Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

House of Bad

By Steve Anderson
October 1st, 2014

House of BadHouse of Bad
Directed by Jim Towns
Written by Jim Towns, Scott Frazelle
Starring Heather L. Tyler, Sadie Katz, Cheryl Sands
96 mins

It's not every day you can start out talking about a movie by saying "three young women in an abandoned house with plenty of heroin", but that's just what the order of the day is in "House of Bad." The question, of course, is just how bad this is actually going to get...if at all.

"House of Bad" introduces us to three sisters, Lily, Sirah and Teig, and you know it's a dark sign when the one named after a plant has the most normal-sounding name in the bunch. Anyway, our three sisters are on the run with a positively epic amount of heroin, when they decide that the greatest place in the universe to hide out would be their old childhood home, which is currently, for some reason, abandoned. Of course, the abandoned house in question may well be abandoned thanks to its haunted nature, and in perhaps the most unnerving twist the movie can offer, it's haunted by the sisters' parents' ghosts. Now, the trio will have to survive the night, survive their parents' tormented spirits, and get out of Dodge with their ill-gotten stash of smack.

This sounds, of course, like the kind of thing one would use as evidence in considering someone's involuntary institutionalization, and if it were an elevator pitch, it would probably be the kind of thing that makes you reach for the pepper spray. And you're probably better off not asking why they would bother even trying to run a television despite it obviously not having a converter box nor it being made in this century, because it's really only here to show how thoroughly bonkers daddy was.

"House of Bad" has an odd tendency to get a little thick in the symbolism department, possibly owing to an unusual demographic shift. Admittedly, me being an only child possessed of a Y chromosome leaves me rather unclear on just how "sisters" works, but it was really rather odd from this vantage. It did, however, serve as an interesting look at the dynamics of sisterhood, and when you throw in ghosts, drugs, and a little violence, the whole package comes off reasonably well. I've seen much worse than this, and most should be comparatively happy here.

The ending is a little on the predictable side, but despite that, it's a sound and reasonable one with some more of that interesting symbolism thrown in. It works out pretty nicely in the end.

Special features here include audio options, an audio commentary track from the writer / director, a making of featurette, a promo gallery, and trailers for "No One Will Know," "Cruel Will," "Fortune Cookie Prophecies," and two trailers for "House of Bad."

"House of Bad" is nowhere near so bad as its name might imply. While it's certainly nothing spectacular, it's certainly competent enough to do the job. Those looking for a thriller with some light horror elements should do just fine here, and though there's some unusual symbolism at play here, it's got fun enough to go around.

Want to receive an expanded version of Reel Advice as an E-Newsletter?? Email to with "The Advisor" in the subject line.  Steve Andersen, much to his own chagrin, is a five-plus year veteran of the direct to video market. He has spent an alarming amount of time in video stores and seeks to provide the public with advance information on all the video releases that they may never have heard of...whether they want to hear of them or not. Steve appears in one way or another weekly, biweekly, or monthly on such fine entertainment-related ezines as Film Threat, Dream Forge, Reel Horror, Acid Logic, Chaotic Culture Magazine, Malicious Bitch webzine, and many others. Readers, agents, or editors can email Steve at

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