Little has been known about “Monster House” since word first broke about the project this past August. Short film director Gil Kenan is making his feature debut in this story, which finds three kids who discover that a neighbor’s house is a living, breathing monster. Between this and his directorial effort “The Polar Express,” the end of 2004 could be golden for Robert Zemeckis.
In casting notices acquired by FilmJerk.com, lead character DJ Harvard is described as the all-American kid, a 12-year-old on the verge of his awkward adolescent years. Though DJ believes he’s too old for Halloween, the holiday is still ready to gobble him up. On the cusp of finding girls interesting, DJ is left with a babysitter to guard him for a couple days while his parents are out of town. As DJ and his best friend Chowder are monitoring the house across the street, they meet Jenny Bennet, a somewhat bossy Girl Scout cookie entrepreneur. Together they discover that the house belonging to Horace Nebbercracker is actually a kid-devouring monster, complete with evil spirit, heart, lungs, and uvula. Intent on destroying the monster house before the trick-or-treaters walk unsuspectingly into its hungry maw, DJ displays grit, determination, pluck and daring as he combats the monster house.
DJ’s friend Chowder is illustrated as a portly 12-year-old, a jovial, trusting angel with a broad, gap-toothed smile. Likeable, funny, outgoing and pragmatic, Chowder is a chocoholic who is determined to go out on Halloween night ever year, no matter how old he is. Fond of dressing up like a hobgoblin, Chowder nonetheless is surprisingly tough-minded when it comes to the crunch. When he and DJ meet Jenny, the two boys compete to earn her affection. Unaware of the subtle nuances of matters of the heart, and pretty much everything else, Chowder blunders his way to a solution of the problem of the monster house, while DJ is just a bit more thoughtful in his approach.
Jenny is smart, aggressive, intelligent, determined, and resolute, an entrepreneur who’s selling her Girl Scout cookies from door to door with a double dose of scheming craftiness. Attractive enough to melt the hearts of both DJ and Chowder, Jenny foolishly walks up the path to the Nebbercracker house, and is rescued from death by DJ and Chowder. Determined to destroy the Monster House, Jenny demonstrates all the Girl Scout virtues while fending off feeble romantic passes by DJ and Chowder.
Old Man Horace Nebbercracker is in his 70s, a slight, wrinkled man in a white t-shirt and tan slacks. Horace is the definitive Cranky Neighbor. Whenever a kid steps on his lawn, Nebbercracker pops up screaming, ordering the trespassers off his lawn lest they be eaten alive. In fact, he is telling the truth and is intent on preserving life, as the devouring spirit of his monstrous wife haunts his home, have kept Horace in involuntary servitude for 35 years, and he hollers at kids to keep them from getting gobbled. When he has a stroke while hollering at DJ and Chowder, he leaves his wife’s demonic spirit free to slurp up hapless pedestrians, but escapes from the hospital in time to aid the three kids in their all-out war against the Monster House.
Shooting is currently scheduled to begin in February 2004, in the Los Angeles vicinity.
“Monster House” Scorecard
Director: Gil Kenan
Screenwriters: Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab, revisions by Gil Kenan
Producers: Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis
Casting Directors: Scot Boland, Victoria Burrows
Casting Associate: Pattey Ryane
Production Start Date: June 7, 2004
Shooting Locations: Los Angeles
Production Company: Imagemovers
US Distributor: DreamWorks