House IV (1992)

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Released 7-Aug-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Trailer-House II
Theatrical Trailer
Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Aurora
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 89:50 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor
Sean S. Cunningham
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring William Katt
Terri Treas
Scott Burkholder
Case Click-Double
RPI Box Music None Given


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    After sitting through two sequels that didn’t tie into each other – let alone the original film they are sequels of - I was not holding high hopes for this third sequel, House IV, as a film. With William Katt’s character Roger Cobb back for the first time since the original, there was a hope that maybe House IV would be at least a worthy sequel. Well, that hope dies only 10 minutes in along with Cobb (who gets second top billing) in a car accident, which leaves his daughter a paraplegic to be looked after by his now-widowed wife. If that wasn’t enough, the House – which again looks mysteriously different to the one in the first film – is now located in the middle of nowhere, with a dirt road, and no neighbours at all. What happened to the suburban setting from the prequels? There is also no mention of how Roger and his wife met, nor his daughter, who looks to be older than the gap between the first and fourth films. No mention is made of his dead son, who featured during flashbacks in the first film, nor of any other character from any of the other films. I don’t mean to nitpick, but shouldn’t sequels have something in common with their prequels? Also gone is the only element (besides title) that tied all three prequels together. Horror. The only scene that barely resembles the mood of the first film involves a fight between a pizza and Cobb’s wife. In fact, that’s the only scene I enjoyed in this poor sequel, which seemed totally out of place amongst the otherwise-serious tone of the film.

    After watching House II, House III and now House IV, my opinion of the original film has grown a bit, in that it was at least entertaining and worth watching more than once. I guess the second film at least seemed like a sequel, kind of. Well at least it had zombies, and was made with the same sense of not taking itself seriously that made the first film good. But these final two sequels bear no resemblance to the first film, and should have been stand-alone films, not crammed into the same box as the other two. I am aware that the entire series still has its fans out there, and if you’re one of them, disregard my criticisms of continuity and tone, and go get this box set. But if you enjoyed the first film, and are interested in seeing its sequels, you have been warned.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video transfer for House IV is quite good, and it is the best transfer out of all four films.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find out that like its prequels, House IV is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced – not Pan & Scan as advertised.

    Sharpness is quite good, creating a bit more detail in certain scenes than was visible in the prequels. Shadow detail and black levels were quite strong, which was important due to the number of dark scenes in this movie. The grain that slightly marred the prequels is not present on this disc.

    Colours were good for the entire film, appearing to be as strong as the third film.

    MPEG artefacts were non-existent, and also not present were film artefacts such as dirt, hairs and scratches that appeared during the prequels. Overall, this is the best transfer of all four films.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio transfer was also very similar to the transfer on the first three discs, in that it is active but badly mixed.

    We are given the choice of watching House IV 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. The quality of the audio was better than that on first two discs, and on par with House III. 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 more work to do for this film, again on par with House III, but it was still best used to support the film's score.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailer - House 2 (1.19)

    The exact same trailer as on the first three discs.

Trailer - House 4 (1.45)

    The same trailer as on the first two discs, but at least it is relevant here.

Menu Animation & Audio

    The main menu consists of a shot of the house from the film, which is frequently struck by lightning. Rain and thunder supports the animation, with the same eerie sounds and screams as on the main menus on the other discs. The film's title is to the left of the house, in a flashing animated font.

Dolby Digital Trailer - Aurora (0:33)

    One of the more bland Dolby Digital trailers, although it is one of my favourites.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

      House IV is currently unavailable on DVD in Region 1, and a release is not on the horizon, either. Therefore, this Region 4 box set is the way to go for all you 'House' fans out there, especially as it has never been released on Home Video in Australia.

    If you want my opinion on the matter, I'd go with the Region 1 releases of the first film, and the second if you're a fan. You lose the dodgy 5.1 remixes, but you gain the commentaries. That's what I'd do anyway.

Summary

      House IV is a pretty bad film, and a terrible sequel. Having next to nothing in common with the original 'House', it would have stood better on its own.

    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 identical to the other discs in the box.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Pockett (If you're really bored, you can read my bio...)
Thursday, October 03, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayTeac 82cm 16x9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
Speakers5 Sony speakers; Sherwood 12" 100w Powered Subwoofer

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