I started with an old favorite from 1986, House: Ding Dong, You're Dead. William Katt's facial expressions, a marvelous cast of faces, hideous monsters, a large house that seems to "feed off of fear", devastating memories that haunt the lead hero, wonderfully used music during absurd situations, and plentiful black comedy. You have a pissed off trophy swordfish on a wall, garden tools floating in mid air with an intent to kill Katt, Richard Moll in skeletal form and ragged fatigues chasing around Katt while mocking him for leaving him behind to be tortured by Charlie, ridiculous set dressing for Vietnam that couldn't look less authentic, George Wendt wearing goggles and equipped with a harpoon gun with orders from a half-crazed Katt to kill "a raccoon the size of a St. Bernard", a grotesque squeaky-voiced ghoul that was imitating Kay Lenz and can't seem to stay dead even after being chopped to pieces by an ax and buried in various parts of the backyard by Katt, a severed hand that won't go away until Katt finally flushes it down a toilet, two monsters with large smiley-faces trying to carry away a neighbor's child (a major hubba hubba babe that coerces Katt into taking her child for a babysit) up a fireplace, the house's former owner (Katt's nutty aunt) with warped paintings that leave onlookers quite repulsed, Katt in war fatigues preparing for a monster right out of Evil Dead 2 to exit a room's closet door as he fills the room with cameras and recorders hoping to catch it, and Katt using a remote control to "turn off" the memory of his giggling child. The film, with all the bizarre goodies it provides, still has enough in the story to actually comment on the loss of a child and how it affects parents and their marriage, how Vietnam (or any war for that matter) truly never leaves once a soldier returns home, and the desire of an author to write beyond just what his audience (and employers) prefers/demands. The ability of Katt to conquer a lot of his demons and put to rest the damned house, taking with it the ability to prey on the fears of those who occupy it, the film really covers a lot of emotional ground for what could be considered just an exercise in "fear and giggles". I think you get your money's worth with this film....just don't scrutinize the plot too much because how long the child spends within the house's "otherworldly realm" and still seemingly psychologically okay considering he was kept in a bamboo-cage, held captive by Moll, the corpse does lend itself to criticism.
*Cracks in mirrors* old age makeup on “evil Carol Anne” as this ghoul on the other side of a mirror grabs a hold of “real Carol Anne” and lifts her off her feet* the “elevator ride to hell” where Skeritt and Allen believe “it’s all over” when they’re given some sort of “spiritual help” from Zelda Rubenstein’s amulet* a psychiatrist (or, for lack of a better word, “quack”) believing that Carol Anne’s “gift” is causing those around her to experience “mass hypnosis”* dead meat in a meat locker “barking” at Skerritt and Allen (they become trapped you see) before bubbling water nearly consumes them* a hole/pool of “spiritual realm” water contains these monstrous hands that reach out to grab Carol Anne, Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle, who looks so young, fresh-faced, and pretty), and Donna’s would-be boyfriend pulling them in* a window to Carol Anne’s room that “growls” at Skerritt as he uses a shovel to try and break it* the (over)use of the “mirror effect” to establish the continual presence of Kane and other poltergeists*”lead me into the light”*Lara Flynn Boyle (the evil version) bursting out of the skeletal, petrified corpse of Tangina (Zelda) after Kane touches the spiritualist on the back rendering her in this grotesque form.*Kane’s hand hurling a mug at a window hiding a group of analysts studying the methods of Carol Anne’s quack doc with the doctor telling them it was all his patient’s doing.*Donna’s boyfriend “breaking open her face” revealing to us that neither is the “real deal” confirming that those taken into the “limbo before the light” are still “there.”
//////Below added 8/8/14/////