Horrortoberfest ’21 Day 25 – Monster House (2006)

I remember thinking, back when this originally came out, that the house itself seemed like a pretty intense monster for a kids animated movie with a PG rating. Having now actually sat down and watched the whole thing, I can say that it is indeed pretty intense as far as kid’s monster movies go. Also, you gotta love any movie that gives Steve Buscemi free reign to get as ridiculous as he wants.

DJ lives across the street from the notorious child menace, old man Nebbercracker. If you something gets on his lawn, you might as well forget about it because he is always waiting to run out and threaten any kid that steps on his property. When DJ tries to retrieve his friend Chowder’s ball, though, Nebbercracker gets so worked up that he ends up having a heart attack right there. Once they drive him away, that’s when the house comes alive with a terrifying hunger. With Halloween in just a day, it’s up to DJ, Chowder, and some girl that happened to be walking by to put a stop to the house before it consumes every trick-or-treater that comes to the door.

In terms of the computer animation, the movie is definitely not quite at the level that, say, Pixar was around this time but the house itself looks absolutely terrific. It’s just the facial animation that leaves a lot to be desired but that might have just been a stylistic choice to make everyone look terrible. I love that the house, from the very moment it comes alive, is just full blown creepy monster and then it gets more intensely monstrous as the film goes on. I think this is definitely one that kids would enjoy but I can for sure see this as being scary enough that it could be an issue for younger kids. For adults, it’s got good pacing and the stakes continue to rise as the movie goes on. Even without kids, this is still one that I would say is a fun one to watch.

Now, I have to talk about something in this movie that I absolutely hated and it isn’t something that is isolated to just this movie. You can find it on any given Disney channel original, Nickelodeon teen show, or other slightly older oriented kid show. I am talking about the “comedy relief” best friend of the main character that is in no way funny or remotely useful. In this film, it is Chowder. Chowder is annoying, clumsy, stupid, whiney, disgusting and a coward. There are no, I repeat NO, redeeming features about this character what-so-ever outside of a brief bit at the very end where he manages to not fuck everything up. I hate this character. I hate this type of character in every piece of media it’s in. I especially hate that 9 times out of 10, this character is the fat friend whose personality boils down to “I want food and I fart” and, of course, they always have some shitty nickname like Chowder. I know that I am ranting but I cannot stress enough how much I hate this stereotype, especially growing up as a fat kid. Watching Chowder consistently make the dumbest possible choices and be an albatross around the neck of DJ for the entire film just pushed some buttons, I guess.

Anyway, aside from that pet peeve that I have with a lot of children’s media; I think Monster House provides a great, engaging watch for families and friends on Halloween. Just please, I beg if any film writers ever read this, please stop including the fat, useless friend.

Score: 4 out of 5

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