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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Demonic Possession > Haunted House > Thriller > House: Two Stories (1985, 1987/2-film collection/MVD Visual/Arrow Blu-ray)

House: Two Stories (1985, 1987/2-film collection/MVD Visual/Arrow Blu-ray)

Picture: B+ Sound: B Extras: B Films: B

For the first time in America, the '80s horror/comedy favorites House (1985) and House 2: The Second Story (1987) have been given the deluxe home video treatment thanks to Arrow. Featuring stellar new transfers, lots of great extras, and an incredible limited edition book on the production of the films, this is the definitive set for fans. The third and fourth installments are also available from Arrow, but are currently only available in the U.K. market. Hopefully they will bring them to the U.S. market soon as they've done with a few other great releases recently.

This was actually my first time seeing the films in quite a long time (VHS was probably the last time I saw them several years ago) and I forgot how much fun these movies are. Much in the same vein as The Twilight Zone, which is cited as an influence on one of the extras, the films feature bizarre characters and a house that is a living entity, similar to the original Poltergeist in that regard.

Both films are produced by Sean S. Cunningham (the mastermind behind the Friday the 13th franchise) and director Steve Miner (Halloween: H20) behind the lens of the first film with Director Ethan Wiley at the helm of the second.

House stars Ethan Wiley, Fred Dekker, Kay Lenz, Richard Moll, William Katt, and George Wendt.

House 2: The Second Story stars Arye Gross, Jonathan Stark, Royal Dano, Lar Park Lincoln, and John Ratzenberger.

In House, Roger Cobb (Wiley) is a tormented author who has just separated from his wife after the tragic loss of their child. Trying to get on with his life, he moves into a new house and tries to work on a novel based on his experiences in the Vietnam War. Strange things start happening around him; little things at first, but as they become more frequent, Cobb becomes aware that the house resents his presence.

In House 2, Jesse (Arye Gross) moves into the house where his parents were mysteriously murdered years before, (which seems like a pretty bad idea from the get-go but hey). With plans of turning the place into a party pad are soon thwarted by the appearance of Jesse's mummified Great Grandpa, a sinister plan is unearthed involving a ancient Aztec skull with magic powers.

As far as presentation goes, this is by far these films have ever looked! Restored in 2K from the original 35mm interpositives, the films are presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a fantastically upgraded, solid sounding, lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 track and a 2.0 stereo track, both films finding new life in the higher definition sonic world.

As with many low budget films from this era, the clarity of the format tends to work both for and against the films - with some effects not looking as good as they probably did without all of the detail. This adds to more of the charm, in my opinion, and isn't a negative. The music by Harry Manfredini is also worth noting as pretty fantastic.

As mentioned, packaged in a nice slip box and the discs is:

The House Companion - a limited edition 156-page book featuring new writing on the entire House franchise by researcher Simon Barber, alongside a wealth of archive material including cool photos from the films.

Special Features:


Audio commentary with director Steve Miner, producer Sean S. Cunningham, actor William Katt and screenwriter Ethan Wiley.

Ding Dong, You're Dead! The Making of House - brand new documentary featuring interviews with Steve Miner, Sean S. Cunningham, Ethan Wiley, story creator Fred Dekker, stars William Katt, Kay Lenz, and George Wendt, composer Harry Manfredini, special make-up and creature effects artists Barney Burman, Brian Wade, James Belohovek, Shannon Shea, Kirk Thatcher, and Bill Sturgeon, special paintings artists Richard Hescox and William Stout, and stunt coordinator Kane Hodder.

Stills Gallery

Theatrical Trailers

House II: The Second Story

Audio commentary with writer-director Ethan Wiley and producer Sean S. Cunningham.

It's Getting Weirder! The Making of House II: The Second Story - brand new documentary featuring interviews with Ethan Wiley, Sean S. Cunningham, stars Arye Gross, Jonathan Stark, Lar Park Lincoln, and Devin DeVasquez, composer Harry Manfredini, special make-up & creature effects artists Chris Walas, Mike Smithson, visual effects supervisor Hoyt Yeatman, and stunt coordinator Kane Hodder.

Stills Gallery

Theatrical Trailer

This is a great release. Recommended.

- James Lockhart



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