Monday, December 23, 2013

Monster House (2006), Part 1

At about 3pm on Saturday I turned on the TV, and before pulling up the DVR's list of recorded programs something caught my attention: an animated film on a local network.  It looked kind of familiar, some CGI kids movie I remembered seeing trailers for a few years back.  It was Monster House, that odd movie where the neighborhood kids are afraid of going near this one spooky house on the block because they think it's alive.  Back in 2006, this movie looked really dumb.  I was 15 at the time, seeing dumb movies like Talladega Nights and Lady in the Water, but I thought Monster House looked really fucking stupid.  Now I think otherwise.  I only watched about one or one and a half minutes before starting another program with my dad, but it really intrigued me and got me wanting to see the full movie.

The animation is what initially caught my eye.  They use a very stylized CGI that reminds me of some of the more realistic claymation where everything is so detailed that you can see the intentional imperfections in the character's faces and skin.  That's what this CGI is like.  I saw two characters up close, an old man and maybe a 10 year old boy, and they both looked ugly, not in a cartoony way but in a realistic way.  The animation is carefully rendered, much more so than the smooth, homogeneous character models seen in the likes of Disney's Tangled (2010), and yet the artist's aim is not to create something aesthetically pleasing but something crude and jarring.  The animation is unattractive, yet I could immediately appreciate its style, and I found this artistic dualism fascinating.

Then there's the whole thing with this "monster-house."  In the brief scene I saw, an old man is approaching the doorstep of this house as the ugly kid and a few others watch from around a bush.  At this point, we see the supposed "monster-house" personified as a character as its windows shift like eyelids and the porch forms the shape of a menacing smile.  The kids are nervous, and the ugly one steps out and tries to warn the old man to retreat, that he is in some form of peril, but as the man disinterestedly turns to look at the annoyance he is consumed by an opening front door and a red carpet tongue that rolls out to wrap him up and retracts to gather the aloof victim into the mouth/entryway of the titular Monster House.  Then the kids scream and run away, and the fucking house gets up and chases them down the street.  It actually had some kind of legs and bounded down the street like Clifford the Big Red Dog in pursuit of the children.  That's all I saw, and I can't stop thinking about it.  Like, in this movie the house is really supposed to be alive?  Is it just a dream or somehow the kid's imagination or something?  If this house is really a monster what are the implications in the story?  Is that old neighbor dead now?  How did this house become a monster?  Is it haunted, cursed, alien, demonic, truly a breed of living creature?  Does it actually need to eat people in order to survive?  I'm lost in the surreality.  I don't even know if this scene took place in the beginning, middle, or end of the movie.  Maybe it's suspected for a long time and then revealed at the end of the film that the house is really a monster, or maybe it's just taken at face value from the very beginning.

I have no fucking idea what happens in this movie or if the house is really a monster or what the fuck is going on, but my curiosity is peaked.  I never thought that I would ever have any interest in this movie, but sometimes I get a new perspective on things.  I gotta see Monster House now.

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