Fans of horror are used to a seemingly endless number of bizarre plotlines in movies but in my opinion, the House saga certainly qualifies as some of the more unusual stories in mainstream films. I find that House II: The Second Story is one of the stranger entries among a collection of films that are already pretty weird. An intimidating villain who returns from the dead, an adorable prehistoric caterpillar who acts like a puppy, a beautiful woman who is about to be sacrificed and the Old West come together in this movie. Let’s have a look.
Despite being the second film of the franchise, House II: The Second Story has nothing to do with the first movie aside from the title. The plot centers around Jesse Laughlin, a young man who moves into an old mansion that has been in his family for several generations. His girlfriend, Kate, moves in with him. They are quickly joined by Jesse’s best friend, Charlie and his girlfriend, Lana. Jesse is intent to discover the whereabouts of a mystical crystal skull that his great-great-grandfather (of the same name) discovered in some Aztec ruins along with his partner, Slim Reeser. The skull is rumored to grant everlasting life to those who possess it and Jesse figures it must have been buried with his ancestor.
Jesse and Charlie decide to dig up his long deceased family member only to find that he has been waiting in his grave for one of his descendants to dig him up and yes – he does indeed possess the skull. The older Jesse goes by the name of gramps and he explains that the house is a temple that does not obey the conventional laws of time and space. As such, it is not uncommon for rooms in the house to open onto different locations throughout history. In one early sequence, a portal in the house leads directly to a prehistoric jungle and in another scene they find Aztec ruins in which a young virgin is about to be sacrificed. It seems that the forces of evil are drawn to the skull and that includes the undead form of Gramps’ former partner, Slim.
I want to point out a guest appearance by John Ratzenberger – the guy who played mailman Cliff on the old Cheers series and who makes frequent cameos in Pixar films. Here he plays an electrician named Bill Tanner who is also an adventurer – complete with a sword in his tool box. It is such a bizarre sub-plot with Tanner shrugging off time portals. “You see these all the time in these old houses”, he says while assisting Jessie and Charlie against the Aztecs.
Speaking of guest appearances, Kane Hodder, best known for playing Jason Voorhees, makes an appearance as a gorilla in this movie while the actress who plays Kate – Lar Park-Lincoln – would go on to play Tina in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood.
As you can probably tell, the story does not take itself seriously and even the action sequences in this movie are mostly played for laughs. It is certainly not a strong script but House II: The Second Story can be fun to watch. If you don’t mind horror comedies that get a bit silly, you might want to check this one out.