Monster House Screenwriter Apologizes for His Movie, Slams Director and Spielberg


It's an epidemic! Ever since Chloe Sevigny apologized for the last season of Big Love, making amends in the most backhanded way possible has become de rigueur in Hollywood. We already brought you J.D. Shapiro's apology for Battlefield Earth and James Cameron's apology/victory lap for Avatar -- now, let us hand you an apology for the 2006 CG film Monster House, in which its screenwriter Dan Harmon calls Steven Spielberg a moron.

Harmon (also the creator of the NBC sitcom Community) wrote the mea culpa for his friend Kelly Oxford after her 7-year-old daughter Salinger was gripped by nightmares from watching the Spielberg-produced, Gil Kenan-directed Monster House. Oxford originally posted the heartfelt apology to her blog, but has since deleted it, perhaps in deference to the unusually candid Harmon. Here's what he wrote:

I think a good story, even if it is sad or scary while you're watching it, should always make you a little less scared after you've seen it. Because even a scary story, if it's a good scary story, takes us into strange, dark places that don't make sense at first, and helps us see that they do make sense, and are therefore not so scary. And that didn't happen in Monster House. The kids go inside the house, and everything's scary in there, but nothing starts making more sense.

And why, after they escaped the house, did that old man tell them another scary story about a mean fat lady that didn't make very much sense either? I'll tell you why. Because Gil Kenan is a hack and Steven Spielberg is a moron. But hey, I shouldn't be dumping this stuff on you.

Let's just say, Salinger, that I have a lot of questions about that movie, too.

I guess you and I are just smarter than other people, and I guess part of being smart is being scared of things that don't scare other people. Henry's a little younger than us and he just thinks the movie looks cool, which it does. And we won't take that away from him. But you and I are looking at the movie through smart, sensitive, older eyes, and we can see how confusing it is.

Who knows what kind of amazing things you will be doing as you live your life. But we know one thing for sure: you are going to be very special while you're doing it, and you're going to remove a lot of fear from other people's lives, because you're smart enough to see it, which means you're smart enough to conquer it.

I hope one day I can finish writing a movie that they don't change so much, and if you see it, I hope it makes you happy. Until then, I heard that Wall-E is very good, you should go see that. And next time Monster House is on, just remember that the guy that wrote it told you it was dumb.

Noted! All right, who's up next? M. Night Shyamalan for Lady in the Water? Kurtzman and Orci for Transformers 2? Your move, guys!

'Monster House' Writer Dan Harmon Responds to Terrified 7-Year-Old, Slams Spielberg [PopEater]


  • Floyd says:

    Harmon also trashed Kung Fu Panda, which he also worked on. I take it he had frustrating experiences, but Kung Fu Panda and Monster House are two of the better non-Pixar animated flicks that have been released in recent years.
    Also, Harmon backtracked on his Twitter. Still, he comes off as a big whiner unlike those other apologies.

  • Valentino says:

    Is this crap for real? Who cares if it makes any sense. If you dont like it, dont watch it. Does it make sense that in just about every Star Trek episode the alien races all speak english, especialy when you have a good number of people living in the U.S.A. who dont? Or does it make any sense that dogs and cats can speak in movies? The idea is to escape reality and enjoy the ride. Ive seen alot of movies, and tv shows I didnt like, so guess what.... I didnt watch them. If you were so worried about your work being changed why not make sure you had some degree of control when you sold it to be a movie? Or how about apologize the year it came out?
    Dan Harmon, you sir are a joke.

  • Colander says:

    Enh, he was just trying to make a little girl feel better. You have no idea how many times I threw Spielberg under the bus when house training my cat.

  • Katie says:

    Chevy Chase School of Career Management is in session I see

  • Samuel L. Bronkowitz says:

    Boohoo! I sold a screenplay to Steven Spielberg and got a career out of it!
    So many unsold screenwriters probably want to throttle this guy right now...even if their work might have not made it onto the screen intact.

  • El Bicho says:

    Why do you feel entitled to published the blog posting if it was intended for the little girl and then deleted? You have basically dug through the garbage to get this and if you had any scruples or integrity you would be embarrassed. I will make an effort to skip your future postings.

  • Ed says:

    I take it Gil Kenan won't be invited to direct any episodes of Community soon. Poor guy, all he did to deserve that was make two pretty good kids' movies that underperformed at the box office.

  • sweetbiscuit says:

    Perhaps 7-year old Salinger is not having nightmares from that movie. She might be having nightmares from realizing her first name is "Salinger."

  • rj77 says:

    I'm sorry. I'm still trying to figure just how pretentious an ass you have to be to name your child 'Salinger.' I mean, REALLY.

  • SunnydaZe says:

    I predict Dan Harmon WILL eat lunch in this town, again.
    On the menu> The words, "Steven Spielberg is a moron".

  • el smrtmnky says:

    funny you should mention that...

  • Matt says:

    Good job, apologize for one of the more tolerable DW movies. Oh and smooth move to the author for picking standard "good movie that gets trashed because the internet is full of whiners" fare to complain about at the end, instead of picking, y'know, actual bad movies like Transmorphers and other Asylum pics.

  • SeanR says:

    Don't jump the gun - the kid was named after "Journey of Natty Gann" actress Meredith Salinger.

  • PJ says:

    It's so stupid of you to post this...he wrote it for the little girl, not for you to criticize. It's a very well written letter, and it makes a lot of sense. If it made the girl feel better, why should it matter? And there's nothing wrong with speaking your mind. I personally get tired of big name movie companies screwing up pictures because they can't listen to reason. Let it alone.