she is showered in blood. And the mirror says Get out or Die then she sees a burnt up Roger in the mirror. Now it's getting all creepy Nightmare on Elm street style; must be time to go to Church for Ezma's help and time for Ezma to give the exposition of the film.

OK the script writer wasn't even trying when he came up with the name of the chemical company and owner, they're called Acme Chemical and there is a load of gross our humour from Mr Grosso the owner. The henchmen go into the house in bug and snake masks and attack Laurel telling her to get out, her dog lamp comes to life and attacks them, the house tries to hurt the henchmen but they escape. Laurel ends up in hospital and begs her mum to not go back to the house so Kelly calls Burke and tells him to bring the papers.

Kelly sleeps and the sheets are pulled up around her, when she wakes up she rolls off the bed and the projector starts playing home movies, the bed breaks again and she laughs and of course changes her mind and doesn't sell the house to Burke. The two henchmen arrive with some heavy artillery but it's like a dream, well it turns out to be the house showing her what really happened the night she crashed the car. Kelly speaks to Ezma and he tells her to let it go and just go to the police but she is too angry because Burke’s Henchmen killed Roger.

Verna brings Laurel home and tries to protect her, but is knocked out and the Henchmen, who try to set fire to the house, they are turned into a snake and a bug, with very bad effects which reminds me of Dreamscape and The henchmen freak out and shoot each other and the gasoline keeps pouring out and the heat of a bullet shell ignites it. Laurel is trying to crawl out of the house, but can't and Kelly can't get to her, they choke on the smoke and Kelly wakes up with Roger telling her she needs to go back to save Laurel. The healing spring in the house breaks free puts out the fire and heals Laurel so she can walk again. (That was so predictable from the start.)

Burke is arrested in cliché fashion by Verna Klump who turns out to be FBI and Roger appears one last time as a cop and vanishes to the stars, must be one of the left over powers from his time as The Greatest American Hero.

OK that was not as bad as HOUSE 2 but not as great as the first one. The balance of comedy and horror seemed off, it never really had any scary moments and any attempts at scary were so predictable that you saw it coming a mile off including the ending. The script went through so many rewrites by different writers and the director, which could explain the lack of balance.
William Katt being in this film was an after thought and you can tell, he is just added to tie it to the first most successful film. Though on the upside it was nice to see him back in the film and for the franchise to end on a movie closer in style to the original.

What have I learnt from this series of films, well like any franchise, it is very hard to recreate the success of the first film, Comedy and horror do work well together when the balance is right and that in the 80's it was OK to experiment with styles in horror franchise, just look at Halloween, Evil Dead and even the Alien Franchise. Now the horror films lack comedy and never seem to deviate in style between films, which is why we have 7 Saw movies which are basically the same story over and over again.

I would recommend the first film and if you like that, you should check out the rest just for a laugh, they are definitely good films to watch drunk.

If you like commentaries they have provided them to all but the third film and they are fun but the fourth commentary has the added bonus of having James Cameron being called and giving his opinion on one scene.

Till next time.

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