House II: The Second Story (1987)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Aurora
|Year Of Production||1987|
|Running Time||84:13 (Case: 88)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||None Given|
New World Pictures
Beyond Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Jesse (Arye Gross) has inherited the house in this sequel. He moves in with his girlfriend Kate (Lar Park-Lincoln). Jesse’s friend Charlie (Jonathan Stark) and his pop-singer girlfriend Jana (Amy Yasbeck) show up one night, and join the 2 in their house. Looking through some relics from his relatives, Jesse stumbles upon a photograph of his great, great grandfather, with an ancient Aztec skull. After discovering where the skull is buried, Jesse and Charlie decide to dig it up. In doing so, Jesse’s zombified (is that even a word?) grandfather is exhumed, who explains the importance of the skull to Jesse. What ensues is a pretty bland film that goes for more laughs than gasps, resulting in very cheesy and forgettable PG-rated experience.
Having not seen House II for nearly as long as its sequel, I was kind of looking forward to revisiting this film, if only for nostalgia. There’s not much to this film that I enjoyed. Going from stupid to ridiculous at times, House II is not a good film, and is a terrible sequel. The thing that really worries me is that there are 2 more to come. With any luck, the R-rating on House III might save the series………one can only hope.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that like its prequel, House II: The Second Story is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced – not Pan & Scan as advertised.
Sharpness is not perfect, but this transfer fares a tad better than its predecessor. Tending to look a bit soft at times, the overall sharpness was a minor flaw of little concern. Shadow detail and black levels were quite strong, but again lacked the detail of a newer print, which is to be expected. Very light grain was present throughout most of the film's running time, which is to be expected and is nothing to worry about.
Colours seemed fairly good for the most part, if only slightly subdued, which is again put down to the age of the print.
MPEG artefacts seemed non-existent, but light film artefacts such as dirt, hairs and scratches were fairly frequent throughout. They never stood out enough to become distracting, and were to be expected due to the age of the print.
We are given the choice of watching House II: The Second Story with a very loud Dolby Digital 5.1 track or in Dolby Digital 2.0. I predominantly watched the film in 5.1, switching to 2.0 at certain times throughout. I would go with the 5.1 track, as the 2.0 was not quite as clear.
Dialogue was fairly clear overall, never distorting or becoming unintelligible, but some of the screams made me wince a bit at times. The quality of the audio was not as clear as I would have liked, and the volume levels were way too loud. I had to turn my amp down to about 9, whereas a normal Dolby Digital 5.1 track works best at around 15 on my amp. There were no problems with audio sync at all throughout the entire running time.
The score by Harry Manfredini was actually the best part of the soundtrack, as it was supported nicely by all channels, with some satisfactory low-end.
Surround channel usage is where the main problem occurs with the 5.1 mix. The channels are quite active, but it is the actual placement of sound effects that is poorly mixed. Any sound effect, such as footsteps or a door opening, that should only be mixed to the centre and/or front channels is heard coming from all speakers. It appears that every element of the soundtrack, except for dialogue, has been spliced into 5 separate mono tracks. There is no directionality in the surrounds, and it was quite disappointing overall.
The subwoofer had a bit of work to do, but it was only really used to support the film's score. There were chances for the sub to kick in, such as gunfire and other sound effects, but unfortunately it was underused. I would still stick with the 5.1 mix, if only for the music score.
|Surround Channel Use|
The exact same trailer as on the first disc. It's weird that this trailer is on both discs, but no trailers for the first or third films are to be found so far.
The same trailer as on the first disc.
The main menu consists of a shot of the house from the film, which is frequently struck by lightning. Rain and thunder supports the animations, with the same eerie sounds and screams from the first film's main menu. The film's title is to the left of the house, in a flashing animated font, which sits above a picture of the Aztec skull.
One of the blander Dolby Digital trailers, although it is one of my favourites.
Only the first two films of the series have been released on DVD in Region 1. The Region 1 DVD for House II: The Second Story misses out on a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.
As with the prequel's DVD, the commentary track is apparently not the best ever recorded, but is still a regrettable omission which makes the Region 1 version a clear winner. However, the box set is unavailable in Region 1, so it's a bit of a mixed bag. If you only want the first two films, go with Region 1. If you are a fan of all four films, then the Region 4 box set is the way to go. If you're a completist, you'll want to snag both versions to get extras plus the entire series.
The video transfer is quite good for its age.
The audio transfer is a bit disappointing, due to a poor surround mix.
The extra features are unfortunately disappointing, especially knowing what is on the Region 1 version.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-525, using Component output|
|Display||Teac 82cm 16x9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||5 Sony speakers; Sherwood 12" 100w Powered Subwoofer|