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Does House IV: The Repossession Foreclose on the Franchise?

Feature Presentations: Episode 66

Welcome to my column dedicated to the appreciation of physical media supplements called: Feature Presentations. The goal of this column is not to say whether a film is good or bad and worth picking up or not—I would like to highlight the discs that go the extra mile and provide film fans with enough tasty tidbits to satisfy even the hungriest of cinephiles. With all that out of the way, today’s article will focus on Arrow Video‘s release of House IV: The Repossession.

The Blu-ray cover for House IV.

As a disclaimer, the Arrow Video version of House IV: The Repossession is only available on the out-of-print United Kingdom box set. And while the box set is for Europe, the discs are all region and should work on U.S. players.

The House franchise is one of the weirdest film series ever concocted. The first film walked a delicate balance of scares and humor while House II jumped with both feet into comedy and House III swung the pendulum into full-fledged horror. When it came time to conclude the House franchise, where would The Repossession take viewers?

After surprising audiences and critics with the original House, the subsequent two sequels returned diminishing results, financially and critically. Now it’s time to conclude the series, and producer Sean S. Cunningham returned the movie to the original’s blend of laughs and frights. What’s different is that the script for House IV doesn’t capture the same magic as the original and the resulting movie is a cheap shocker that’s light on both the horror and the humor.

What makes the other entries in the House franchise comes from the wild twists and turns. From the kid-friendly humor of The Second Story to the absurdly violent nature of The Horror Show, you never knew the type of movie you were getting when you watched a film in this franchise. The Repossession is the first and only entry in the franchise that bored me. Bringing back William Katt is just a marketing ploy to lure in long-time fans, and getting mixed up in a toxic waste-dumping subplot really scrapes the bottom of the barrel. There’s a bit of fun here and there, the pizza man sequence (more on that below) being a highlight, but for a series built around surprises, the only surprising thing about House IV: The Repossession is how dull this entry is.

As with the other films in this box set, House IV: The Repossession gets a dose of bonus material courtesy of Arrow Video, but you can feel the passion for the box set waining, just like the film itself.Kelly drives with Roger in the passenger seat and Laurel in the back.

“Home Deadly Home” is a newly-composed documentary from Arrow Video and Red Shirt Productions on House IV: The Repossession. As with the other making-of’s within this box set, “Home Deadly Home” gives House IV: The Repossession a moment to shine. Director Lewis Abernathy, Sean S. Cunningham, actress Terri Treas, and others sit down to discuss their opinions and feelings on the fourth entry in this series. While no one interviewed is under any pretenses that House IV: The Repossession is high art, there is a cheerful reminisce between the participants.

Abernathy is joyful as he talks about how this entry in the House franchise became his first directing credit; Cunningham, more business-like, discusses how the film came to be and why the movie was released direct-to-video. Each person interviewed has plenty to say, making “Home Deadly Home” more insightful than one might expect. The funniest moment of the documentary comes when almost all involved spend time discussing the pizza man song and scene. If you’ve seen the movie, you know why, as it’s the most infamous and well-known scene in House IV: The Repossession. Composer Harry Manfredini talks about how the origin of the jingle came about, and he and stunt coordinator Kane Hodder have differing views on who sang the song as “pizza man.” Listening to Manfredini not want to disagree with the imposing Hodder got a chuckle out of me.

“Home Deadly Home” is a solid documentary and, arguably, more than House IV: The Repossession deserves.

Arrow Video also includes an archival audio commentary track with Lewis Abernathy and David Gregory with Blue Underground. Gregory does well at moderating the director throughout the commentary, with Abernathy discussing his filmmaking choices in a sometimes humorous fashion. When not self-deprecating on the limitations within the film, Abernathy dispels plenty of information and anecdotal asides pertaining to House IV, including the film’s appearance on TNT’s MonsterVision with Joe Bob Briggs. As with the documentary, this audio commentary is chock full of details and does everything one would want with a feature-length audio commentary. Also, was that actually James Cameron that chimed in on the phlegm scene? If you listen to the track, you’ll understand the question.

Arrow Video provides a stills gallery that features shots from the finished film, behind-the-scenes images, and marketing photos. The disc closes out with the film’s theatrical trailer.Kelly takes a shower with blood coming out of the shower head.

And there you have it! I’m sure this review felt a tad uninspired compared to the other House entries I’ve reviewed for this column, but so is the film. House IV: The Repossession is a lackluster way to end the House franchise, but it is an official entry and needs to be part of this box set. Arrow Video did much more than necessary for House IV: The Repossession by creating a well-crafted documentary and porting over and solid commentary track. The film will sit nicely in the box set, but I can’t see myself seeking out another rewatch of House IV: The Repossession anytime soon. 

Written by Robert Chipman

Robert is a lifelong cinephile and has had an admiration with film for as long as he can remember. When he's not checking out the most recent theatrical release, viewing a movie on one of a 1,000,000,000 streaming services or picking up the latest physical media disc, he's trying and failing to make it in Hollywood as a screenwriter. He also has a weird fascination with Stephen Dorff. Make of that what you will. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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