The script, co-written by National Lampoon magazine alumni Chris Miller, Douglas Kenney, and SCTV writer/performer Harold Ramis, is molded from collections of collegiate anecdotes. And that’s really all Animal House is: a series of funny (often hilarious) skits strung together. The plot is almost irrelevant, but it gives the characters an excuse to concoct outlandish stunts every ten minutes.
Set at Faber College during one semester in 1962, the Deltas are on “Double Secret Probation” (whatever that is) and facing expulsion from Dean Vernon Wormer (John Vernon). The heroes of the movie are, of course, these Deltas: there’s Otter (Tim Matheson), the slick playboy-type (especially with vegetables), his right-hand man Boon (Peter Riegert), blimp-of-a-pledge Flounder (Stephen Furst), Pinto (Thomas Hulce), who might be too nice for his own good, motorcyclist D-Day (Bruce McGill), and Bluto (John Belushi), who’s the exact shape and personality you’d expect someone named Bluto to be.
Director John Landis relies on the ensemble cast (which also includes Donald Sutherland, Karen Allen, and Kevin Bacon in his debut) to make the movie funny at every turn, and each has their moment: Otter seduces Mrs. Wormer, Boon takes swings at an ROTC horse, Flounder kills said horse, Pinto pushes his drunk date home in a shopping cart, D-Day steers the Deathmobile, and Bluto…well, Bluto sneaks peeks (on ladders and under bleachers), impersonates a zit, smashes a guitar, chugs a bottle of Jack Daniels, and blames the Germans for Pearl Harbor. He is college. He is Animal House.
I’ve spent the review describing characters and scenes, most of which you memorized years—maybe decades—ago. So in summation, Animal House is drunken, stupid, sloppy, loud, and hysterical…the College Movie.
Where Are They Now? A Delta Alumni Update (23:22): This rehashed mockumentary catches up with Boon, Katy, Babs, Flounder, Marion Wormer, Otis Day, Chip Diller, Hardbar, Robert Hoover, Dean Vernon Wormer, Otter, (maybe?) D-Day, and President Blutarsky. A humorous enough watch, but only for die-hard fans.
Scene It? Animal House: There are two games here, both modeled after the popular DVD board game Scene It? They’re both fun, but can only really be played once apiece.
The Yearbook: An Animal House Reunion (45:17): The crew and cast interviews and on-set footage help recount Animal House’s evolution, from the Laser Orgy Girls treatment and casting to production hijinks and the release, with much more in between. An in-depth documentary that’s been featured on previous disc releases.