Cobb (WILLIAM KATT), an author of horror novels, is a troubled
man. He has recently separated from his wife (KAY LENZ); their
only son has disappeared without a trace; and his favourite aunt
(SUSAN FRENCH), has just passed away, an apparent suicide by hanging.
On top of everything else, it's been more than a year since the
release of his latest book and he's being pressured by his publisher
to write another.
the chagrin of his fans and publisher, Cobb plans a novel based
on his experiences in Vietnam instead of another horror story.
It's not so much that he's interested in the subject, it's more
a way of purging himself of the horrors he himself experienced
his Aunt's funeral, instead of selling her House, as recommended
by the estate attorney, Cobb decides to live there for a while
to try to write. Having spent a great deal of time in the House
as a child , there are a lot of memories still there for him.
moving in, Cobb begins to have powerful graphic nightmares. Thoughts
about his army buddy, Big Ben (RICHARD MOLL), who died in Vietnam,
come spilling out. In addition, strange phenomena spring forth
from the House itself, haunting him in his waking hours as well.
He tries communicating his fears to his nosy next door neighbor
, Harold (GEORGE WENDT), but Harold thinks he's crazy.
night while investigating a noise coming from his late Aunt's
bedroom, Cobb is attacked by "something" in the shape of a horrible
beast. More strange things happen: garden tools imbed themselves
in the door near his head; his wife turns up on the doorstep one
day, and as he says hello, she transforms into a hideous witch,
which he shoots, only to see it change again into his wife.
more confrontations, Cobb finds what appears to be an entry into
a sinister otherworld -- through the bathroom medicine cabinet.
Looking into the void, he is pulled into the darkness by an unseen
creature. In the darkness however, he fortuitously locates his
lost son, Jimmy.
manages to escape with Jimmy but, as they are leaving the House,
they are confronted by the "living," partially decomposed corpse
of Big Ben. Because Cobb had failed to kill him when he was seriously
wounded in Vietnam, and had instead allowed him to be taken prisoner
and tortured before dying, Ben reveals that he has been out to
himself confronts Ben, aware that his anger over the kidnapping
of his Son has overwelmed his fears. Unable to instill fear in
Cobb any longer, Ben is defeated. Cobb destroys him and escapes
with his son. He glances back at the House, triumphantly; he has
beaten it, and regained control of his life.