Open House (1987, directed by Jag Mundhra)


A disturbed man named Harry starts calling Dr. David Kelly (Joseph Bottoms), a radio psychiatrist who is already being sued as a result of one of his patients killing herself on the air.  Harry eats dog food and hates real estate agents  because they keep trying to sell the houses in which he’s illegally squatting.  The police even suspect that Harry may in fact be responsible for several recent realtor murders.  When David mentions that his girlfriend, Lisa (Adrienne Barbeau), just happens to be a real estate agent, it looks like she might be Harry might have a new target!

Open House is from the same group of producers who gave the world Terror on Tour.  Like Terror on Tour, it’s a pretty lousy film but at least Terror on Tour had a killer clown and a loud soundtrack.  Open House has a bland synth soundtrack and a killer who could just as easily been a generic criminal of the week on an 80s cop show.  Rick Hunter would have just blown this psycho away and said, “Works for me.”  Because David needs to be redeemed for that patient who killed herself as a result of his bad advice, he gets a chance to encourage Harry to talk about his feelings.  It leads to a very long monologue.

The main appeal of the film is that it features the beautiful Adrienne Barbeau but she doesn’t get to do much other than get menaced by Harry.  Barbeau supposedly only accepted the roll so that she could use her paycheck to pay for her son’s tuition fees so at least something good came out of this film.

Open House is one of those films that I can remember being displayed prominently at the local video store that we used to visit when I was a kid.  It was a popular rental, because it had a cool cover and the back of the box promised much more blood and gore than the film delivered.  I can’t remember how old I was when I rented it but I do remember worrying about my mother figuring out what type of movie I had selected.  I need not have worried because Open House was about as tame as they come.

Open House has never gotten anything more than a VHS release but it’s there on YouTube for anyone who wants to track it down.  I rewatched it knowing that it was a boring film but I had forgotten just how boring.  When it comes to this Open House, lock the door and throw away the key.

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