Movie Reviews 165 – House II: The Second Story (1987)

House III know I kinda promised I would watch this in my review of House and I am a man of my word no matter how foolish my promises may be.  As expected, the unwritten law of diminishing returns meant that a movie sequel to a movie that barely tips the acceptable scale itself would fail to attain any modicum of acceptability. So, yeah it was worse. Much worse.

Shades of the first movie, once again a guy (Arye Gross) inherits a house only this time he doesn’t have any deep-seated baggage that will rear it’s ugly head. This time around it’s his ancestral roots that will come a haunting. His great great grandfather in fact.

Gramps (Royal Dano) was an old time archeologist-prospector that, along with a partner, dug up some ancient Mayan crystal skull that can give the owner longevity. When he moves into the mansion with his girlfriend, Jesse makes note of the shining skull above a mantle. Curious, he starts digging into the history of the skull and some family history. After deciphering some old manuscripts they find in the attic, Jesse and his best friend Charles are lead to dig out Gramps from the estate cemetery at the back of the house, and find him surprisingly alive and well after all those years. Despite the fact that Gramps is decrepit and wearing his tattered original clothes (after all, he was promised longevity, not a rejuvenation) he’s begins enjoying his great great grandson’s partying ways. That is until his old evil partner shows up and steals the crystal skull. Knowing that in the wrong hands it will unleash an onslaught of evil, Jesse, Charles and Gramps have to get the skull back. But the skull has other powers that include inter-dimensional transportation, the entry point to which is accidentally uncovered by the hapless electrician (John Ratzenberger, postman Cliff Clavin from Cheers) working on some wiring issues.

The scares are almost nonexistent and the movie plays out more like a light hearted comedy without that many laughs either. There are a few nice looking and cute creature effects featuring aliens they encounter during their inter-dimensional chase and battles, but that’s about it.

Dano in his “Miner 49’er” getup looks great while the other actors just stay a cut above annoying. The worst part is actually a minor role played by Bill Maher prior to his current commentator and interviewer career. Ratzenberger only appears about two thirds through the movie and really only has a minor role as well, but he is still one of the better characters which gives you a sense of how bad the rest of the movie must be.

Yeah, this movie is a pass. As in “Pass me a stiff drink so that I can get through this thing.”

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