House II: The Second Story (1987) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
80 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Fun, campy 1980s horror/comedy/western.
slapayoda24 April 2005
This film is a fun, under-watched gem from the 80s. Fans of the first House have a lot to enjoy here. Certainly one of the only horror/comedy/westerns I can think of, but it works well in this picture. Don't expect Citizen Kane, but if you're looking for an enjoyable little flick, you won't be disappointed.

Interestingly, this film follows in the footsteps of the original House by casting a member of Cheers in a small role. In House, it's George Wendt, and in this film we get an amusing, if brief, appearance by John Ratzenberger. Jonathan Stark puts in an amusing performance as the Jim Carrey-esquire buddy, and Bill Maher shows up as well.
18 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great Sequel
This non-related sequel is so sweet-natured, so tame and family orientated that to assume otherwise is completely ludicrous. There is nothing in this movie that could possibly rate it above a PG, max. I wouldn't even have reservations letting younger children watch House 2.

A new house has a 20-something yuppie called Jesse (Arye Gross) move in with his girlfriend Kate (Lar Park-Lincoln). His friend Charlie (Jonathan Stark), a music agent, arrives with his new diva discovery Jana (Amy Yasbeck) to help him thru the unfamiliar first few days. The house is where Jesse's parents were killed when he was just a baby and it full of many curiosities.

Crafted in a bizarre Gothic-Aztec style the house itself is a marvellous set and the many rooms and passages are as mysterious to us as they are to Jesse. Sitting on one of his many mantelpieces is a crystal skull that fascinates him for some reason. He even misses his housewarming party while studying the skull's history.

His studies lead him to dig up the grave of his great, great grandfather, or Gramps (Royal Dano), where he discovers the old coot isn't dead just in limbo. The person who possesses the skull is granted eternal youth but it also warps the space-time continuum within the House.

Gramps comes home with Jesse, is more enthralled by Kleenex boxes and TV than the mysteries around him and ducks for cover whenever someone from another time comes to steal the skull. Just like the first movie different rooms lead into different time zones. Jesse and Charlie have many hilarious adventures battling caveman, dinosaurs, Aztecs an evil cowboy called Slim. The one that killed Jesse's parents and betrayed Gramps over a century ago.

House 2 has so much careless abandon and zany plot twists that it is totally impossible not to love this movie. The huge success of the first movie meant that this one was put into production literally and hour later and Ethan Wiley was given the budget and green light to do whatever he wanted. How often does happen today? Usually it would make for a bad movie considering this was the first movie Wiley directed. But it makes for an unusually cute and light-hearted supernatural romp.

One of the weaker aspects of this sequel is that it has more SFX and animation by Phil Tippet's stop-motion workshop and less by Dreamquest. The matte paintings are gorgeous but the dated dinosaurs look hokey in a few shots. If you can just squint during these moments you won't notice.

Bill Maher from TV's "Politically Incorrect" even manages to show up as a music producer who is interested in Yasbeck and mighty suspicious of Jesse's antics. John Ratzenberger (this makes both movies star one of the "Cheers" barflies) appears as a repairman/adventurer who assists Jesse and Charlie battle some Aztecs. Look out for Kane Hodder (Jason) in an ape costume. Jesse adopts a fluffy, little baby pterodactyl and a strange creature called a Caterpuppy, a cross between...well you know. You need an open mind and a suspension of disbelief to swallow the outrageous goings on in this movie.

The commentary is better than the one on the first movie. Ethan Wiley and Cunningham get on well and have no quibbles pointing out how crazy the film is. They discuss the budget, tell tales of the late Royal Dano and explain how many of the effects were pulled off within the constraints of the budget. One of the most interesting things they mention is that even tho the movie was stuck in between The Color Purple and Beverly Hills Cop II the kids still preferred House 2 as their fave movie of the summer. But because the movie didn't have it's own opening weekend, unlike the original, it wasn't as successful. Didn't stop 2 more sequels being made. A theatrical trailer is also included.

Much like the first film the picture has been brilliantly transferred onto DVD. The 1.85:1 anamorphic picture looks super with very few glitches. Colors are rendered with pleasant accuracy and you wouldn't believe the low-budget origins when judging this picture. There is some grain during darker scenes but other than this the movie is looking great.

The Mono soundtrack is not terribly engaging and most of the film's sound is centre-channel biased. But there's no hiss or pop to worry about. It may be Mono but it's clean and fresh sounding to me.
33 out of 41 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"Looks like you've got some kind of alternate universe in there or something."
Backlash00728 March 2002
House II: The Second Story (no pun intended, I'm sure) is a great example of lighthearted horror. I've loved this movie since I was a kid. I applaud Ethan Wiley, who also wrote the original, for making a sequel that is good enough to carry on the House name. A lot of people are blown away by the fact that this movie has nothing to do with Roger Cobb or his house. But what they were trying to do with this series was to inspire an anthology of haunted house movies, and not staying with the same house. Although having nothing to do with the original, House II still manages to continue its inventive legacy. For example, look at the scene where the cupboard pops open to reveal an ironing board. That's a conventional horror scare tactic and yet, it's not a cat that popped out. It's more creative than most genre pictures. Another tradition they seemed to maintain was having a Cheers cast member in the film. This time it's John Ratzenberger. Did you ever think you'd see Cliff Clavin fighting amazon warriors? House II is a very funny film too. There's more comedy in this one, but it's not over the top.

The cast helps to make the comedy work. Royal Dano gives a great performance as the kindhearted Gramps. He plays the funny parts just right, and has those sad eyes in other scenes that make you feel sorry for his character. The comical tag team of the heroes, Arye Gross (Soul Man) and Jonathon Stark (Fright Night) works well. But what in the hell is Bill Maher doing in this movie? And why wasn't he killed? The best lines of dialogue are between Jonathon Stark and Bill Maher:

Maher: "Who's your friend, Bozo the Clown?"

Stark: "No, Bozo the Death Machine."

And I can't forget to mention Harry Manfredini's score. It holds the movie together no matter what scenario you've just been thrown into. House II deserves more respect than it gets because it's a good horror/comedy (which is rare)...and your kids can enjoy it too.

Note for genre buffs: Kane Hodder was the stunt coordinator for House II and did a cameo as the gorilla guy. Dwier Brown, who plays Clarence, appeared in the first House as the Lieutenant in the Vietnam scenes.
12 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Creative story, good acting = Well worth watching!!
JetAviator8 June 2002
If you liked Army of Darkness... you will want to see this movie!

This movie is a comedy, horror, fantasy type similar to "Army of Darkness". House 2 however, has nothing to do with the original release of "House". It is a stand alone movie. Good acting and a creative story line make this well worth watching!
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This movie is worth watching for the caterpuppy alone...
mjshannon26 May 2000
I love this movie because it just keeps getting goofier and goofier and throws all sorts of disparate elements into the mix. You have the the great old mansion, you have the nutty friend, you have the obligatory 1980's party segment but you also have alternative universes, pterodactyls, feuding Wild West zombified cowboys and one of the cutest creations in filmdom the caterpuppy!! Arye Gross is right for the lead and has great comic timing,Jonathan Stark is very funny as Gross' wacky party buddy and Royal Dano takes the prize as Gross' zombified great-great grandfather who had discovered a crystal skull that creates all the ensuing havoc!There are also two great supporting roles for John Ratzenburger(from Cheer's) as an electrician/adventurer and Politically Incorrect's Bill Maher as a smarmy record exec. Watch out for some imaginative special effects that bring to mind the work of Ray Harryhausen (like the skeletal horse ridden by Royal Dano's nemesis) and the super cute caterpuppy! If every scene doesn't work it hardly matters as it is always an enjoyable and wild ride. Watch this for a dose of imaginative fun.
15 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Classic gem!
jackdremel11 February 2013
I was always a fan of the first House movie and recently found out about the sequel's existence. I checked it out and within the first 10 minutes I knew I was in for a hell of a ride. This movie is so crazy and unpredictable. I found myself loving the characters and laughing at small little things here and there. Those are the kind of movies I like. When you can find little hidden lines and actions that make you laugh.

I think the movie is done really well. At first I thought it was going to be a B Grade mess, but much like the first film they did a great job with the puppets, make up, and stop-motion scenes. There's just an added charm that comes with special effects that don't use computers. In fact, if there's one thing this movie has an abundance of it's charm. The actors looked like they were having fun and were perfect for their roles.

This definitely barely qualifies as a horror movie. It's more like a comedy or family flick. Or a comedic Indiana Jones in a haunted mansion setting. I would watch this with my little cousins who are around 7 years old, but I think anyone can enjoy this film. I'm 29 and I loved it lol. Definitely worth the watch!
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great Movie for Everyone!
daktal420sbaby24 December 2011
This is a great movie I watched as a kid. My husband and I found it on Netflix recently and sat down and watched it with the family. My eight year old loves it! I rank it up there with something like The Monster Squad. Some edgy subjects for kids but a really cool movie nonetheless. I can't believe this movie has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It's a classic! I sit and watch it as an adult, and OK, it's very cheesed and there are several plot holes, but it's still a really good concept. My husband even jokes about using it for a D&D campaign. The first house still has it's merits and I haven't seen any other sequels, but I like them both as sequels and on their own.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
House II - The Second Story is a great sequel!
Movie Nuttball14 August 2001
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the great movies of the 80s in MY collection that I think about all the time.

Spoiler Warning

Sequels sometimes doesn`t match their prequels but this one sure does.Of course it really doesn`t follow the first one but that doesn`t matter to ME.The beginning is so creepy when first see Tex. Jesse jr. moves in his deceased parents` house and his friend stays with him.They see in a old book that there is an old aztec crystal skull in his Grandfather`s grave in the cemetary near by.They go and dig it up and we find out he isn`t dead yet.He says to them they can call him Gramps.He moves in the house and puts the skull on top of the fire place.Gramps warns Jesse and and his friend that they must protect it from the forces of evil.They get to know each other become and family and Gramps tells that he fought Tex long ago and that he has been in the before.Through out the film we see acient aztec warriors,dinosaurs,the old west and among other time periods. Its really a good movie.Its one of MY favorites.

This has 2 more sequels and a prequel but the first two is MY favorite ones.

If you like a movie about haunted houses that have lot of time travelling then is for you!
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Pretty Good for a Sequel!
Taiyo10 December 1998
Another house, another set of house-guests. Although the first few scenes make you wonder if the movie was worth seeing, you're soon captivated by this movie. "House II" continues the comedic tradition set forth in the first "House". Arye Gross is as excellent as ever as Jesse, the new owner of the house, and Jonathan Stark, best known for his voice abilities in animated shows, is without equal in his role as Jesse's quirky and weird friend Charlie.

This movie will take you from the Wild West to the ancient Aztecs to the Crustaceous Period to the present time (October 30, 1986 in the movie). Charlie and Jesse get involved in one absolutely hilarious adventure after another. Like "House I", this movie is horror with a comedy bent, and doesn't have the nudity, language, or extreme violence that categorized most horrors of the eighties. It's good, clean fun. Sure, there's a few long-dead guests, but they're basically harmless. Add to the thrill some humorous, and well-done, special effects, and some interesting new pets, and you've got a winner!

If you enjoy "House II", it would be worth your while to check out "The Never-Ending Story" -- they work on a similar bent of fantasy and comedic special effects to catch your interest. Some viewers may also enjoy movies like "The Adventures of Pecos Bill". and more die-hard horror fans might also like "Tales From the Crypt Presents Demon Knight"
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Silly Fantasy Adventure
claudio_carvalho24 March 2018
Jesse (Arye Gross) moves to his biological parents' house with his girlfriend Kate (Lar Park Lincoln) and soon he hosts his friend Charlie (Jonathan Stark) with his girlfriend. Jesse reads old documents and decides to go to the local cemetery with Charlie to unbury his grand grand grandfather to seek out an ancient powerful Aztec skull. They reanimate Gramps (Royal Dano) that soon befriends Jesse and Charlie. But demons cross gateways in the house to retrieve the magic skull and Jesse and Charlie need to go to other dimensions to retrieve the skull and keep Gramps alive.

"House II: The Second Story" is a silly fantasy adventure based on the first House with new characters. The plot is a comedy with silly (and some of them also funny) moments but never a sequel of the first film. There are many points without a solution but the film is entertaining and cult. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "House II - A Casa do Espanto" ("House II - The Frightening House")
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Don't take this one seriously or you'll never get out alive...
BlooperReel21 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers

Others have panned this one as "forced" and "stupid." I could not disagree more! I absolutely loathed the original 'House' movie, and found the second one to be a wonderful mix of Quality Silly and pretty decent storytelling.

Heck... Where else are you going to come across an electrician who keeps a sword in his tool kit, and is a cross-dimensional adventurer at heart, or someone wrestling with a baby pteranodon -- or 'pterodactyl' if you prefer -- for a crystal skull?

Sure, the film has its weak points. The ending could have been expanded on, perhaps even re-done, and I'll never stop wanting better FX. 'House II,' though, makes for a good watch, and I don't give a flying banana what the other 'critics' say about it.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Not very good a drop from the original, but it's still fun and watchable.
blanbrn7 September 2007
1987's "House II: The Second Story" really isn't that good of a horror film really more of a screwball spoof comedy that's cheap made and it doesn't follow the originals plot and the storyline is much different with unheard of actors at the time. You have a story that revolves around a murder that took place in a house 25 years ago, then it picks up to the present day with Jesse(Arye Gross) all grown up so he returns to his house where his parents were murdered too. Soon after moving in the old mansion style home with his close friend party animal and craved sex guy Charlie(Jonathan Stark) they discover the history and treasures of the house, and that Jesse's grandfather was an old west legend with a storied past. Yet that past comes back to haunt them after grandpa returns to life as an old friend he had a falling out with returns to settle the score old western gunfire style! Really the movie is campy and has a lot of funny parts not a lot of fright, and many of the stars were not well known. Yet some memorable cameos include now political spin talker Bill Maher as a record promoter, and "Playboy" POTM miss June 1985 the sexy Spanish and Cajun beauty Devin Devasquez she has a small part. Really nothing great but always watchable especially late at night for some entertainment fun.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I Drank With a Zombie
Minus_The_Beer24 January 2011
Fun but dumb, "House II: The Second Story" is an altogether different tale than that of the original "House," starring William Katt. In the second installment, a yuppie couple (Arye Gross and Lar Park Lincoln) inherit a mansion, only to discover an alternate universe inside. Hijinks ensue when the lucky owner reunites with his undead great-great-grandfather and, along with his goofy buddy, battles baby pterodactyls, angry outlaws and Bill Maher.

Although a character in "Scream 2" cites the film as a superior sequel, "House II" does little to one-up its predecessor. Taking on a much lighter tone and with little to no violence, this sequel is more like a campy spoof of the first film, which in and of itself was a silly affair. No worries, though, as once you know what to expect, you can have a good time with the film. The performances across the board are light-hearted and fun, with plenty of lovable goofballs to go around (a sequel concerning these characters would be a good time). The score by Harry Manfredini is most memorable, as you'll be humming the film's main theme not long after the credits have rolled.

Writer/director Ethan Wiley may not have created much of a horror film, but his blend of the supernatural and absurd with a hint of Western makes for a winning recipe that just can't be matched. Those expecting bloodshed and jump-scares will be left in the cold, but perhaps with a few drinks in hand and with the right expectations, you'll find "House II: The Second Story" a film deserving of the title "cult classic."
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great Sequel
The Creeper25 December 2001
First Off, For people Who Say this Film as Nothing to do With the Original...That is wy the Call i "The Second Story"!! Second as in Different or as in Next. I Think this Film is Not Horror or Comedy as Most people Say, But more Like Fantasy. I say Fantasy because There are (And This Could Spoil Parts of the Film) Scenes where they Travel back to the Prehistoric ages, Parts where a Group of Head Hunters Capture the Sacred Scull (Which the Entire Film Revolves Around), and, Of Course, an Unforgettable Ending, Where most of the Horror Comes From. Would I Recommend House II: The Second Story to Someone? Most Certainly. It's Great fun for the Whole Family (and Unlike the First One, very little Violence) Grade: A.
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
House of fun :-)
TheMadButcher8 February 2009
I think this one of the not too many funny horror movies from the 80's.

As a horror 'die' hard in the 80's I've seen a lot of crappy horror movies, a lot of good, scary movies but just a few horror movies with such a comedic background in th story.

It is still great to look at the movie now, more than 20 years later. Although the scary effects of the 80's are less than today.

The most fun is the old grandpa who seems to find all kind of ways to get into crazy situations all the time.

And the crystal skull is great! I've tried to get one of those after I saw the movie the first time. And finally after 12 years found one that was payable for me :)
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Nothing to do with House, but still great
BandSAboutMovies12 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Ethan Wiley, who injected the humor into the original House script, returns to direct the sequel, which comes from a story by Fred Dekker that Wiley adapted. If you disliked the comedy in the original film, well, get ready. This one has no interest in being serious.

Prologue: a young couple gives up their child before an undead gunman murders them in their mansion. That baby grows up to be Jesse (Arye Gross, who was the original voice of Kevin Arnold on The Wonder Years before Daniel Stern took over), who decides to move back into that house with his girlfriend Kate (Lar Park Lincoln, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood). They're soon joined by goofball friend Charlie (Jonathan Stark, Fright Night) and his wannabe rock star girlfriend Lana (Amy Yasbeck, who met husband John Ritter on the set of Problem Child).

Jesse has insomnia, which leads to him digging through the basement. He discovers a photo of his great-great-grandfather (Royal Dano, who starred in plenty of cowboy films) standing in front of an Aztec temple with a crystal skull in his hand. In the background is Slim Reeser, his one-time partner turned enemy over the ownership of the skull.

At this point, anyone would be happy to discover this photo and move on with their life. But that's normal life. Here, Jesse and Charlie decide to dig up his ancestor's grave to find the skull. Imagine their surprise when Gramps is still alive inside his coffin. Compound that with the fact that he wants to bond with his grandson.

It turns out that the house was built with stones from an Aztec temple and that it contains gateways into other time periods with the skull acting as the remote control, if you will. The forces of evil are drawn to the skull, though, so the boys better be ready to defend it.

Meanwhile, a Halloween party ends up with the boys losing their girls and an appearance by Bill Maher as a record exec. A caveman also attacks the party guests looking for a skull and a baby pterodactyl and a caterpillar-dog come along for the ride.

To compound the film's weirdness, Bill (John Ratzenberger, who like George Wendt in House was a star on TV's Cheers) comes to inspect the wiring, but he's really an adventurer with a sword in his toolbox. He leads the guys through a portal - he's incredibly nonchalant about the proceedings - and helps them save a virgin who is about to be sacrificed.

During a meal where Jesse embraces his new family - yes, a family that includes a dinosaur and a dog-headed caterpillar - Slim makes his return, rising out of a serving dish. He shoots Gramps, who reveals that this is the man who killed Jesse's parents. Jesse defeats the evil gunfighter, but can't save Gramps, who tells him that its time to say goodbye.

The cops come to the house, alerted by all the gunfire, and prepare to fire on Jesse. He uses the skull to go back in time to the Old West, taking his friends and pets with him. The film ends with him burying Gramps and using the crystal skull to make his grave, as he follows the old man's dying advice and doesn't become addicted to the skull's magic.

House 2 is something else. It's never sure what kind of movie it wants to be, but it gets so strange that you just feel like you have to go along for the ride. The scenes with Bill are great fun and the ending drama always makes me tear up. And you have to love the caterpuppy.

If you're confused by the fact that this movie has nothing to do with the original House, the way the movie was released in Italy is going to blow your mind.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Pleasantly surprised.
warrenth30 March 2010
For a movie that has almost no "names" attached, this is surprisingly good. The actors are well cast, their characters are charming, and the jokes are well paced. It takes itself just seriously enough that you don't feel insulted by the storytelling.

You can't have the wrong expectations. I think if you've seen the first and are expecting something similar you will be disappointed. I do however think this is a very well put together film. The pacing is solid, the comedy is more well done than a lot of big budget comedy from around the same time, and there are some well done quirky moments that really elevate the experience.

The main area that it falls down is the lack of depth. There is maybe one moment that really touches something real, but it's brief. The rest is straight adventure. But it's well done. Given the choice between seeing this again or re-watching the new Indie movie about crystal skulls, I'd choose this since it's at least as entertaining but doesn't let you down like Indie did.

The last criticism is perhaps the most damning. This is not a must see movie. If you live your entire life without seeing it, you'll be fine. I don't really even recommend it. But if you do watch it, I recommend you enjoy it for what it is and don't lament that it isn't better.

I would recommend it for kids 9-12. It's perfect for that age. Kind of scary, plenty of snicker and giggle moments. Plenty of cute. Plenty of weird.

There may be some language but it's situation appropriate and pretty tame. No nudity, a little cleavage, nothing you won't see on a visit to the mall.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
House of Misbegotten Boredom
Bogmeister25 May 2006
This House tale has nothing to do with the first "House" of a couple of years earlier and doesn't really qualify as a sequel even as it tries to capture some of that same wry humor, but it doesn't stand well on its own, being mostly non-sensical. Plot has to do with another house, this one with Aztec-influenced architecture, also with other-dimensional passages now and then. Some ghost or demon has been after a special skull for unknown reasons, killing the main character's parents 25 years earlier. The main character (Gross) goes after the jewel-covered skull by digging up an ancestor's grave and ends up resurrecting his great great grandpa (Dano) as a 100+ year old zombie. The pic then dwells on this old dude in unfunny scenes, but Gross and his buddy (Stark) also show why they never had great careers in the movies. The cast is uniformly lame throughout. It also all seems to be an excuse to have a few scenes in a prehistoric jungle, with brief dinosaur FX. Bill Maher shows up in a small role; he made his mark later in his Politically Incorrect & HBO shows. Oddly enough, the main connection to the previous film is that another actor from the "Cheers" TV show plays a part (Ratzenberger here; Wendt in the first one). The old guy's nemesis finally shows up near the end, still after that skull. It's all poorly paced and exceedingly dull, failing at the humor and just plain stupid - unless you're 6 or 7 years old, maybe.
11 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A House for the Kids
Cyber25670200030 July 2009
Jesse and his girlfriend move into an old mansion that his parent died in 25 years ago. He starts to learn about his past through old books in the basement and learns of his great grandfather who was an adventure and found a crystal skull. Jesse decides that he is going to find the crystal skull with the help of his friend Charles, but he soon finds more than he bargained for.

House was a quirky horror comedy in the vain of Evil Dead, House 2 drops all the horror and bumps up the comedy and becomes more of a goofy kids movie in the vain of The Goonies. The monsters in this one are for the most part non-threatening cute puppets and such and the comedy is mostly bizarre (why does Charles have an uzi?, Why is the electrician an adventurer?) Nothing really makes sense, but the random nature makes it funny.

This film is also more of an adventure film in which the house opens up portals into other time periods which gives the film an overall episodic feel and keeps things a bit fresh and interesting.

The acting isn't very good, but in a film like this it doesn't need to be. The special effects are fairly good and I loved the cute monster puppets and stop motion effects.

House 2 is a stupid movie, I can't see fans of the first movie liking the second one to well. It has almost nothing in common with the first one, there are no returning characters and even the house is different. But I still kind of liked it, maybe even better than the first. This one is more for kids than adults, but if you like bizarre random humor, you might get a kick out of this.

** out of ****
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Good Parts + Random Junk = Mediocrity
lee-p-sherman12 January 2010
The enjoyable parts prevent this from being a truly bad film, but only just. The original "House" probably never made anyone's list of top horror movies, but it's entertaining in its own, modest way. I can't say the same for "House II." Nor can I honestly say it's a sequel. It doesn't feature any of the characters from the original. It's also a completely different house. The house in "House" was built on a weak spot between our world and the world of the dead, while the house in "House II" was built at the crossroads of time and space. This is, I believe, an important distinction. There doesn't seem to be any reason for calling this "House II," except to justify the clever subtitle.

But that's not the only problem. The filmmakers clearly didn't know what kind of film they wanted to make, and the result is a jumbled mess. It starts off promising, and is shaping up to be a good haunted-house horror film when it suddenly and inexplicably becomes a fantasy-adventure comedy, during which time the ghost that the movie once seemed to be centered around is never seen and hardly mentioned. Then, after the viewer has adjusted to the new premise, the ghost comes back, and none of the threads brought up during the middle part are properly resolved. It's all pushed aside for a dramatic dénouement, followed by a final scene that raises further questions rather than answering any of the many existing ones.

I should also add that this movie contains several insults to the viewer's intelligence, which I wouldn't excuse even if it were an out-and-out comedy. In one scene, our hero falls hundreds of feet, but falls into a portal that lets him out right above the floor in his own house. The problem is that his momentum shouldn't change, so he should still be dead. In another scene, a zombie is strangled until he loses consciousness. Just think about that one for a moment.

So why did I give this an average review? Because there are good points. It's original, for starters. It may be hugely disjointed with little internal logic, but at least it isn't just retreading old clichés. It features characters who you care about, because they're fairly believable and interesting. It boasts special effects that are well above par for 1987, and some visually intriguing scenes and designs. The humor, as misplaced as it may be at times, is often quite funny. And, above all, there is John Ratzenberger as "Bill Towner, electrician and adventurer." The part with him is just great, not just because of his performance, but the way his character is written, and the sequence's juxtaposition of the banal and the otherworldly. Sadly, he's only in that one scene. If the movie had begun and ended with him, it could have been an '80s fantasy comedy classic (but still wouldn't really be a sequel to "House"). Actually, there are at least three different movies in here, all of which could have been good if they hadn't been thrown together to form a single, unfocused movie.

"House II" isn't a winner, nor is it a complete waste of time. Watch it if the things I've described have piqued your curiosity, but don't expect it to be too entertaining overall.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A waste of 88 minutes
disconnected8817 January 2006
As hard as it is to troll through all the years of terrible films I've seen, I do not think it is unreasonable to say that House II is the single worst movie i have ever seen. It was worse than the first one even.

The film starts semi promisingly with a couple moving into a massive mansion, which looks like a castle. In the middle of the night Jess can't sleep, so he gets up and wanders around. After hearing a sound, he explores, and the dud jump scene ruins any hope of some good horror. From this point onwards the film becomes awash in the sort of feeble storyline and bad acting that leaves the audience screaming in frustration. The plot flies follows no apparent path, and the action leaps from pre-historic settings, to Aztecs, back to reality, to the wild west so quickly that one wonders how the film received funding at all.

The reason I did not give this film 1 out of 10 is because it did have some moments of comedy, both physically and verbally. Unfortunately there is absolutely no horror, and what little comedy there is quickly falls flat. This film is a waste of both the $1.50 per month rental fee and the 88 minutes spent watching.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
dem0nic12 July 2004
I have no idea why this movie has a higher rating then House 3 (a.k.a The Horror Show) which is actually quite good. .

House 2 is on the other hand is quite possibly one on the worst horror sequels you will ever see, if you don't believe me then try watching it..


IMO the original House and House 3 are the only good movies in the entire series.
8 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Entertaining Sequel
Michael_Elliott5 September 2017
House II: The Second Story (1987)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Jesse (Arye Gross) inherits his family's old house and soon he learns about a mysterious legend surrounding a crystal skull. Pretty soon his long dead grandpa (Royal Dano) is alive and they must look for the skull as well as battle the creatures who also want it.

In 1985 HOUSE was released to some rather good reviews and the film ended up doing quite well at the box office. Of course, that means a sequel was bound to follow and two years later came HOUSE II: THE SECOND STORY. Unlike a lot of sequels that just try to copy the formula of the first film, this one here at least tried to actually deliver a "second story" and for the most part this was an entertaining picture.

As was the case with the first movie, this one here does a nice job at mixing up the horror and comedy elements. I'd argue that this one here is much more comedy than the previous film but there's nothing wrong with that and especially since we get some pretty good bits here. I must say that the grandpa character was a lot of fun and made for some funny scenes and especially early on when he tries to get re- connected in a world that he's been away from for a hundred years.

Gross makes for a good lead here and manages to keep you entertained through his character's journey. Jonathan Stark is also good as his friend who goes along for the adventure. Dano is the real standout here as he does a wonderful job in the role of the grandpa who is basically a zombie. THe supporting cast includes Bill Maher, John Ratzenberger and Lar Park-Lincoln.

HOUSE II: THE SECOND STORY certainly shows its "B" movie roots but that's not a bad thing. The creature designs are quite good and for the most part the film is entertaining enough to make it worth watching.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
teodeceglie19 March 2008
I was sure to find the usual negative for the classic'80s horror film. This site is safe meet in negative judgment on a horror film. All horror movies suck, we do not save one, is crazy. Detestate: prom night, Creepshow, society exception etc. The film is very nice. A good comedy horror 80 years, beautiful women, good special effects for the time, we are just irony and the classic'80s horror film. This film in Italy was also known as the home of Helen. A good film for the period. Go now to see the crimes of black cat and I am sure that meet a new negative judgment. Next time when dell'iscrizio remember that horror films on the site are all rejected.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fun and entertaining
jbullock825 May 2014
This is a light-hearted film. Don't expect a traditional horror film. This is more of a fantasy comedy with some horror imagery. With a description like that, you should not approach this film too seriously. Do not try to make sense of the plot, just enjoy the ride. It is rarely scary, occasionally sweet, often hilarious and constantly amusing. Fans of the original shouldn't expect the same experience as this is not as brilliant as the first. It cuts back significantly on the horror, both in atmosphere and imagery. There are only one or two scenes that could be thought of as horror scenes. However, if you liked the practical special effects and the over the top sense of humor of the first, you will still find something to enjoy in this film as well.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed