Remember that horror-comedy Bill Hader (along with co-writer Simon Rich) had pitched to Judd Apatow a couple of years ago? The one described as a mash-up of Straw Dogs, Halloween, Home Alone, and Monster Squad? Once terribly titled When a Stranger Calls a Dude, then slightly less terribly retitled House of Joel, little was known of Hader’s project other than it was a goof on Slasher cinema and the useless modern male. This tonal description from Hader was all we had to go on: “It is definitely about guys nowadays, that idea that you watch fucked up shit on TV… You watch fucked up reality shows, I love true crime shows. The idea of that thing coming to your house, and what do you do? I would shit my pants. That’s basically what the movie is about. What if that guy decided to come to your house? What would you and your dipshit friends do about it?”
Well, The Playlist recently spoke with the great comedy utility player about the project and got some new info. For one thing, the blah title seems to be out. “Well, I’m not sure it’s called House of Joel anymore. I don’t know what’s happening with it exactly. Judd, me, and [Human Giant director] Jason Woliner are gonna meet in L.A. soon to figure out what the next steps are. It’s a funny, funny script and it’s Judd’s take on a slasher movie. It’s been a long gestating project, but i think it’s worth it because it just keeps getting better.”
As for the film’s story: “I play a guy who finds out that his girlfriend was basically a Laurie Strode-type from Halloween. She’s been hiding the fact that 15 years ago she survived this horrible night and the way I find this out is that I inadvertently take her back to her home town as a surprise and reawaken all the evil. It’s kind of about getting over your girlfriend’s past kinda thing. It’s sort of like having to deal with, ‘You did what!?’”
Horror-comedy is tough to effectively pull off without sacrificing either the horror or the comedy, and most current filmmakers don’t seem up to the task. Shaun of the Dead got it right. Tucker & Dale Vs Evil got it right. Will Untitled Bill Hader/Judd Apatow Horror-Comedy get it right? Well, if anyone can make this work, it is probably Apatow. Even though his record is no longer as spotless as it once was, his touch is still leaning towards the Midas side.