Blu-ray Movie Review – House: Two Stories (House & House II: The Second Story)

House: Two Stories
House
Directed by Steve Miner
Original Year of Release: 1985
House II: The Second Story
Directed by Ethan Wiley
Original Year of Release: 1987
Blu-ray Set Courtesy of Arrow Video & MVD Distribution
Blu-ray Release Date: April 11, 2017

One of my fondest cinematic memories from childhood is watching HOUSE over and over again on a worn out VHS tape. I was probably 12 when I saw it for the first time, and I loved everything about it. The film is quirky and fun, all the way around, and it appealed to my thirst for dark humor and horror.

Then, HOUSE II came along, and I gave it a shot. This one is more on the campy side, with more tongue-in-cheekiness and less horror. I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the first, but as a sequel, it still has merit and quite a bit of entertainment value.

The fine folks at Arrow Video and MVD Distribution got together and recently released the definitive HOUSE collection, and it’s nothing short of fantastic. With new HD restorations of both films and some slick special features, this great-looking box set is a must-own for all fans of horror.

If you are not familiar with the HOUSE: TWO STORIES movie set, here is the description courtesy of Arrow Video & MVD Distribution:

Step inside, we’ve been expecting you! At long-last, Arrow Video is proud to present the first two installments of hit horror franchise House on Blu-ray for the first time!

In the original House, William Katt (Carrie) stars as Roger Cobb, a horror novelist struggling to pen his next bestseller. When he inherits his aunt s creaky old mansion, Roger decides that he’s found the ideal place in which to get some writing done. Unfortunately, the house’s monstrous supernatural residents have other ideas…

Meanwhile, House II: The Second Story sees young Jesse (Arye Gross) moving into an old family mansion where his parents were mysteriously murdered years before. Plans for turning the place into a party pad are soon thwarted by the appearance of Jesse’s mummified great-great-grandfather, his mystical crystal skull and the zombie cowboy who’ll stop at nothing to lay his hands on it!

From the team that brought you Friday the 13th, House and House II are era-defining horror classics now newly restored and loaded with brand new extras!

Revisiting these two films really took me back in time. I don’t know how many times I watched them as a kid, but I can still feel the chair I sat in to do so, as well as taste the Coke I sipped on at the time. Movies like this are etched forever in time for some of us, and this duo will always be in my Top Moments of a Lifetime List.

Both films look great onscreen thanks to the HD restorations. As mentioned, I used to watch HOUSE on an old VHS tape, so seeing it on Blu-ray was a huge treat. The color pops in both films, and the darkened scenes offer only minimal graininess (if any at all).

The acting in each film is just as good as I remember it. William Katt (who will forever be THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO to me) is the main character, Roger, in HOUSE, and he does a fine job. He is joined by George Wendt and Richard Moll, as well as a host of others. In HOUSE II, Arye Gross plays the lead, Jesse, and he is supported by such names as John Ratzenberger, Bill Maher, and Royal Dano. Both casts are great, and they are both a pleasure to see onscreen.

The special effects in each film are top notch (for the time period), and they look great in HD. I particularly enjoy those in HOUSE, as opposed to those in the sequel, although I’m obviously partial to the original overall. Both utilize practical effects (thankfully!), and they help add to the bizarre tone of each film.

The HOUSE: TWO STORIES movie set is a huge win for me, and every fan of 80’s horror will want to snatch this one up quick. In addition to the two great films, the collection features fantastic original cover art on the outer sleeve and a limited edition booklet with info on the whole HOUSE franchise.

The set also features some top notch special features, such as:

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
• Brand new 2K restorations of House and House II: The Second Story
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• The House Companion limited edition 60-page book featuring new writing on the entire House franchise by researcher Simon Barber, alongside a wealth of archive material

HOUSE
• 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 and creature effects artists Chris Walas, Mike Smithson, visual effects supervisor Hoyt Yeatman, and stunt coordinator Kane Hodder
• Stills Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer

MSB

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