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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • 2 Teaser trailer - House 2, House 4
  • Animated menus
  • Dolby Digital trailer
House 2: The Second Story
Force Entertainment/Force Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 84 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Following on from the relative success of House the year before, House II: The Second Story was quickly released in 1987 to capitalise. Original stars William Katt and George Wendt passed up the chance of appearing in the sequel, so a new cast and a whole new storyline was introduced. Yes the house is still there, as well as the zombies, but that is where the similarities end.

Jessie McLaughlin (Arye Gross), returns to the house as an adult, after being given away by his parents when young. They had been killed the night he left and he has now inherited the house and returns with his girlfriend. His friend Charlie (Jonathan Stark) shows up with his girlfriend in tow looking for fun. Jesse is fascinated by the history of the house and after some investigation, discovers that a mythical skull is missing from the rather strange fireplace. He hits the books and finds out that his great, great grandfather had found the skull with his partner Slim Reeser (Dean Cleverdon). Gramps and Slim had fallen out over the ownership of the skull, said to give the owner eternal life. Jesse and Charlie think the skull may be in the grave of Gramps so they head off to dig him up. Much to their horror, Gramps is still alive in the coffin and taking care of the skull.

Gramps returns to the house with the boys and sets about learning what has happened in the years he has been buried. The one thing that hasnít change though is the house. It still holds entrances to different dimensions and a way for bad guys from each dimension to come into the house to try to claim the skull.

Strangely, the second in the series of the House films is different in so many ways to the first. The characters are new, the storyline is very different and the rating is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. House warranted an R rating, perhaps unduly, but House II: The Second Story only required a PG rating. Perhaps this is due to the film being aimed at a younger audience or more due to the fact that it just isnít scary in the slightest. Thankfully though, this isnít meant to scare the pants off the viewer, the primary intention is humour and on occasions it works. The character of Charlie is intended to be the main purveyor of laughs, but he is annoying most of the time. Gramps is also intended to create a few laughs and only achieves this on a few occasions. Throw into the mix a couple of rather strange puppet creatures for the kids and itís a fun film the whole family can enjoy - well the Addams Family at any rate...

Overall this film is relatively enjoyable, it does show its age though and the form of humour used hasnít stood the test of time very well. Regardless, it is a bit of harmless fun and a horror film that will make you laugh rather than scare you, much like Arachnophobia.

  Video
  Audio
  Extras
Contract

For a film of this age, the transfer is surprisingly very good. It is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced for wide screens. Picture is quite sharp throughout, but does suffer from slight grain and lack of detail due to its age rather than through the fault of the transfer. There are some film artefacts, but again these are less than expected and are at an acceptable level. Blacks are strong and colours used are quite natural. Really for a film of this age, the picture quality is better than expected. There are no subtitles supplied with this release but none are really needed.

Audio is a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0 or 5.1. The track of choice is the DD 5.1 but please be warned, this track is quite a bit louder than the DD 2.0. Sound is reasonably clear throughout with no synch problems. The biggest gripe with this track is the separation, all speakers are used but sound is simply spread evenly across them for the most part. As was the case in the first film, sound effects such as footsteps that should come from a side or rear speaker are heard from all speakers, thankfully at least the dialogue is kept to the front speakers. The DD 5.1 is still better than the DD 2.0 track though, as it is clearer and any sound from the rear speakers is better than none. The subwoofer was not really utilised.

The extras supplied with this release are identical to those on House. Again coming into effect at the insertion of the disc there is a Theatrical Trailer for House II: The Second Story and a Teaser Trailer for House IV. These are not selectable from the main menu, but are both of pretty poor quality anyway.

Overall this is not the worst film ever made and I wouldnít recommend it as an individual purchase, but being part of a set such as this makes it worth a look. It is a bit of light fun with a horror edge, but those with a low scare factor will only enjoy the humour elements. The acting is good, the storyline reasonable and the humour acceptable, falling down only in the horror department. Being part of a series of films such as this, those that enjoy the horror/comedy films of the Ď80s will enjoy a nostalgic trip down memory lane. To see actors that have gone on to appear in other more recognisable television shows such as Ellen and Cheers also adds to the fun.


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  •   And I quote...
    "Number two in the series offers more humour than horror and takes on a whole new storyline."
    - Adrian Turvey
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS305
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-29S55AT 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DE685
    • Speakers:
          Sony SAVE815ED
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony SAVE815ED
    • Surrounds:
          Sony SAVE815ED
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony SAVE815ED
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