By Loryn Stone
Reality is lame as shit.
Hell, we know that. Otherwise people wouldn’t have been making up stories since the Greek figured out how to light bonfires and act out poems and odysseys and shit. But the only thing more important than the story itself, the heroes and villains the propel the tale forth, is the imperative setting in which said universe resides. That’s the key to imagining yourself in a better reality.
And back in the 1990s, settings we had. Because really, there were some movies with some pretty bodacious, gnarly, and tubular houses.
Great segue, right?
There were two things my mom, despite the two of us having our issues, taught me. One, how to cook chicken like a boss. And two, always look at houses. Always. She had such an appreciation for just admiring houses and architecture that it was hard not to fall into the house-lurking trap.
Therefore, my eyes have been open. And while there are other articles online that discuss movie houses (typically trying to hunt down the location of the exterior shots, or saying these houses are cool, der) I haven’t found evidence of why other writers have boners for these houses. Is it the physical structure that’s getting you wet? Is it the interior design that’s making you drip?
Or is it the fantastical misadventures happening inside the house that’s making your essence crave a darker reality?
You really can have it all. Which is why today, we’re taking a look at the 5 more glorious houses from 90s movies!
Let’s get weird.
5) Casper: Whipstaff Manor
“Buccaneers and buried gold; Whipstaff doth a treasure hold.”
A treasure hold, indeed. This house has everything in the world going for it. First off, it’s a mansion on the side of a cliff. That’s amazing. In terms of design, it’s just a phenomenal looking house. Inside Whipstaff Manor is incredible too, with its swirly floor, infinity billion rooms, enormous kitchen, and secret resurrection lab. It really has a lot going for it.
But let’s take it a bit further and go inside the story this house is holding. I’ll just say it outright: Casper is one of my favorite movies of all time. Not only does it capture the deep loneliness I felt back in 1995 when I was ten years old, but it gave me so many “I wish that was my life” goals that I can’t even begin to count.
But I’ll do it anyway.
Let’s start with Carrigan, the cranky-shit-smoky-voiced-villain. Man, I wanted to be her. I loved the way Dibbs (played by Eric Idle) followed her around, doing her bidding, pretending he didn’t want to bone her at the drop of hat. Because he so very much did. The two of them had a super sexy dynamic, and when I was ten and just starting to pay attention to these things, you’d better believe my eyes were open.
Moving on to Kat: She was a protagonist I could very much identify with. She was dragged around from place to place (my family was moving a lot in the mid-90s) and she couldn’t find a real friend. In my case, there was a language barrier when my parents decided to drag me and my sisters to Israel from 1994-1997. This movie came right in the middle of that. And when Kat befriends Casper, I was so envious. I didn’t even care that he was dead. He was lonely. And he understood her. That’s all I wanted.
Especially the scene where Casper takes Kat out the window and they have that sweet conversation while sitting on the lighthouse. All I ever wanted was to sit on a roof at night, watch the stars, and talk to a friend. For these reasons, Casper was a very satisfying movie.
Okay, I’d be lying if I didn’t have at least a little bit of a 90s crush on Devon Sawa as human-boy-Casper. Who didn’t? But really…
Kat’s Dad, Dr. James Harvey, was way more my type. See all the amazing that resides in this house?
4) Edward Scissorhands’ Mansion
My knee-jerk approach to the mansion from Edward Scissorhands is much like my feelings about the castle from Beauty and the Beast: How in the ever-loving hell did all these townie jerks in their little cookie-cutter tract-home village manage to miss a huge, dark, looming castle at the top of a fucking hill?
Especially when the Edward Mansion is so incredible and the rest of the town looks like Stevenson Ranch?
Edward Scissorhands is no stranger to PopLurker. As far as heart-breaking stories about creatures trying to learn the hard way what it means to be human, Edward is a top contender. Until he’s pulled away from his home, he seemed perfectly content in his solitude.
Not happy by any stretch, and evidence showed throughout the movie that he missed his creator (and the lost opportunity to…you know…not have fucking razors attached to his arms) but hey, he was probably built to just be the landscape robot. That Vincent Price creator had a robot for everything.
Remember the cookie machine? Exactly- tell me the Edward Mansion wasn’t one of the best houses that came out of the 90s.
Remember also, after the end of the movie when Edward is chased back up to his house and he has the stand-off with Kimberly’s boyfriend? After that, he even made it snow. He defied nature and from the confines of his castle, he made snow happen. I can’t even make frost on my windshield happen here in Southern California. See what I’m saying?
That house is a damn miracle.
3) Home Alone 2: The Murder-Trap House (In Renovation!)
I’ve seen the internet jizzing over the McAllister house from Home Alone since like, at least before the internet happened. That may or may not be a real statistic, who gives a shit. And truth be told, it’s a lovely home. Well, more than lovely. It boarders on palatial, and the fact that so many people and cheese pizzas crammed themselves in there is super impressive. Almost as impressive as a ten-year-old committing near homicide within the confines of his Christmas decorated twinkling light fortress.
However, I think there are even greater lessons to be taken away from the sequel, Home Alone 2. Truth be told, I learned a lot from this movie, things that may have never been exposed to me otherwise. Such as…learning what a credit card machine looked like. Learning that yes, I needed a Talk Boy more than I needed blood in my veins (and oh yes, did I get one).
I learned that Tim Curry was one of the coolest people in the world.
I also learned a new word. Renovating.
In the film, you see, Kevin’s parents are talking, wonder if their son has managed to keep safe while lost in New York City. The father, Peter wonders if his son would be smart enough to call his brother, who apparently owns a home in the city. His mother then says “I thought they were renovating!”
Kevin finds his uncle’s address and makes his way to the house. And I have to say, my stupid Los Angeles suburb mind was blown upon sight. I didn’t even know what I was looking at the first time I saw the Manhattan home with a fucking tube sticking out of it. But once inside, (trying to murder Hanukkah-celebrating burglars or not) I wanted to play inside that house so damn badly.
Think about it! That house has a HOLE that goes down THREE STORIES. Can you imagine yourself as a kid and all the amazing adventures you could devise with that setting? But going back to the film’s climax, which is Kevin trying to murder the same two dudes from the last movie, this gutted shell is the perfect place to end lives.
The house, while not only in severe renovation but also abandoned, still has enough power surging through it to turn Marv into a skeleton! There’s also that cool wall of paint that puts Home Depot to shame. I’m saying, this house has everything in it to have some kind of Peter-Pan-paint-splattering-flour-pounding-jungle war.
Like seriously, I’m planning my next birthday party at the Home Alone 2 house as we speak.
Fire ropes included.
2) Addams’ Family Mansion
Oh man, talk about relationship goals. The Addams Family and their close-knit loving loyalty is the baseline ingredient that turns this mind-blowing mansion into a true estate. The Addams’ Family mansion not only has a butler, a cooking grandma, and a secret vault, but there’s a damn cemetery right on site!
And with games like “Wake the Dead”, Gomez’s train set, and the Super-Fun-Happy-Slide down to aforementioned secret Scrooge McDuck vault, the games at the Addams’ house never end! Did your house have an electric chair or crazy-ass flushing tubes that spit you outside if you pull the wrong vault chord?
And who didn’t load up with knives and try to dance the Mamushka with their siblings after this movie came out? That ballroom got some serious usage between the Mamushka and the Halloween Dance Party.
This house seriously has so much going for it. Every day in the Addams’ house seems like an adventure. Plus, they have the coolest pet in the universe.
And yo, if you haven’t looked at that disembodied hand and thought dirty things about it, you’re a fucking liar. Because that hand is very nimble. And I’ll tell you here and now, the idea of that hand creeping up the bottom of my bedsheets in the middle of the night was one of my earliest sexual fantasies. I say that without any shame.
It was great.
1) The Parrish House from Jumanji
Jumanji was another film that came out in 1995, which as I mentioned in my Casper entry, was peak loneliness for me. Which is why adventure movies where people need to depend upon each other to survive was a very appealing movie genre for me. And Jumanji hit every single tropey need on the head for me.
Think about it: the two kids in the movie, Judy and Peter, moved into a house and this game was just up in the attic waiting for them. They didn’t even have to do anything or go anywhere and that game just showed up, ready to make some adventures happen. And remember, those two kids diched school. They stayed home and played this badass game that would literally change their lives. Did that kind of amazing shit ever happen to me? No- when I ditched school and stayed home, all that happened was another episode of Jenny Jones where some goth kid got their makeup scraped off for the thousandth time.
Lame as fuck.
The adventures for Judy and Peter truly begin once they roll the dice and free Robin Williams from his jungle chamber. Robin Williams, are you kidding me? That was every kid in the 90s freaking dream!
Getting to spend an afternoon with Robin William while you run from stampedes, avoid drowning from monsoons, and watch your entire house split in half from an earthquake that puts the 1994 Northridge quake (the one that made freeways collapse) to shame?
This might be my weirdness creeping out again (big surprise, right?) but I loved the imagery of Robin Williams sinking into the floor, like quicksand. Something about it was cool to me as a kid. Even more, I loved when Bonnie Hunt goes in after him, but then the floor re-solidifies, rendering them in this pose.
I think it’s romantic as fuck.
But the absolute best thing about the Jumanji house, is the hunter that comes out of the game. Sure, he’s likely a representation of Alan Parrish’s anxieties about his father, disappointing him and all that symbolic crap. But to me, that’s a man and he’s lurking after you. In the dark. With his gun. And a bag of gold. And a sneer on his face.
What if you managed to wipe that sneering disgust off his face and replace it with something a little…sexier?
That house has so many rooms for the adventures to go down. Hell, I smell a fan-fiction coming.
But then again, I always do.
You can find Loryn pitching a tent, decorating it, and moving into it on Twitter. She also has an author page and personal blog. Her debut novel My Starlight, a young adult tale about sexuality, nerd fandom, and first loves will be released August 3rd, 2018 by Affinity Rainbow Publications.
Support us on Patreon and we can make more hilarious content!