Reviews: "Hell House"; The Foundling

SPN 1.17, "Hell House" is one of those episodes I revisit if I just need something fun. It's a great little example of Kripke's original "a new mini horror movie each week" vision, though in this case it's nearly a spoof of the genre, thanks to the presence of the proto-Ghost Facers. Amazon (alas) strips out the original Blue Oyster Cult music cues, but there are many other enjoyable details that survive the move to the on-demand format: The early intercutting interview scene with the three teens at the diner remains a favorite for me, just because of how note-perfect the editing and acting is. Dean commenting about how useless EMF readings are because of the nearby power lines, followed three minutes later by Sam acting all ignorant about EMF just to get Ed and Harry to ramble on about it and make themselves look like the pretentious idiots that they are, barely concealing his smirk the whole time--makes me giggle every time. Their bicker over the laughing fisherman plaque, which they then steal and use to distract the cops during their second visit to the hell house. (The lawn flamingos surrounding Ed and Harry's camper.) Dean moving straight to "burn the building down" as a solution to the unstoppable tulpa: extreme but effective. The difference in how they screw with Ed and Harry--Sam playing to their ambition, Dean going with the simple yet effective dead fish--and that they both do, without consulting each other, in a more abstract winsync moment than the usual examples.

The Librivox recording of The Worm Ouroboros is another favorite of mine, though of a rather different sort. This is a book to be listened to. It's an enjoyable enough read, but a trifle slow in places as Eddington indulges in detailed descriptions of clothing and furnishings, and I found myself skimming through extended passages. However, when listening instead of reading, those details are somehow transformed from near-tedium into something majestic. There's a different weight and sense of scope to them; Shakespeare's phrase "something rich and strange" seems fitting.

That's perhaps an apt pairing--Shakespeare, after all, was meant to be performed, not merely read silently to one's self--in the same way, whether Eddington intended this or not, The Worm Ouroboros is meant to be read aloud; it has that sort of cadence to it, the reader an observer of the scene rather than being immersed in the perspective of a particular character--rather like a fairytale on a grander scale. Like the story of Sam and Dean, it's about brothers doing extreme things for the love of each other, but in a rather different scope and tone. (Also, it's excellent for if you're trying to take a nap but can't get your brain to settle down so you can sleep. Jason Mills, the reader, has a very steady, calming voice, and the cadence of Eddison's prose is rather soothing.)
I need to get over my hangup about only watching SPN from the Pilot through every episode in order...I have watched the DVDs 3 times (each time with another couple years) so I know the first 5 years pretty well, but I just can't make myself pic out an episode at random and watch it without all the previous episodes to build to it. :( Currently if I watch 4 episodes per day it will take me 71.75 days to watch to the end of season 13...My dream is to spend the first couple months after I retire in 4 years and do nothing but watch 10 episodes a day and rewatch the whole series...
An ambition I can get on board with! I did manage a complete Season 7 rewatch a couple of months ago - it was really a lot better than I remembered. I'm intending to move to season 8 next but haven't found the time or motivation to start. I'm constantly craving the early seasons instead!
I feel ya--though I find when I do get around to rewatching later season episodes they're usually more enjoyable than I remembered.
Ha, yes--I can see how that might stall you out a bit. When I caught up on the first 9 seasons of SPN in the first place, I did it completely piecemeal, starting with the episodes recommended to me by other people. So I'm actually not sure I've even seen it all the way through in the right order even once.

But everyone has their own method! ;)
Hell House is one I tend to skip, though it's never as bad as I fear when I do re-watch it so you'd think I'd know by now... and I do love the Winchesters getting to laugh at the end too. It's such a rare moment for them.

An interesting observation about the Worm Ouroboros - it's such a very long time since I read it, I probably couldn't manage to get through it now.

Edited at 2018-08-22 08:22 pm (UTC)
The prank war thing is kind of dumb, but the rest of the episode is strong enough to compensate. And there really is some nice editing/cinematography overall. And we get some marvelous laughs from Sam, which are sadly rare. :)

I'd definitely recommend listening to The Worm Ouroboros over reading it yourself--though it's a very particular type of story and probably something you'd need to be in just the right mood for.