starring Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhall, Mitchell Musso, Ryan Newman, Jon Heder, Kevin James, Jason Lee, Catherine O’Hara, Kathleen Turner and Fred Willard
screenplay by Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab and Pamela Pettler
directed by Gil Kenan
This is an excellent Halloween cartoon movie. I loved it and you will, too. It is similar to Nightmare Before Christmas, but the story is closer to the Tom Hanks’ movie The Burbs combined with a Pixar Pictures-quality cartoon like Monsters Inc., or Toy Story.
Many neighborhoods have their local “haunted” house, or solitary, old neighbors that give children the creeps. For me it was Old Man Skov in the neighborhood where I grew up. Scary house, mysterious man. In Monster House it turns out to be true that the house directly across the street is not just haunted, but is itself alive with the spirit of the dead wife of the old man who lives there (voice by Steve Buscemi, I recognized his voice pretty quick). The truth of it slowly dawns on DJ, the boy directly across the street who spies on it with his telescope.
The story is fun and funny. The characters are all beautiful caricatures of everyday people, and the humor is spot-on. My favorite character is “Skull” the video game champion, comic book convention-going, pizza delivering Occult expert that DJ turns to for advice on how to kill the monster house. Rent this one soon if you haven’t already.