By John Saleeby
September 1, 2006


"House" is a Classic Horror Film, a movie of such brilliant accomplishment, stupendous technique, and magnificent creativity that . . . Wait a minute, that should be "a movie of such brilliant creativity, stupendous accomplishment, and magnificent technique . . . " No, how about "a movie of such brilliant technique, stupendous creativity . . . " Aw, I dunno - Once you've heard people talk like that about a Red Hot Chili Peppers record it just doesn't mean much any more.

It's a scandal how little recognition "House" has gotten. You wouldn't believe what a hard time I had when I tried to find it at Hollywood Video. First of all, the place was a mess. DVDs and videocassettes piled up to the ceiling, the air conditioning was down, it looked like New Orleans after another four years of Ray Nagin. Apparently the Management finally told all the black girls who had been working there to stop blasting those Disney animated musicals at a deafening volume all the time and there had been a riot. "Hey there, Feller with yer teeth all yeller! What you tryin' tuh do?!" shouted the only employee in the place as I rolled up my sleeves to dig up a copy of "House". An hour later I'd found out there wasn't a single "House" DVD or cassette in the store, I'd put the entire "Horror" section in  alphabetical order, I was somehow wearing a Hollywood Video employee's uniform, and that redneck wouldn't let me go until I mopped out the bathroom and washed all the windows. And now I gotta work there Friday night!

"House" deserves better.

"House" is the brain broiling tale of Roger Cobb (Will Katt), a nervous wreck of a man whose marriage and writing career have both been destroyed by the mysterious disappearance of his son. Divorce has really messed Roger up. Don't worry, Dude! It ain't over til the Fat Lawyer sings! The Ex Missus Cobb is played by Kay Lenz. Yeah, she's hot, but having sex with a white woman is kinda like trying to get drunk on just beer, you know what I'm sayin'? As for his son - That's one less kid that will ever have to go to school, ever have to fall in love, man, that little kid is cool! Roger plans to get back on his feet by going to live alone in the Big Spooky House where his Aunt committed suicide AND his son went missing to write a book about . . . His Experiences In The Vietnam War. Yeah, that'll get you back in shape, Roger! Why not start up a methamphetamine lab in there while you're at it? As Roger delves deeper and deeper into his wartime memories he experiences more and more frightening events until I'm pretty sure he is sitting there at his word processor typing "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." over and over again. It's so creepy it was almost the lead singer of Buck Cherry!

Katt stars with George Wendt as Roger's friendly neighbor and they are so good it's too bad they weren't in "Ghostbusters" with Bill Murray instead of Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Katt, of course, is most familiar as the Buckethead Prom Date in "Carrie" and that "Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid" prequel in which he played the younger incarnation of Robert Redford's character and George Wendt played Paul Newman's. Boy, is that a weird movie! And what the fuck was it doing in the "Horror" section?! But it proved that Katt and Wendt are a good combination and scored them starring roles in "House". Everybody remembers George Wendt from "Cheers". Or was that "Night Court"? I get all that stuff mixed up. One really good movie with George Wendt is Stuart Gordon's "King Of The Ants". That movie is so good. It is great. Anyone who does not like it is retarded. I'm only going on like this cause Wil Forbis hates "King Of The Ants". What a cool movie!

Laid Back California Dude Katt takes a basic "I just say my lines" approach to Acting although there had to be more to his performance in "House" where he spends most of his time rushing into one room after another searching for a weapon to use against something in the other room while emitting the kind of sounds Bill Clinton makes when he finds out Hillary will be coming home in about ten minutes. If George Wendt wasn't in this movie to hop over with a six pack every now and then Katt wouldn't make it halfway through. It's too bad Wendt isn't around to provide such valuable service in more movies. Like "The Exorcist" - "Hey, Regan! Father Karras! How's about a coupla brewskis?" An hour later they're all waving cans in the air and singing "The power of God compels you! The power of God compels you! Oh, yeah, Baby - The power of Gooooooooooood compels yoooouuuu!!!" and the demon decides to go to Cleveland to catch Steve And Edie that night. Good thing Roger doesn't live next door to Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown!

Okay, Auteur Theorists, I'll stop cutting up over the actors and get to the Director. "House" was directed by Steve Miner, who has directed about three hundred and twenty eight million TV shows and "Lake Placid", the movie where Betty White is feeding cows to a giant alligator. That was based on an old circus act, you know. Yeah, a car fixed up to look like a giant alligator would pull up and then two clowns in a cow suit would get out, then another two clowns in a cow suit would get out, then another two clowns in a cow suit would get out . . .  Miner's handling of this movie is particularly impressive when you find out that he was shooting with a full on comedy script. How funny could it have been? Compared to the stand up act I was doing in those days (Some guy in Italy named Fulci made a movie out of it. I don't know how it turned out) it could have been a freakin' laugh riot. But Miner made a genuinely scarey Horror movie out of that originally zany kooky script. For one thing, Roger does not wear a fake arrow through his head in every scene. (That's how you can tell the difference between Shakespeare's tragedies and his comedies, by the way.)

More info about "House"
80's Rewind Review
The good people at 80's rewind clean House.

Roger Cobb's House
A site dedicated to all the House movies

Arrow in the Head Review
Another tasty review.

The recurring flashbacks to Roger's Vietnam days are kind of cartoony, which is only appropriate considering how fucking dumb that whole mess was. I think someone should go one step beyond "Forrest Gump" and make a movie where EVERYBODY who went to Vietnam is retarded. But didn't Oliver Stone already do that with "Platoon"? The Big Star of the war scenes is Richard Moll of "Night Court" or "Cheers", maybe "Ellen". It's all a blur! Moll's character is just like Rambo only taller and less hairy. Then he comes back as a zombie. Allright! Moll is dead in real life so he's probably scaring the shit out of John Larroquette or Harry Anderson right now like he does to William Katt and George Wendt in this movie. Good for him!

My favorite scene in "House" is when the stuffed marlin hanging on the wall comes to life and starts screaming and yelling. Unfortunately for this article I'm so ignorant I thought it was a swordfish instead of a marlin and I wrote eight and a half pages of swordfish jokes like "If I was a swordfish I'd be fucking up more people than Uma Thurman in 'Kill Bill'", "Just think how funny it woulda been if Jimmy Durante had been a swordfish!", and "Are guys allowed to go spearfishing for swordfish?" But marlin? Not funny. "Marlin Brando?" Get the fuck outta here! My only complaint is that there isn't a stuffed moose head up on the wall to come to life and make crazy "Moose" jokes (Strangely enough, "House" was produced the same year as the last really funny Woody Allen movie "The Moose Mingles"). (Obscure reference lost on younger viewers - ed) Wendt would be great with that - "Hey, Mister Moose! What's going on?" They'd tell a few jokes and then Mister Moose could make a lot of Ping Pong balls fall out of the ceiling while Wendt does a slow burn. I'm sorry, Hipsters, are all these "Captain Kangaroo" references leaving you cold? Don't worry, I'll be sure to throw in a few "Edgy" Kim Gordon gags for you later.  That'll be funny for when I describe the horrible old zombie bitch that's running all over the house.

GOOD NEWS!!! They're putting together a Special 20th Anniversary Edition "House" DVD! I say we all get together and mount a grassroots movement to get at least a couple copies into every video store in the USA! If they can do it with a great big ol' piece o' nothin' like "Crash" we can surely do it with "House"! Oh, by the way, can I crash at your house? The roaches locked me out and won't let me back in until I get cable.

Oh, there is a "House 2" knocking around starring - Christ Help Us! - Bill Maher. I'll let Forbis write about that one. Right after he writes his "King Of The Ants" Motherfucking Masterpiece.

John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email -

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