House (Ding Dong, You're Dead)

1986

House (Ding Dong, You're Dead)

Critics Consensus

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62%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 13

45%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 12,907
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Movie Info

This is supposedly a horror movie and, when you listen to the story line, it sounds like it would be quite depressing. Actually, though, it is more of a intelligent thriller which was eventually followed by sequels. When a novelist moves into his aunt's house after she commits suicide, he finds that the monsters he creates for his horror novels don't necessarily stay on the pages of his novel. When he writes about his Vietnam experiences, for example, he is forced to relive the tragedies. But there are more gruesome things coming to life than just his memories. Interesting concept with lots of humor thrown in to lighten up the sometimes down aspects in the story.

Cast

William Katt
as Roger Cobb
George Wendt
as Harold Gorton
Richard Moll
as Big Ben
Kay Lenz
as Sandy Sinclair
Michael Ensign
as Chet Parker
Susan French
as Aunt Elizabeth
Jim Calvert
as Grocery Boy
Curtis Scott Wilmot
as Skeleton Big Ben
Mindy Sterling
as Woman in Bookstore
Jayson Kane
as Cheesy Stud
Bill McLean
as Older Man
Steve Susskind
as Frank McGraw
John Young
as Would-Be Writer
Dwier Brown
as Lieutenant
Joey Green
as Fitzsimmons
Curt Scott Wilmot
as Skeleton Big Ben
Ronn Wright
as Enthusiastic patron
Renee Lillian
as Zealous Fan
Elizabeth Barrington
as Little Critter
Jerry Marin
as Little Critter
Felix Silla
as Little Critter
Jerry Maren
as Little Critter
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News & Interviews for House (Ding Dong, You're Dead)

Critic Reviews for House (Ding Dong, You're Dead)

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for House (Ding Dong, You're Dead)

  • Nov 24, 2014
    A delicious combination of horror and goofy comedy that is amusing and funny (the rogue hand and the raccoon scene are particularly hilarious), and it works quite well even if its attempt to show the traumatizing effects of the Vietnam War on veterans falls flat.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 28, 2014
    I doubt this is gonna be a long review. Of course I always say that and then the review is interminable. But the film is silly, fun, and goofy and it's pretty much what the doctor ordered. I'm not saying this is a masterpiece of the horror/comedy subgenre, like Evil Dead 2 or Shaun of the Dead, but it is still an entertaining watch if you want something goofy to watch during this Halloween season. I know I gave it an average rating, which is only because I don't really feel comfortable giving it three stars for a variety of reasons. First of all, the horror doesn't really kick in in to maybe 25-30 minutes into the film and it's a little bit jarring at first because the scene in question is so ridiculously goofy that it throws you off. Basically, after encountering the monster in the closet, Roger purchases as many cameras as he can and sets them up in front of the closet door hoping to take a photo of it. He hides behind the cameras and has this rope tied to the knob to open the door. Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he runs out of the room, rolling on the floor, jumping over stairs, doing a knee slide once he gets out the walkway and throwing his hands up in the air in celebration. It was so fucking goofy, because it came out of nowhere. And, up to this point, the guy hadn't actually filmed a ghost or anything, he had only just set the cameras, which makes the thing even more ridiculous. It was probably my favorite scene in the entire movie. But with that said, the horror doesn't exactly go hand in hand with the comedy, it's got a bipolar tone. I think the best horror films find a way to seamlessly combing horror and comedy into one great package, rather than it feeling like it's two different styles constantly at odds with each other. While I can understand the Vietnam flashbacks being a little more serious, since this was still barely a decade removed from the war ending, and a sore spot as it's the only war the U.S have not won, so there's still that kind of trepidation in dealing with such a serious subject in a comical fashion. So, for the most part, the Vietnam flashbacks themselves are serious and feel a little bit out of place. It does give the character a little bit more depth as, all the goofiness aside, the film does sort of explore that survivor's guilt and how that manifests itself in Roger having writer's block. The fact that he isn't able to confront his past, for the most part, is what, I believe, is keeping him from getting his professional life back in order. Of course it does this in a completely manic and surrealistic way, but it does give Roger a bit of depth. The monster make-up itself is pretty good, but there's a pretty glaring example of the make-up not being up to snuff. You'll notice it if you're observant. This has SPOILERS, so skip ahead, basically everything that's been happening in the house, or at least to Roger, has been a ploy by Ben to get revenge on Roger. When they were in Vietnam Ben was shot by the Vietcong. Ben asked Roger to put him out of his misery and Roger refused, leaving to seek medical help. As he leaves, Ben is taken hostage by the Vietcong, who tortured him for days and then killed him. Before the Vietcong take him, he screams that he will make Roger pay for what he did. Ben also kidnapped Roger's son, in a weird bit of illogical happenings, but ignore all that. Essentially, Ben finds his way into Ben's house and he's pretty much dead. They gave the actor who played Ben a skeleton costume and his face mask was pretty fucked up. I mean that in the sense that when he spoke you could very clearly see Richard Moll's mouth underneath the mask. The lips don't match what Richard is actually saying. And that's fine, I can forgive that, because it was practical and there's no real they could've made the mask's lips match what he was actually saying. The problem I have is clearly being able to see Richard Moll's mouth moving behind the mask. This was the same year Aliens came out. Of course, that's not exactly a fair comparison as I'm sure Aliens, one of the best horror sequels in history, had a bigger budget than this film did, but still. It kinda made the film look a little bush league. But that's really a minor issue, even though I wrote a long paragraph about it. It still doesn't really impact my opinion of the film too much. The horror and the comedy being at odds had much more of an impact in my decision. But if you want something light and silly this Halloween, then this is a good choice. It's not the best choice you could make, but it is a good one.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Dec 16, 2012
    A goofy unpretentious 80s haunted house flick where pretty much "fuck logic!" let's make cool monsters with hilarious dialogues that have a somewhat relation to the protagonist's past but not so much. Trick is, don't think too much while watching this, just roll along and you're thoroughly entertained from start to finnish.
    Francisco G Super Reviewer
  • Nov 04, 2012
    Wickedly fun in that cheesy 80's horror-comedy kind of way. Absolutely un-pretentious in how it dishes out its simplistic yet charmingly macabre antics. Effects are mostly corny, performances are effective but forgettable, and the atmosphere is actually pretty solid throughout. Vietnam war scenes are, as expected, quite weak. Also, Mary Stavin is a babe.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer

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