Horror novelist writer Roger Cobb's life is a mess. His son has vanished, his wife has divorced them, his aunt and adoptive mother has seemingly just committed suicide, he's suffering writer's block, and has a case of post-traumatic stress disorder thanks to his tenure in The Vietnam War
. On top of everything, he's decided to stay at his aunt's inherited house, where his son vanished and that he believes is haunted by malevolent forces.
This film is a comedy.
Believing that the house is responsible for all his troubles, he moves in intending to find the truth behind it. As he unravels the mystery, he has to contend with inter-dimensional forces of darkness and his wacky neighbors.
It had three sequels. House II: The Second Story
, which was a time-travel comedy movie with a different cast and setting. House III: The Horror Show
, which was a totally unrelated film
that was a sequel In Name Only
, and House IV
- which is the only sequel to be a direct follow up to the first film.
This film contains examples of:
- Black Comedy: Very dark subject matter with a super-light tone.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The finale. Big Ben accidentally reveals his weakness and renders himself powerless against Roger. Roger shoves a grenade in his ribcage while Big Ben is helpless to do anything but sputter ineffectually.
- Genre-Busting: It has all the ingredients of a grim horror drama, but the majority of the movie is played for laughs.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Big Ben was completely unstoppable until he took Roger's son hostage, forcing Roger to overcome his fear and inadvertently revealing that Big Ben only had any power as long as Roger was afraid of him.
- Innocent Innuendo: Roger thinks his attractive neighbor his hitting on him. What she's actually doing is clumsily and strangely proposing he babysit her son.
- Nosy Neighbor: Harold thinks Roger is crazy and suicidal. Until Roger invites him over to catch a "raccoon" in the attic that is really an Eldritch Abomination.
- Oh Crap: Big Ben's reaction to accidentally rendering Roger unable to be harmed by him, covered up with panicked, ineffectual threats.
- Rasputinian Death: What Roger has to do to dispatch a demon disguised as his ex-wife.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Roger.
- Trauma Conga Line: What happened to Roger before the film starts.
- Vocal Dissonance: The "Sandy Witch," a grotesque Eldritch Abomination that talks in a high-pitched chipmunk voice.