House ★★½

For a guy reeling from the combined emotional trauma of his experiences in the Vietnam War, a fresh divorce, and the recent disappearance of his child, William Katt is having a surprisingly fun time chasing ghosts around his spooky estate.

If you go into House looking for consistent narrative flow and chills on par with its particularly well-designed poster (which evokes a classic Goosebumps cover), you'll probably be disappointed. It's got plenty of practical monster effects but they're never really much of a threat or even particularly spooky; virtually everything is played off as a joke at Katt's expense. Despite a protagonist with a whole host of deep-seated issues that could have been played up (and to some extent it is about coming to terms with the past), House maintains a perpetually goofy tone but it never pretends to be much else, and does have plenty of entertaining variety in its supernatural dangers. Imaginative, goofy, and light on explanations, this is the kind of horror to get kids into the genre from a young age without throwing them into the deep end.

The broken mirror practical effect and George Wendt's comic relief role are both high points.

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