This year, the Halloween spirit put beloved children's movie Monster House back on the map. On Halloween day, the 2006 computer-animated film reached number 6 on Netflix's Top 10 Overall list, and number 4 on its Top 10 Kids' programming list. It was the number 1 kids' movie in the entire catalog.
Monster House is a supernatural comedy-horror film about a sentient haunted house that fascinates and terrifies some neighborhood kids during Halloween. It was co-written by Dan Harmon, creator of Community and co-creator of Rick and Morty, along with his frequent writing partner Rob Schrab. The movie features the voices of A-list actors such as Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, Jason Lee, Fred Willard, Jon Heder, Catherine O'Hara and Kathleen Turner. The three main characters are 12-year-olds played by Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner and Spencer Locke.
Monster House begins with D.J. (Musso) and Chowder (Lerner) accidentally throwing their ball onto the lawn of their curmudgeonly neighbor, Mr. Nebbercracker (Buscemi). When D.J. tries to retrieve it, he is accosted by Nebbercracker, who becomes so angry he appears to have a heart attack. Nebbercracker is taken away in an ambulance, leaving D.J. wracked with guilt.
The plot thickens as D.J. and Chowder hear spooky rumors about their neighbor and his house, and they are led to believe it is a rare form of monster. Finally, they team up with Girl Scout Jenny (Locke) to explore the house at night, when they believe it is asleep. Inside, they are haunted by the ghosts of Nebbercracker's past, learning about the tragic history of his late wife and how she was mistreated by the local children.
The story is a sweet tale of misunderstanding and forgiveness, reminding viewers not to judge a book by its cover. At the time of this writing, it has a 75 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 63 percent score among audiences there. It's generally regarded as a well-done kids' movie - though it's notably more dark and grim in some places than contemporary entries in the genre.
Some of the morbid aspects of the film were added later in the development process by scriptwriter Pamela Pettler. According to a 2021 Amblin interview with Kenan, the first draft of Monster House was "absolutely brilliant and laugh-out-loud funny," but did not include the dramatic ending with Nebbercracker's wife. He chose Pettler to help him polish the script based on his love of her script for Corpse Bride. Monster House is streaming now on Netflix, along with many other Halloween classics.