Overall | House (1986) | House II: The Second Story (1987) | House III (The Horror Show) (1989) | House IV (1992)

The House Collection (1986)

The House Collection (1986)

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Released 7-Aug-2002

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Overall Package

     The House Collection features all four films from the series, which sees the debut of House IV on home video in Australia. Adding to that, the fact that it (House IV) is unavailable on DVD in Region 1, along with House III (The Horror Show), there’s reason enough for fans to go out and buy this affordable box set. Now, whilst I still enjoy the first film, to a certain degree, I cannot call myself a fan of the three sequels (if you can call them that!). Having next to nothing in common with the first film, each sequel tried something different, and if you ask me, none of those things worked. House II went for a cheesy, over-the-top, PG rated approach, which barely resembled the first film. House III went for a serious, revenge flick, very similar to Wes Craven’s Shocker, and House IV brought back William Katt from the first film, killed him off early on, and other than his character and the house (which never looks the same as it does in the first film), had nothing to do with the original House. Still, I know there are fans of all four out there, and you guys will love these discs. All feature widescreen transfers and Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes (which aren't the best I've heard), and the only thing that was a major let-down was the lack of extra features – in particular the recorded commentary tracks from the Region 1 discs for House and House II. If I were a fan of all four films, I’d buy this Region 4 Collection, and the Region 1 discs. Read on…

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Pockett (If you're really bored, you can read my bio...)
Saturday, October 05, 2002
Other Reviews
DVD Net - Adrian T
The DVD Bits - Tim M

Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | House (1986) | House II: The Second Story (1987) | House III (The Horror Show) (1989) | House IV (1992)

House (1986)

House (1986)

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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; House IV
Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Aurora
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 88:12 (Case: 93)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Steve Miner
Studio
Distributor
Sean S. Cunningham
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring William Katt
George Wendt
Richard Moll
Kay Lenz
Case Click-Double
RPI Box Music Harry Manfredini


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 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Taking me back to my youth, comedy/horror flick House was still fairly fresh in my mind. Shot for USD$3 million, House did fairly well upon initial release (taking USD$20 million), but became a bigger success on home video – like most films of its kind from the 1980’s. I was only about eleven years old when I first saw House, and I remember being fairly scared by it. Come on, I was only eleven! I also remembered the film to be somewhat cheesy and funny. Well nothing has changed… except for maybe the scary side. This marks my third viewing of the film in a good 10-12 years.

    Those who remember that 1980’s show The Greatest American Hero will instantly recognise William Katt, who starred as, well, the ‘hero’. Here he plays recently divorced novelist Roger Cobb, who moves into his Aunt’s house after she has killed herself. Roger was raised by his Aunt and Uncle, and has many memories from the house, in particular the mysterious disappearance of his son. Roger moves in for some solitude, and to perhaps find out what happened to his son. But he soon realises that his late Aunt may have been correct when she said her house was haunted. Next door neighbour and self claimed fan of Cobb’s work, Harold Gorton (George Wendt, from another 1980’s TV show Cheers), does his best to disturb Cobb at every given moment. The two become aware of the supernatural happenings in the old mansion, and begin a battle against an army of incredibly cheesy looking zombies, that never look threatening, and move their mouths unrealistically – but that's just part of the fun.

    Being a big fan of any film that blends the perfect amount of comedy with the perfect amount of horror, along with plenty of gore and make-up effects, House is right down my alley. The 1980’s was a great decade for this genre, and House was one of the bigger successes. It is more mainstream than Sam Raimi's classic Evil Dead Trilogy, or Peter Jackson's earlier films such as Bad Taste and Braindead, in that it is a lot less gory. This is where House let me down upon this most recent viewing. In an obvious attempt to appeal to a wider audience, the film never turns on the gore like Jackson's or Raimi's films did, which is the main reason I still watch them. It seems that House tipped the scales more in favour of comedy than horror, which resulted in an entertaining if unspectacular experience. The visual style is also inferior to that of the aforementioned Raimi and Jackson efforts, detracting from the overall experience.

    I still got a kick out of watching House, and am sure to revisit it again in the future. Katt’s performance in the lead role was one of the film's stronger points, along with Wendt filling the sidekick role quite well. They seemed to make an entertaining duo. While never reaching the same level as Evil Dead 2 or Bad Taste – my favourites from its genre – House has not dated too much, and still presents 90 minutes of M rated horror/comedy.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer is quite good considering the film is now 16 years old.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find out that House 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 is satisfactory given the age of the print. Tending to look a bit soft at times, the overall sharpness was a minor flaw of little concern. Shadow details 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, standing out mainly at 22:25, lasting only a couple of minutes.

    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.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer was a mixed bag, in that it was not mixed very well.

    We are given the choice of watching House 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 is not as clear as I would have liked, and the volume levels are 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 its 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.

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

Extras

Trailer - House 2 (1.19)

    This sequel fares worse than House, but you'll have to wait for the full review to find out why.

Trailer - House 4 (1.45)

    It seems the series gets even worse as it goes along, as if this is anything unexpected. Although the return of William Katt should help it along, as he didn't feature in 2 or 3.

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 animations, with some eerie sounds and screams added for atmosphere. 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.

    The Region 4 version misses out on an audio commentary from Director Steve Miner, Producer Sean S. Cunningham, Writer Ethan Wiley and William Katt, a twelve minute featurette The Making of House, a Still Gallery (49 frames), two theatrical trailers for House and a monaural soundtrack.

    Only the first two films of the series have been released on DVD in Region 1. The Region 1 DVD for House misses out on a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.

    The commentary track is apparently not the best ever recorded, but is still a regrettable omission. The remaining extras would have rounded off a nice disc, 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.

Summary

    House is a fairly entertaining comedy/horror film from the mid-1980's. Not the best of its genre, it is a film that I will re-visit again as I had some fun with it.

    The video transfer is quite good for it's 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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Pockett (If you're really bored, you can read my bio...)
Thursday, September 12, 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

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Adrian T

Comments (Add)
Trailers info correction - Geoff (read my bio)
Availability of "House" - Brett B
re: availability of house - orangecat (my kingdom for a decent bio)
Re: Availability of "House" - Brett B
Audio Commentary - MrMacabre
Re: Availability of House - Troy K

Overall | House (1986) | House II: The Second Story (1987) | House III (The Horror Show) (1989) | House IV (1992)

House II: The Second Story (1987)

House II: The Second Story (1987)

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Released 7-Aug-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-House IV
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Aurora
Rating Rated PG
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
Studio
Distributor
New World Pictures
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Arye Gross
Amy Yasbeck
John Ratzenberger
Bill Maher
Case Click-Double
RPI ? 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

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Like many films from the 1980s (horror films in particular), House was the first in a series. Whether it was put down to a lack of creative juice, or the hope of instant success, House II: The Second Story was released only one year after its prequel. Unfortunately, actors William Katt and George Wendt - who helped make the original film watchable - didn’t want a piece of this sequel, which is one of House II’s many downfalls. But its main downfall is that it doesn’t tie into the first film much at all. Yeah the house is back, and its full of Zombies, but that’s about it.

    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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video transfer is quite good considering the film is now 15 years old. Overall, the transfer for House II: The Second Story looks about as good as House did. There's no major differences between the two.

    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.

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 House disc, in that is is active but badly mixed.

    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.

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 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.

Trailer - House 4 (1.45)

    The same trailer as on the first disc.

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 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.

Dolby Digital Trailer - Aurora (0:33)

    One of the blander 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.

     The Region 4 version misses out on an audio commentary from director Ethan Wiley and producer Sean S. Cunningham.

    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.

Summary

     House II: The Second Story is a pretty bad film, and a terrible sequel. I know there are still some fans out there, but this is one film that doesn't have much to offer me anymore. Perhaps it was fun when I was a kid, but it was quite the opposite this time around.

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Pockett (If you're really bored, you can read my bio...)
Saturday, September 21, 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

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Adrian T

Comments (Add)
Why isnt the US/UK dvd company 'Anchor Bay' in Australia??/Halloween DVDs - Grove
Buy the Region 1 or R2 Halloween box set - Latcho

Overall | House (1986) | House II: The Second Story (1987) | House III (The Horror Show) (1989) | House IV (1992)

House III (The Horror Show) (1989)

House III (The Horror Show) (1989)

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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; House IV
Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Aurora
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 90:12 (Case: 95)
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

Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Lance Henriksen
Brion James
James Isaac
Deedee Pfeiffer
Case Click-Double
RPI ? 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

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The original House managed to mix what worked out to be a good amount of comedy with a decent - if not that gory – amount of horror. Its sequel went for a lighter approach, dropping its rating to PG, and resulting in a film that lacked a lot of the first film’s charm, and was downright silly at times.. The next in the series, House III: The Horror Show (known to US audiences as only The Horror Show) went for a different approach altogether. All that cheesy humour from the second film went out the window, and in its place was gore, which earned the film an R rating. If this unbalance of tone within the series isn’t enough of a put-off, the fact that neither of those two sequels has anything to do with the first film other that the setting and the zombies should make up your mind.

    Gone are the silly looking zombie/monsters from the first film, and also gone is ‘Gramps’ and the silly looking puppet zombie/monsters from the second. This time around, Detective Lucas McCarthy (Lance Henriksen) and his family reside in the house. Lucas has been pursuing, and finally puts away serial killer Max Jenke (Brion James), who is to be given the chair. In perhaps one of the film’s best, and certainly one the most graphic scenes, Max seems to overpower the ‘chair’, and even manages to get up and walk out of it, to tell Lucas (who is watching the execution) that he will get him for this. After finally dying, Max takes residence in the McCarthy’s basement, and begins to exact revenge on the man that put him away. Sound familiar? That’s because it mimics the plot of Wes Craven’s Shocker which, interestingly, was released the same year as The Horror Show. I don’t know which one was written first, but Shocker was actually released some six months after The Horror Show. Both films are mediocre in my opinion, but Craven’s was definitely more popular.

    Unfortunately, and disappointingly, the serious tone and increased gore in The Horror Show didn’t save the ‘House’ franchise, which is to be expected. Predictable and full of clichés, this quasi-sequel should not have been associated with the first film, as it bears no resemblance other than the house. In fact, this sequel has even less to do with the original film than House II . My only hope for a decent sequel rests with the fourth film now, which looks to be the worst in the series. My fingers are crossed...

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video transfer for House III (The Horror Show) is not too bad, and it is both better and worse than that of the first two films.

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

    Sharpness is not perfect, and is too soft at times - even exhibiting a smoky haze here and there. But to contrast that, a few shots exhibit some nice detail. A bit of a mixed bag actually. Shadow detail and black levels were quite strong, and were a step up from the prequels. Very light grain was present throughout most of the film's running time, which is nothing to worry about.

    Colours were good for the entire film, appearing to be the strongest out of the 'House' series of films so far.

    MPEG artefacts seemed non-existent, and light film artefacts such as dirt, hairs and scratches appeared only occasionally throughout. They never stood out enough to become distracting, and were to be expected due to the age of the print.

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 two discs, in that is is active but badly mixed.

    We are given the choice of watching House III (The Horror Show) 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 the volume levels were not as unbearable. 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. Harry lifted his game a bit for this film, putting in his best work so far within the 'House' series.

    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, 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 two discs. It's weird that this trailer is on all 3 discs so far, but the trailers for the first or third films are nowhere to be found.

Trailer - House 4 (1.45)

    The same trailer as on the first two discs.

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 from the first film's main menu. 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.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

     House III (The Horror Show) 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.

Summary

     House III (The Horror Show) 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 - as it does in the USA.

    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, September 26, 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

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Adrian T

Comments (Add)
The Horror Show is edited. - Terry B

Overall | House (1986) | House II: The Second Story (1987) | House III (The Horror Show) (1989) | House IV (1992)

House IV (1992)

House IV (1992)

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Released 7-Aug-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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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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