For the video game, see Monster House (video game)
Monster House is a 2006 American computer animated horror/comedy film directed by Gil Kenan, produced by ImageMovers and Amblin Entertainment, and distributed by Columbia Pictures. The film stars Mitchell Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jon Heder, Kevin James, Jason Lee, Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard, and Kathleen Turner.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
A 12-year-old boy named DJ Walters spies on his elderly neighbor Horace Nebbercracker, who confiscates any item landing in his yard. DJ's parents leave town for the weekend for a dentist convention, leaving him in the care of Zee. DJ's best friend Chowder loses his basketball on Nebbercracker's lawn. DJ is caught by Nebbercracker while recovering it who rages at him before suffering a heart attack from overexerting himself and being taken away by an ambulance. His house's furnace mysteriously heats up, and DJ picks up a cage key that Nebbercracker dropped. That night, DJ receives phone calls from Nebbercracker's house with no one on the other end. DJ eavesdrops on Zee's boyfriend Bones, who tells Zee about losing his kite on Nebbercracker's lawn when he was younger and that Nebbercracker supposedly ate his wife. Later, Bones sees his kite in the doorway of Nebbercracker's house, but he and the kite are consumed by the house as he is retrieving it. DJ goes to check on the scene though Chowder thinks he's just freaking out but once Chowder rings the door bell the house comes to life and frightens the kids away.
The next morning, a girl named Jenny Bennett is donating Halloween chocolates. DJ and Chowder see her going to Nebbercracker's house, and they rush out to warn her catching her before she is eaten by the house. Jenny calls the police, but the cops Landers and Lester do not believe their story, and the house is inactive when adults are present. The trio seek advice from Reginald "Skull" Skulinski, who is claimed to be an expert on the supernatural. They learn that the house is a "Domus Mactabilis" (Latin for "deadly home"); a rare form of monster created when a human soul merges with a man-made structure. They assume the house is inhabited by Nebbercracker's soul. The only way to kill the house is to destroy its heart; its source of life. They conclude that the heart must be the furnace, as DJ realizes that the chimney has been smoking since Nebbercracker died. Chowder provides a cold medicine-filled dummy (made from a vacuum cleaner and some other objects) that should cause the house to sleep long enough for them to douse the furnace. Officers Landers and Lester thwart their plan upon arrival and they are detained when Landers finds the cold medicine stolen from Chowder's father's pharmacy inside the dummy. The cops place the trio in their car while they examine the house. The house eats Landers, Lester and the car. DJ, Chowder and Jenny escape the car but are trapped in the house.
The house falls asleep and they begin exploring. Photos visualize Nebbercracker's days part of a demolition squad. They fall into the basement and find a collection of toys accumulated from Nebbercracker's lawn, as well as a cage containing the body of Nebbercracker's wife Constance the Giantess encased in cement. The house realizes they are inside and attacks them. DJ, Chowder and Jenny force the house to vomit them outside by grabbing its uvula. Nebbercracker arrives home alive, revealing that Constance's spirit is within the house. 45 years ago, Nebbercracker met Constance, who was an unwilling member of a circus sideshow that hated all children for just about everything they did, and fell in love with her despite her obesity. After helping her escape, she and Nebbercracker began building the house. One Halloween, as children tormented her, Constance tried chasing them away with an axe, but lost her footing in the basement and pulled a level pouring cement over her body buried to her death. Nebbercracker finished the house, knowing it was what Constance would have wanted. Aware that Constance's spirit made the house come alive, Nebbercracker tried keeping people away by pretending to hate children.
DJ tells Nebbercracker it is time to let Constance go, but the house overhears this. Enraged, the house breaks free from its foundation and chases the group to a construction site. Nebbercracker attempts to distract the house so he can throw a dynamite in, but the house notices and attempts to eat him. But Chowder fights the house off with an excavator, causing it to fall into a pit. DJ is given the dynamite, and he and Jenny climb to the top of a crane while Chowder distracts the house. DJ throws the dynamite into the chimney, destroying the house. The trio see Nebbercracker with Constance's ghost for the last time before she fades away. DJ apologizes to Nebbercracker for the loss of his house and wife, but Nebbercracker thanks DJ and the kids for freeing him and Constance. That night, children in their Halloween costumes are lined up at the site of Nebbercracker's house, where DJ, Chowder and Jenny help him return the toys to their owners. Jenny's parents pick her up, and DJ and Chowder go trick-or-treating, which they previously thought they were too old for.
As the credits roll, those who were eaten by the house emerge from the basement. Bones finds that Elizabeth is now dating Skull, Officer Landers and Lester leave to "inspect" some of the trick-or-treating candy, and the dog urinates on a nearby jack-o'-lantern enough to put out its flame.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Mitchel Musso: DJ Walters
- Sam Lerner: Charles "Chowder"
- Spencer Locke: Jenny Bennett
- Steve Buscemi: Horace Nebbercracker
- Maggie Gyllenhaal: Elizabeth "Zee"
- Catherine O'Hara and Fred Willard: Mom and Dad
- Jason Lee: Bones
- Jon Heder: Skull
- Kevin James and Nick Cannon: Officers Lister and Landers
- Kathleen Turner: Constance Nebbercracker (as a human)
- Frank Welker: Kevin the Dog, and Constance Nebbercracker (as a house)
- Ryan Newman: Little Girl
- Woody Schultz and Ian McConnel: Paramedics
- Erik Walker and Matthew Fahey: Bullies
Gallery[edit | edit source]
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Trivia[edit | edit source]
- As of 2018, this is the only motion capture film that feature an entirely original story and not be based on any existing source materials.
- In the German dub, Bones, Skull, and Chowder were renamed as Punk, Freak and Ketchup. This was also the same as in the Italian dub with the exception of Chowder who is renamed Timballo.
- This was the first animated film to be made using Sony's animation rendering software.
- This film takes place in 1983.
- Homages to various Stephen King stories abound. The idea of a house that comes alive and eats people can be found in the third installment of King's Dark Tower series, The Wastelands and while in the house's basement, Chowder shines his flashlight on a mechanical monkey much like the one found in King's short story The Monkey collected in Skeleton Crew.
- The motto on the police car reads "We Wanna Help."
- Jon Heder broke his leg on the first day on set.
- The film used 3D motion capture techniques to digitally record the physical performances of the actors before "skinning" them with their animated forms.
- Mitchel Musso and Sam Lerner went to see Napoleon Dynamite before shooting; when they arrived on set they screamed and jumped on Jon Heder, who also played Napoleon.
- The actors had to go through motion capture acting in order to animate the characters. The actors had to wear motion capture suits with little dots glued on their faces and a headpiece glued to their head with motion capture dots. After they took off their suits, the glue would cause irritation to their hair and scalp, but luckily they'd get a head massage with shampoo.
- Chowder's dialogue "DJ, you piss in bottles?" had to be re-dubbed as "You pee in bottles?" to help maintain a PG rating. You can still see Chowders's lips speak the original dialogue.
- In the original screenplay, DJ and Chowder were harassed by 2 bullies named Ryan and Cameron who gets eaten after DJ purposely lures them to the house as bait. The 2 characters were removed from the screenplay because the studio thought their deaths would be far too dark and the bullies were combined into DJ's cruel nanny Zee, her boyfriend Bones and Horace Nebbercracker all made the film seemed much more cruel.
- In a concept art, Zee was standing outside of the police car that DJ, Jenny and Chowder were in. One of the trees then picked Zee up and threw her inside the house. This was ultimately dropped.
- In another concept art, Officer Lister is meant to be the straight man and Officer Landers was meant to be the rookie. However in the final version, their dynamic was switched.
- Although never mentioned in dialog, signs and license plates, the screenplay once said the film takes place in the suburbs of Mayville, Wisconsin based on the screenwriter Rob Schrab's hometown of the same name.
- There is a backstory involving Skull and Bones being in an amateur heavy metal band. When we first meet Zee, she is wearing a top with "Skull 'n' Bones" written on, and later puts one of their cassette tapes on called "Live! at the Smell". She is also dating Bones (and later Skull) in the movie.
- This was the second film to be released in REAL D's digital 3D format.
- The tricycle scene at the beginning of the movie is a homage to Stanley Kubrick's film rendition of Stephen King's The Shining.
- During the opening leaf sequence, the crane is shown in the background which would later be seen in the film.
- The markers DJ uses to draw the plan to taking out the house was from a store called "Sir Sniff-A-Lot".
- This is the first Columbia's animated theatrical film to be rated PG by the MPAA.
- This is Jason Lee's second animated film, after The Incredibles.
- To keep the film PG rating, the victims (Bones, the dog, Officer Landers and Officer Lister) that were eatin by the house came out of the hole alive during the end credits.
Goofs[edit | edit source]
- The mask that Chowder wore in the beginning of the film disappears after when Mr. and Mrs. Walters run over it.
- When Chowder says "DJ, run!", his mouth does not move.
- When DJ wakes up from his nightmare, his phone is ringing. However, when DJ and Chowder run out to rescue Jenny, the ringtone is different.
- The morning after Nebbercracker's departure, Zee's car is missing from the driveway.
- When Jenny goes to sell candy to the house, DJ and Chowder run up and the "KEEP AWAY" sign is on the left behind Jenny mostly covered by Chowder. In the next shot, the sign is less than three feet from her and in front of her.
- Zee had plenty of time to see the house in its "monster" state when she opened the front door to tell Chowder he had a phone call.
- Jenny says that they have one hour, probably implying she has one hour until her Mom picks her up. She arrives at DJ's house early in the morning, and it is dark when her mother arrives, meaning she was there for far more than one hour. We also see her make or receive no calls to or from her mother.
- When Kevin first appears before getting eaten by Constance, it squats to pee in the manner of a female dog. At the end of the movie, when he appears again, he hikes his leg up and pees as a male dog. Male dogs are also known to squat in the manner of a female when they pee, so this is quite a possible thing.
- The driver side on the police car switches between the two times it is seen. The first time, it is shown as a normal car in the United States. When the police arrive to arrest the kids, it pulls up onto the curb with driver side moved to the incorrect side.
- Before DJ, Chowder and Jenny went to Nebbercracker's house to try out their dummy plan, the scene focuses on a picture that DJ took, which was one of the tree outside the house. When the scene changes and becomes real, it shows the three of them walking towards the house, which was on the right side of the screen. If DJ had taken the photo from his house, they should have been moving towards the other side where the house should have been.
- When the trio are sneaking over to the house with the dummy, they are hiding in trash cans. It shows them walking as though the trash cans are on top of them. However, they peek their heads out of the top of the trash cans, so they can see through the trash cans while they are walking over to the house with the dummy.
- Unless if they never have bottoms, this would not be possible.
- When the kids are in the back of the police car yelling at the police as they approach the house their voices are muffled as if completely enclosed in a car despite the front, driver-side window being open and a metal grate separating the front and back of the police car.
- When the cops are being eaten after the kids attempt to feed the dummy to the house, the dummy disappears. It could have been eaten quickly by another appendage when we were not looking.
- When DJ, Jenny and Chowder are jumping out of the back of the police car for safety, they are not wearing their water guns and they are nowhere to be found. However, in the next scene, their guns are around their arms and they were ready for use.
- When Chowder sprays Jenny with water from his water gun in Nebbercracker's basement, the watermark disappears in the next shot of her which is just after a brief shot of DJ. The water could not have dried that quickly.
- When DJ and Chowder swing away from the exploding house, you can see DJ drop Chowder into the ditch as he swings over it. In the next shot, both DJ and Chowder are falling into the ditch at the same time.
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