Director – Ethan Wiley
Cast – Arye Gross, Jonathan Stark, Royal Dano, Bill Maher, John Ratzenberger, Lar Park-Lincoln, Amy Yasbeck, Gregory Walcott, Dwier Brown, Lenora May
Release Year – 1987
Reviewed by John of the Dead
After enjoying House I figured I’d give this one a watch in hopes that it would return some of the fun elements it’s predecessor did, and given that original screenplay writer Ethan Wiley returned to write and direct this one this turned out somewhat like the first except with even more zany antics going on. Definitely sillier and only sure to please (if any) fans of the original, House II: The Second Story is a fun yet heavily flawed sequel that makes for a good source of horror cheese when you need it.
Jesse, the new owner of the very home his grandparents were killed in, finds himself enthralled in a supernatural mess when an ancient being comes looking for an ancient skull hidden within the home.
I figured I’d get a fair amount of cheesy fun with this piece but I had no no clue that it would be as crazy as it was. It does not take long before Jesse comes face to face with the comical horror we are constantly exposed to, beginning with the resurrection of his gun-slinging great-great-grandfather who after years of “rest” was ready to get to high-steppin’ in the current world. The usage of his grandfather, Gramps, was awesome and provided for much comedy and enjoyable dialogue, but the silliness did not end there. Things really get whack when ancient beings begin bombarding the home in search of a powerful crystal skull, which sends Jesse and his best friend Charlie on adventures through the Cretaceous period, world of the Aztecs, and of course Gramps’ favorite…the Wild Wild West. I really cannot explain just how insane this film got, you just need to watch this for yourself and see all of the zany stuff going on in Wiley’s opus of nonstop insanity and creature action. His story does tend to get a bit bland at times and may be so silly that it becomes unbearable for some people, but I did not find it overly bad and just took it for what it was.
Wiley’s direction aided his story in becoming as fun as it was, giving us great special FX and tons of action that was only held back in gore by the film’s PG-13 rating. The acting performances were fun as Ayre Gross, Jonathan Stark, and Royal Dano lead the way as Jesse, Charlie, and Gramps, and I suppose it was cool seeing a younger Bill Maher in this piece as the pretentious man John. There really is not much more I can say about Wiley’s direction that has not been said already – it’s just plain cheesy.
Overall, House II: The Second Story is a fun sequel that brings more of the fun antics that went on in the first time, this time kicking things up a notch and never relented from the insanity. The story has some flaws and the scares are pretty much non-existent, but in the end this sequel gives enough joy to make for a worthwhile watch if you need a fix for some cheese.