The House With A Clock In Its Walls Movie Poster

Trivia for The House With A Clock In Its Walls

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  • This is Eli Roth's first adaptation of a literary work, his first Gothic work, and his first family film.
  • Famed Goth artist Edward Gorey did the illustrations for the novel that this film is based on.
  • Cate Blanchett and Kyle MacLachlan, who play rival magicians in this film, have both been in Marvel comic book features as enemies of the protagonist: Blanchett played Hela in Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and MacLachlan played Calvin Zabo/Mr. Hyde in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) (although he never encounters Thor).
  • This is Eli Roth's first film to not be rated R.
  • Director Eli Roth's ex-wife, actress Lorenza Izzo, plays Lewis's mother in the film.
  • The fictional "House with a Clock in Its Walls" was based on the real-life Cronin Mansion in author John Bellairs' hometown of Marshall, Michigan, which served as the basis for the town of New Zebedee used in his novels.
  • A 3D remaster of Michael Jackson's music video, Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983), (celebrating its 35th anniversary) will precede the film in IMAX.
  • Shipped to cinemas under the pseudonym "Kimono".
  • The story, based on John Bellairs's novel, was previously made as a television episode of CBS Library (1979). The segment was featured in the episode Once Upon a Midnight Scary (1979).
  • (Director Cameo) Eli Roth: appears as Comrade Ivan in the black and white "Captain Midnight" scene that Lewis sees on the wall. He is also the voice-over on the school's PA.
  • In the scene where the bus pulls into town, there is a sign for Kripke Grocer, named after writer Eric Kripke.
  • Mrs. Zimmerman boasts that she once melted Salvador Dalí's watch off of his wrist. While the film doesn't elaborate, it's implied that this moment inspired Dali's painting "The Persistence of Memory", famous for its melting clocks.
  • Movie/character/actor crossover: at 0h 56m 30s, Jack Black can be heard whistling part of a piece by Johann Sebastian Bach (Lute Suite in E Minor, BWV 996: V. Bourrée). This part of the piece was also used by Jack Black and Kyle Gass in the movie Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny (2006)
  • After Uncle Jonathan conjures the stars and planets in the garden, the topiary griffin (a lion-eagle hybrid) plays with the constellation Leo (the lion).
  • The moon phase illustrations on Lewis' walls features all 12 constellations of the Zodiac, plus one more: on the right of the door is Ophiuchus, the "13th sign" of the zodiac, and on the left side is Scorpio. These two constellations represent the sun's position during the autumn season of the year, which roughly corresponds to the film's release date (September 2018) and the setting.
  • On the cinema marquee is Spaceman from Pluto. This is what the head of Universal, Sid Sheinberg in 1985 wanted to call Back to the Future (1985). Shienberg was persuaded to change his mind by a response memo from Steven Spielberg thanking him for the wonderful joke.
  • AMBLIN ENTERTAINMENT reference - Near the beginning of the film, when Lewis gets off the bus and is met by his uncle, Jonathan Barnavelt, they walk past a cinema showing a fictional film called 'Spaceman from Pluto'. This is also the name of a comic book that Marty McFly reads and inspires him to don his 'spaceman' disguise when trying to inspire the teenage 1950's version of his father in another Amblin produced film, Back to the Future (1985). In addition, this film is set in 1955, the same year that Back to the Future is mostly set in.
  • The organ and piano sounds were provided by a fully restored Wurlitzer Organ. It had been previously used in such films as Empire of the Sun (1987), Star Trek (1979), The Sound of Music (1965), Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959), The Abyss (1989) and Die Hard (1988). The Wurlitzer Opus 1967 pipe organ had not been used in at least 25 years when composer Nathan Barr purchased and restored it at his studio. The instrument was originally designed to accompany screenings in the silent film era, and consists of 1,363 pipes--some as small as 1½ inches, others as tall as 16 feet--simulating the sounds of instruments including piano, strings, trumpet, tuba, saxophone, glockenspiel, celesta, cathedral chimes and chromatic sleigh bells. It is featured in a bonus video on the Blu-ray disk.
  • In the scene where Lewis is walking through school, the voice over the PA system is Eli Roth's.
  • At 50:17 the entrance to Oak Ridge Cemetery has an arch inscribed "The trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised".
  • For the pumpkin attack scene, all of the pumpkins' gore had to be digitally recolored to a much brighter orange, as it originally looked too much like blood.
  • Ovaltine was the sponsor of the Captain Midnight show and the owner of the name, Captain Midnight. While it had been on the radio for many years, its run on television was fairly brief. Once the TV show went into syndicated reruns the name of the character was changed to Jet Jackson and all the verbal references to the name Captain Midnight were overdubbed to represent the new name.
  • The name Captain Midnight was not allowed to be used for broadcasts in Australia, as it was the name by which a notorious criminal had become known.
  • When the topiary lion is romping among the stars and planets that Jonathan has conjured up, the stars comprising the constellation Leo appear next to him. The stars look like a backwards question mark on the right and a right triangle lying on its side to the left.
  • Jack Black says the first and final lines in this movie.


  • In the film a Captain Midnight decoder pin is found in a jar of Ovaltine. They were not included in jars of Ovaltine. People had to collect labels and then mail away for one. The decoder pin would then arrive several weeks later.
  • While talking to Lewis about how she lost her magic and family Zimmerman's arm is shown and a tattoo is visible implying that she was in a concentration camp.
  • Screenplay writer Eric Kripke has stated multiple times on his Twitter page that he was a fan of the novel "The House With A Clock In Its Walls" while growing up. He has even stated that the novel was the original inspiration of the long running CW television show, Supernatural (2005), which he created. He has also said that he wrote in a few 'Supernatural' Easter Eggs as a way of paying tribute, which includes the yellow-eyed demon Azazel.
  • The cemetery in the film (Oakridge) bears the same name as the cemetery in Marshall, MI, the city on which the fictional city New Zebedee is based.
  • The original novel was set in August 1948-April 1949, while the film gives a date of 1955, to make use of the post-World War II background for the characters.
  • The second post-credit scene with the chair chasing the griffin was inspired by Gunnar Hansen Leatherface's spinning performance at the end of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).
  • Some of the designs in the magic book, that Uncle Jonathan shows Lewis are Ink Blots from the projective personality assessment called the Rorschach Inkblot test.
  • In the scene where Jonathan is fetching more horseshoes to hang on the house in preparation for Isaac's return, he is whistling a song while coming down the stairs. The song he is whistling is Classico by Jack Black's band Tenacious D. The song made an appearance in Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny (2006).
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