The Curator of Schlock #376 by Jeff Shuster

House II: The Second Story

Sequel in name only.

There I was, stuck in a prison cell in the town of Mooseville in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. I figured some sort of trial awaited me for the crime of being a tad late with some factory equipment for the town’s canning factory. I had almost given into despair when one of the larger bricks in the wall started to shift and slide out. It hit the floor with a loud thud and out poked the head of a man that bore a striking resemblance to Don Knotts. “This isn’t the way out,” he said. — To be continued.

Tonight’s Arrow Home Video release is 1987’s House II: The Second Story. This movie has absolutely nothing to do with the original. You do get a John Ratzenberger cameo in this movie just as you got a George Wendt cameo in the first movie. I suppose that’s a Cheers connection. And if you’re asking me what Cheers is, it was a very popular sitcom back in the 1980s and perhaps you should get off the TikTok and learn something for a change.

House II: The Second Story is an odd duck of a movie. You’ve got mummified cowboys, cavemen, Aztec warriors. a pterodactyl baby, a dinosaur dog, a crystal skull, and Bill Maher. I don’t know if the screenwriter was high on goofballs or Checkers milkshakes, but you’re in for a wild ride if you partake in this cinematic catastrophe.

The movie is about a young yuppie named Jesse McLaughlin (Arye Gross) who moves into his old family estate with his girlfriend Kate (Lar Park Lincoln). Jesse’s wild and crazy friend, Charlie (Jonathan Stark), shows up shortly after with his girlfriend, Lana (Amy Yasbeck). You see, Lana is a singer hoping for her big break and Kate just happens to work for a record producer played by none other than Bill Maher. I can’t say any of this music related crap has any great bearing on the plot, but whatever. You get to see Bill Maher in an early acting role.

So Jesse starts researching his family history, discovering the story of his great, great grandfather (also named Jesse McLaughlin) and his arch enemy, Slim Reeser. Seems the two of them found an ancient crystal skull back in the old west, a crystal skull that could give whoever possessed it eternal life. Jesse and Charlie figure the skull must be worth a fortune.

The two of them go ahead and dig up his great, great grandfather’s grave. Jesse finds the crystal skull, clutched in the hands of the corpse, Jesse reaches for it, but is surprised when the corpse springs to life and starts choking him. It’s all a bit of a misunderstanding because after the corpse realizes Jesse is his descendent, out come the beers and stories about the pioneering days of the old west.

Unfortunately, the crystal skull has the ability to open up portals to other times and dimensions. The crystal skull gets passed from a cave man to a pterodactyl to aztec priests. This movie is a bit far out there and may serve as evidence as to why one doesn’t write screenplays under the influence of wacky tobaccy. Still, I wasn’t bored once.


Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, episode 477, episode 491, episode 492, episode 493, episode 495, and episode 496) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.