Monster House (film)
Monster House is a 2006 American 3D computer-animated supernatural horror comedy film directed by Gil Kenan in his directorial debut from a screenplay by Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab and Pamela Pettler about a neighborhood being terrorized by a demonic haunted house. Starring the voices of Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, Jason Lee, Fred Willard, Jon Heder, Catherine O'Hara and Kathleen Turner, the film features human characters animated using live-action motion capture animation.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gil Kenan|
|Music by||Douglas Pipes|
|Cinematography||Xavier Perez Grobet|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$140.2 million|
Produced by Robert Zemeckis' ImageMovers and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, the film was released theatrically by Columbia Pictures on August 28, 2006 to positive reviews from critics but was a box office disappointment, grossing only $140 million worldwide against a budget of $75 million.
While the parents of 12-year-old D.J. Walters are away for the weekend, he is left in care of babysitter Zee. D.J. has been spying on his elderly neighbor Mr. Horace Nebbercracker, who confiscates any item accidentally landing in his front yard. After D.J.'s best friend Chowder loses his basketball on Nebbercracker's lawn, DJ is caught while trying to retrieve it, but the enraged homeowner apparently suffers a heart attack and is taken away by ambulance. That night, D.J. gets phone calls from the house with no one there and eavesdrops on Zee's boyfriend Bones as he tells her 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 house's front door, but is suddenly devoured whole by the house while attempting to get it back. Meanwhile, D.J. meets up with Chowder and the two investigate, but retreat when the house attacks them. The next morning, a girl named Jenny Bennett is seen selling Halloween candy and D.J. and Chowder rush out to save her before she gets eaten. Jenny calls police officers Landers and Lister, but they won't believe the trio.
They then consult Reginald "Skull" Skulinski, supposedly an expert on the supernatural. They learn from him that the house is a rare monster created when a human soul merges with a man-made structure and that it can only be killed by destroying its heart. Concluding that the heart must be the furnace, the trio create a dummy containing cold medicine stolen from Chowder's father's pharmacy. Before the dummy reaches the house, Landers and Lister return, thwart their plan and arrest them after Landers finds the stolen medicine inside the dummy. The house then eats the two officers and the police car into which D.J., Chowder and Jenny have been locked.
When the house falls asleep, the trio begins exploring. In the basement, they find a collection of toys accumulated from Nebbercracker's lawn, as well as a door that opens to a shrine containing the body of Nebbercracker's late wife, Constance the Giantess, encased in cement. When the house realizes they are inside it attacks them, but they force it to vomit them outside by grabbing its uvula. Nebbercracker then returns alive, revealing that Constance's spirit is within the house and that, rather than eating her, he had instead given her some of the happiest times in her life. As a young man, he met Constance, then an unwilling member of a circus freak show, and fell in love with her despite her obesity. One Halloween, as children tormented her due to her size, Constance tried chasing them away but lost her footing and fell to her death in the unfinished basement. Nebbercracker had then completed building the house, knowing it was what she would have wanted. Aware that Constance's spirit made the house come alive, however, he pretended to hate children in order to protect them.
D.J. tells Nebbercracker it is time to let Constance go, but the house overhears this. Enraged, it breaks free from its foundation and chases the four to a construction site. Nebbercracker attempts to distract the house so he can blow it up with dynamite, but the house notices this and attacks him. Chowder fights it off with an excavator while D.J. is given the dynamite by Nebbercracker. As Chowder distracts the house, D.J. and Jenny climb to the top of a crane and D.J. throws the dynamite into the chimney, causing the house to explode and release Constance's ghost. D.J. apologizes to Nebbercracker for the loss of his home, but Nebbercracker thanks the trio for freeing him and his wife from being trapped by it. Later that night, children in their Halloween costumes are lined up at the site of the house where Nebbercracker, D.J., Chowder and Jenny help return the toys to their owners. After Jenny's mother picks her up and D.J.'s parents return, Chowder and D.J. go trick-or-treating, which they previously felt they were too old for.
As the credits roll, those who were eaten by the house emerge from the basement.
- Mitchel Musso as D.J. Walters
- Sam Lerner as Chowder
- Spencer Locke as Jenny Bennett
- Steve Buscemi as Mr. Horace Nebbercracker
- Kathleen Turner as Constance Nebbercracker
- Maggie Gyllenhaal as Elizabeth "Zee"
- Kevin James as Police Officer Landers
- Nick Cannon as Police Officer Lister
- Jon Heder as Reginald "Skull" Skulinski
- Jason Lee as Bones
- Catherine O'Hara as Mrs. Walters
- Fred Willard as Mr. Walters
- Ryan Newman as Eliza
The film was shot using performance capture, in which the actors performed the characters' movement while linked to sensors, a process pioneered by Robert Zemeckis. A stereoscopic 3D version of the film was created and had a limited release in digital 3D stereo along with the "flat" version. It was also released in approximately 200 theaters equipped with the new RealD Cinema digital 3D stereoscopic projection. The process was not based on film, but was purely digital. Since the original source material was "built" in virtual 3D, it created a very rich stereoscopic environment. For the film's release, the studio nicknamed it Imageworks 3D.
Monster House opened theatrically on July 21, 2006, alongside Clerks II, Lady in the Water and My Super Ex-Girlfriend, and grossed $22,217,226 in its opening weekend, ranking number two at the North American box office. The film ended its theatrical run on October 22, 2006, having grossed $73,661,010 domestically and $66,513,996 overseas for a worldwide total of $140,175,006 against a budget of $75 million.
Review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 74% approval rating, based on 160 reviews with an average rating of 6.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Monster House offers adults and children alike into a household full of smart, monstrous fun." On Metacritic the film has a score of 68 out of 100 based on 32 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
Ian Freer of Empire gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, stating "A kind of Goonies for the Noughties, Monster House is a visually dazzling thrill ride that scales greater heights through its winning characters and poignantly etched emotions. A scary, sharp, funny movie, this is the best kids’ flick of the year so far." Jane Boursaw of Common Sense Media also gave it 4 stars out of 5, saying "This is one of those movies where all the planets align: a top-notch crew (director Gil Kenan; executive producers Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis), memorable voices that fit the characters perfectly; and a great story, ingenious backstory, and twisty-turny ending." Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel also gave the film four stars out of five, saying "This Monster House is a real fun house. It's a 3-D animated kids' film built on classic gothic horror lines, a jokey, spooky Goonies for the new millennium." Scott Bowles of USA Today gave the film a positive review, saying that "The movie treats children with respect. Monster's pre-teens are sarcastic, think they're smarter than their parents and are going crazy over the opposite sex. Amy Biancolli of the Houston Chronicle wrote, "It's engineered to scare your pants off, split your sides and squeeze your tear ducts into submission." Michael Medved called it "ingenious" and "slick, clever [and] funny" while also cautioning parents about letting small children see it due to its scary and intense nature, adding that a "PG-13 rating would have been more appropriate than its PG rating." A. O. Scott of The New York Times commented, "One of the spooky archetypes of childhood imagination—the dark, mysterious house across the street—is literally brought to life in “Monster House,” a marvelously creepy animated feature directed by Gil Kenan."
However, the film was not without its detractors. Frank Lovece of Film Journal International praised director Gil Kenan as "a talent to watch" but berated the "internal logic [that] keeps changing.... D.J.'s parents are away, and the house doesn't turn monstrous in front of his teenage babysitter, Zee. But it does turn monstrous in front of her boyfriend, Bones. It doesn't turn monstrous in front of the town's two cops until, in another scene, it does." In a dismissive review, Todd McCarthy of Variety wrote: "Alert "Harry Potter" fans will notice the script shamelessly lifts the prime personality traits of J. K. Rowling's three most important young characters for its lead trio: Tall, dark-haired, serious-minded DJ is Harry, semi-dufus Chowder is Ron and their new cohort, smarty-pants prep school redhead Jenny (Spencer Locke), is Hermione.... [I]t is a theme-park ride, with shocks and jolts provided with reliable regularity. Across 90 minutes, however, the experience is desensitizing and dispiriting and far too insistent."
Awards and nominationsEdit
|Academy Award||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|
|Annie Award||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|
|Directing in an Animated Feature Production||Gil Kenan||Nominated|
|Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production||Maggie Gyllenhaal||Nominated|
|Writing in an Animated Feature Production||Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab & Pamela Pettler||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Animated Feature Film||Nominated|
|Saturn Award||Best Animated Film||Nominated|
|Best Young Actor/Actress||Mitchel Musso||Nominated|
|Best Score||Douglas Pipes||Nominated|
- "Monster House". British Board of Film Classification. June 16, 2006. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
- "Monster House". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
- De Semlyen, Phil (September 24, 2010). "10 Horror Movies For Kids (Big And Small)". Empire. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
But then this is a kids’ horror...
- Daly, Steve (July 26, 2006). "A chat with Monster House director Gil Kenan". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
I can’t imagine a better natural setting for a horror film than adolescence.
- McCarthy, Todd (July 4, 2006). "Review: 'Monster House'". Variety. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
- "The Animation of Monster House". Lost in the Plot. Archived from the original on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
- For more info on the 3D technology used for Sony ImageWorks Monster House, visit: www.reald.com
- Monster House at Rotten Tomatoes
- Monster House - Metacritic
- "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
- "Review by Ian Freer (Empire)". Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Review by Jane Boursaw (Common sense Media)". Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Review by Roger Moore (Orlando Sentinel)". Archived from the original on 2012-10-21. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Review by Scott Bowles (USA Today)". July 20, 2006. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Review by Amy Biancolli (Houston Chronicle)". Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- Michael Medved: Movie Minute Archived 2008-03-11 at the Wayback Machine
- "Review by A. O. Scott (New York Times)". The New York Times. August 28, 2006. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- Monster House
- McCarthy, Todd (4 August 2006). "Monster House". Variety. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
- "The 79th Academy Awards (2007) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- "34th Annual Annie Nominations and Awards Recipients". Annie Awards. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- Ball, Ryan (December 14, 2006). "Golden Globes Favor Cars, Happy Feet, Monster House". Animation Magazine. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
- Weinberg, Scott (February 21, 2007). "Celebrate the Genre Goodness with the Saturn Awards". Moviefone. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- "AFI's 10 Top 10 Nominees" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2016-08-19.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Fox, Matt (3 January 2013). The Video Games Guide: 1,000+ Arcade, Console and Computer Games, 1962-2012 (2nd ed.). McFarland Publishing. p. 192. ISBN 9780786472574.
- Columbia Pictures press release titled "Monster House: July 21, 2006" (offline)