House

An American Ghost Story, Sinister, The Shining — there are a spate of movies about writers seeking solitude in a house, only to find the exact opposite. House is different it in that it throws in a dash of vetsploitation flavor, while employing practical monsters rather than the usual phantasmagoria as the personal demons.

House’s protagonist Roger Cobb should’ve heeded this advice: Don’t go in the house (also the title of a fab pyro-horror).

Where “horror has a new home,” House features that 80s genre staple: the cheesy prologue. Young Rog walks into a bedroom to find his aunt has hanged herself (it’s actually quite an affecting scene, as the old lady is creakily swinging to and fro).

Undeterred, Rog grows up to occupy the house as an adult — a successful trash novelist looking to get serious with a memoirs detailing his experiences in ‘Nam.

These horror people. When will they ever learn? Never rent bad Mojo domiciles, even if they seem like a steal, even in a tight rental / buyers’ market. Nothing good will ever come of it — unless you flip it real quick before you’re sucked into the Nether World.

So, what distinguishes this house, from any other on the market? There’s its foundation, built on a top-notch cast that includes William Katt, George Wendt, Richard Moll, and Kay Lenz. Wendt (Norm from Cheers) is the jovial neighbor who happens by to ask if everything’s alright at the Cobb house (Rog has been dressing in army fatigues and has set up camera equipment to capture a monster lurking in the closet). Moll, the towering bailiff from TV’s Night Court, plays Rog’s Vietnam war buddy who appears in flashback (At 6’8, there’s one infantryman who’d be quite the sitting duck for the Viet Cong).

Ultimately, House is a middling fun, tongue-in-cheek haunted house creature feature. Similar in sensibility to Video Dead, it’s solid if unspectacular sick day viewing.

**3/4 (out of 5)

[Check out our podcast discussion of House on the Really Awful Movies Podcast]

Killer Condom

Big thanks to our buddy Lloyd Kaufman and the folks at Troma for picking this one up, er, perhaps the wrong choice of words…for distribution. Killer Condom makes for a wonderfully cheeky double bill with Greg Lamberson’s Killer Rack* (cheap plug, as one of us was an associate producer on that one). And the flick delivers as promised: prophylactic panic! Dome dread! Jarring jimmies! terror Trojans!

Luigi Mackeroni (Udo Samel, star of Far Away So Close) is a jaded dick walking the streets of the Big Apple. He frequents a flea-bag hotel where a sinister crime has taken place, which readers shouldn’t have too much trouble figuring out. Cops initially suspect lady paramours and women of the evening, but it turns out that’s not who’s doin’ in johns.

Turns out that there are indeed, as the poster says, “rubbers that rub you out.” Luigi’s bosses are skeptical, and NYPD doesn’t want the word to get out about such a preposterous MO.

A German language film based on  Ralf König’s comic book series, Kondom des Grauens, Killer Condom keeps the dark subject matter light, even with AIDS subtext. 

It’s rich, occasionally creepy and sardonically funny. Killer Condom has a world-weary, almost leisurely feel, which is incredibly rare for a horror film.

Variety Magazine said, “The Killer Condom” may not fit everyone’s idea of a good time (don’t worry, there’s a “but” coming) but [it] “will wring a few laughs out of anyone looking for a non-correct evening out.”

With this kind of title, and associated subject matter, it should come as no surprise that Killer Condom provided fodder for our show, the Really Awful Movies Podcast.

***1/2 (out of 5)

[*Editor’s note: As a point of interest, the anthology horror Chillerama, which we reviewed on this site, features an installment where a character emits a very very large spermatazoa, which wreaks monster-movie style havoc on New York City]