1×17 — Hell House

Aaah, Hell House Also known as, “The One Where Sam Winchester Gets (Half) Naked.” And yes, there will be pictures.

Hell House is also the episode that gives you the biggest clue, if you hadn’t figured it out already, that Eric Kripke is, in fact, a genre fan. (Not coincidentally, it is also the episode reviewed by a chin–er, face–well known to the horror genre fans, Bruce Campbell.)

The only real problem that I have with Hell House is that it doesn’t seem to fit in with the show. I realize that it has a one big thing going against it–it has to follow up behind Shadow, which is one of the most intense episodes of the series, at least, in my opinion. And I think Hell House is trying slightly too hard to be an anti-Shadow; it tries too hard to be funny and humorous and ends up feeling out of place. Which is not to say I don’t like it; I do. I love Hell House.

Lemme explain. As you’ll see in the recap, and the episode itself, the point of the episode is to be amusing, and follow-slash-lampoon the home-grown ghost sites and in a way, is meta-send-up of itself. Hell House seems to be the episode in which everyone is going, “we realize that we don’t take ourselves seriously, and we can prove it, see?” Too many in-jokes and meta-references make this one of the most out-of-linear episodes.

The episode starts out in Richardson, (in the Dallas area, 15-20 miles up I-75 from Dallas in fact) Texas, as the title card tells us, two months ago. A group of kids–three boys and a girl, are in the middle of nowhere in the woods, a single car, going to visit a haunted cabin. (Yeah, I thought this would be sounding familiar. This is pretty much the same premise as the Sam Raimi powerhouse flick Evil Dead, which also stars–you guessed it. Bruce Campbell. See how things come full circle?)

One of the kids is telling the others about the legend that surrounds the farmhouse, how there’s supposedly a ghost in the root cellar (“Someone’s in my fruit cellar, someone with a fresh soul!”–Evil Dead 2) that likes to string up girls from the rafters. Nobody believes him until they’re exploring the cellar, and run across a dead girl hanging in a noose from the ceiling, after which they all run screaming.

Now, see, that’s the way I like my homage to be. Straight-up, old school, ripped off from the best.

We cut back to “Present Day” with Sam and Dean in the Impala. I love that car, incidentally. It’s entirely possible I love it more than Dean or Sam. But I digress. Sam is napping in the passenger seat, and Dean is jamming along to “Fire Of Unknown Origin” by Blue Oyster Cult.

Dean is at his bored-five-year-old best, sliding a plastic spoon into Sam’s mouth and using his cell’s camera to snap a picture before he wakes Sam. After the photo, he “innocently” cranks the volume to max, waking Sam up as he sings along. Sam tells Dean that it wasn’t very funny–and I’ve always wondered if he meant the prank or the song. “Fire of unknown origin took my baby–took my baby away.” It’s really a cruel song for Dean to be playing, considering what happened to their mother and Sam’s girlfriend Jessica.



There’s a brief wrap-up of the last few minutes of “Shadow”–“look, we let Dad take off–which, was a mistake, by the way–and now we don’t have any idea where the hell he is and we’re looking for something to hunt.” That about sums it up, Sammy. There’s also a mention of a pre-Supernatural prank war, Sam versus Dean, which ended up with Sam on the receiving end of a shampoo bottle of hair remover and being bald. I’d pay good money to see that. But it also makes me wonder where in the hell John was (hunting) and what his reaction to bald little Sammy was.

At this juncture, I feel the need to point out how utterly distracting it is for Sam to scoff after every line. God bless you, Jared Padalecki, but it’s annoying. First it was the constant lip-puckering in “Hook Man” and now it’s annoyed scoffing. Distracting as anything. Adorable exasperated little brother-ly, but distracting.

The back and forth banter is good as always, and we also get the “lowdown” on the case; a misogynist ghost who hangs women that venture into his old house. Sam found the first-hand stories of the kids from the teaser posted on a local paranormal website named Hellhound’s Lair. (Yes, it is an actual Warner-Brothers-owned web site, still running.) Dean guesses that the site owners live in their parents’ basements and “…wouldn’t know a ghost if it bit them in the persqueeter.”

I don’t know what a persqueeter is, but I bet it’d hurt getting bit in one.

Once they find the kids in Texas (and don’t even get me started on the hilarity that they chose Jensen and Jared’s home state of Texas for this episode), they get different stories from everyone they talked to; different descriptions of the house, of the hanged girl, and of what went on. The only thing they all agree on is who took them; Craig Thurston.

Posing as writers for the Dallas Morning News (a legitimate Dallas newspaper), they interview Craig–who works at a record, and I mean vinyl, store–about the “hell house.” So he tells them the story, and the Winchesters go to check it out.

At the Hell House, Sam and Dean find the walls and floors covered in graffiti–occult graffiti. Dean remarks, “Looks like old man Murdock was a bit of a tagger in his time,” and Sam agrees with, “And after, too.” Because he points out several of the symbols on the wall which came into usage after Murdock would have killed his daughters and himself. “See, this is exactly why you never get laid,” Dean points out. Actually, Sam never gets laid because he doesn’t want to. Trust me. If he wanted to, he’d have no problem finding a girl. In fact, I’d volunteer.

There is one symbol that Dean is entranced by; he knows he knows it, but he can’t figure out what it is or where he’s seen it before.

What the hell is this symbol?  Its buggin me!

"What the hell is this symbol? It's buggin' me!"

While they’re investigating, they hear noises from the other room. Cautious as always, the Winchesters check it out only to find Ed Zeddmore and Harry Spangler, the guys who run Hellhound’s Lair. And if you think those names are familiar, you’re half-right. Zeddmore and Spangler are two of the Ghosbuster franchise characters; Winston Zeddmore was Ernie Hudson’s character, and Egon Spangler was Harold Ramis. Did I mention this episode rips off from the best?

Harry Spangler and Ed Zeddmore

Harry Spangler and Ed Zeddmore

After playing stupid about the intricacies of ghost hunting, they find out that Harry and Ed are amateurs who’ve never even seen a ghost before, and Dean leaves in disgust. Splitting up, Dean heads to the police station and Sam to the library, for research!

Dean finds nothing at the police station, no missing persons that match the girl, nothing. Sam comes up equally as empty; the Murdock that lived in that house had two boys–not seven daughters–and never killed anyone. Dean comes to the conclusion that it’s just a story, and he suggests a bar and some beers. Dean cranks the Impala to go search for said bar–only to find the radio jacked up to the max on a Tejano music station with all the accessories turned on.

Score one for Sam on the prank war. Dean claims that it was “bush league,” and “weak,” but hey. Sam’s got your number, Dean. He knows that messing with your baby is gonna get your goat.

Cut again to night at the Hell House; three friends are playing Truth or Dare, and the very pretty dark-haired girl (who is obviously wearing a red shirt) goes into the house on a dare to bring back a jar from Mordecai’s cellar. The moving-through-the-cellar sequence is a bit longer than it should be, but it builds up enough suspense that you jump out of your seat when Mordecai appears behind her and hangs her from the rafters.

Dean and Sam return to the Hell House in daylight, only to find it surrounded by cops and yellow tape. One of the policemen tells them that a girl hanged herself inside the house. But she was a straight-A student with a full ride to UT (just like Jared; he also had a scholarship to UT, University of Texas). Dean and Sam exchange a Significant Glance, and Dean admits he thinks they missed something.

Waiting for dark, they find the house still surrounded by cops. Before they can find a way in, however, they find Harry and Ed on their way in, and Dean calls out the Ghostbusters tagline–“Who ya gonna call!?” That alerts the police, and they chase the Hellhound boys down while letting the Winchester boys slip into the house unnoticed.

They pass the graffiti symbols again, Dean pausing by the one that keeps eluding him–he knows it’s familiar but he can’t place it. Sam reminds him they don’t have a lot of time, and they quickly move on to keep investigating. Dean finds a cabinet full of rats, and Sam teases him; “Would you rather it was the ghost?”


Well, Mordecai obliges; he appears right over Dean’s shoulder, and hacks away with an axe. Luckily Dean has good instincts and he rolled out of the way, pumping two shells of rock salt into Mordecai.

With absolutely no result.

Seeing that their number one weapon is useless, Sam and Dean run like hell, and bowl over Ed and Harry in the process, who get the crap scared out of them when they see Mordecai at the door of the Hell House before being captured by the police.

Back at the ranch–or in this case, Wyeth’s Western Inn–Dean is still trying to figure out where he’s seen that symbol before, and Sam is re-checking the facts of the case, because the last we all heard, Mordecai went after girls and hanged them, and didn’t attack men with an axe.

However, Sam finds out that a new story’s been added to the Hellhound’s Lair site; that Mordecai Murdock was really a Satanist who cut up his victims with an axe before slitting his own wrists. While Sam’s reading that out loud, Dean has a brainstorm about the symbol. He doesn’t know what’s going on yet, but he knows where it all started.

Back at Craig Thurston’s Music Store, obviously, since that’s where they go. Dean makes a beeline for one of the vinyl album sections and picks one up, victorious. He goes straight to Craig and tells him that he couldn’t figure out what the symbol was until he realized that it wasn’t a symbol at all; it was a band logo. And on the off-chance you haven’t seen the episode, I won’t tell you what band it’s for. He demands the truth from Craig, “…without lying through your ass this time.”

Craig admits that he and his cousin (the hanged girl from the teaser!) made it all up, and everything was fine until it got on the website, and then everything started happening for real.

With no more real answers, they leave.

Ladies and gentlemen, but mostly ladies, this next section is for you. Not only does Sam manage to pull the answer out of his shapely ass while he’s in the shower, we get to see most of it.

Dean comes back in the motel room with itching powder, which he proceeds to put in Sam’s underwear while they’re having a shouted conversation through the bathroom door. Near the end of the conversation, Sam–who obviously just got out of the shower–comes into the bedroom wearing nothing but a towel. Dean quickly disappears back into the bathroom (insert your own commentary on that here) and Sam proceeds to get dressed.

Sam’s towel: front, rear, and close-up.

It's not quite full frontal...

It's not quite full frontal...

It's not quite full rear, either...

It's not quite full rear, either...

But it is worth a close-up.

But it is worth a close-up.

At the local café, Sam explains what came to him during the shower; Mordecai is a tulpa, created by the imaginations of the thousands of websurfers who came to the Hellhound’s Lair website and read about Mordecai. Dean doesn’t believe it; people believe in Santa Claus and yet Dean’s not getting hooked up every Christmas. Sam tells him it’s because he’s a bad person, which Dean obviously agrees with, and then shows him the Tibetan spirit sigil on the wall of the house. Apparently the imagination doesn’t work without the sigil to focus it all. The tricky part is trying to figure out how to kill the idea, but Dean says he has an idea about that.

The spirit-sigil thingie.

The spirit-sigil thingie.

Throughout the entire scene, Sam is squirming, rubbing, shifting, and scratching. Finally he admits to Dean that he thinks he’s allergic to their washing powder, to which Dean cracks up and Sam realizes Dean did that to him. “You’re a friggin’ jerk!”

I believe that makes the score Dean: 2 and Sam: 1 on the pranks.

Following up Dean’s idea, they track Ed and Harry to a Silver Bullet trailer in an RV lot, and tell them that they need to shut down the website because more and more people are seeing the Mordecai video and getting curious and getting hurt. Harry wants to do it, but Ed disagrees and says they’ve got a responsibility to the Hellhound’s Lair fans, and to the truth.

Dean wants to kick their asses, but Sam says even though he could just bitch-slap them both, it’s not worth it, because they wouldn’t shut down the site even if they shared some exclusive new information about Mordecai. That baited the hook well, and after a minute or two of bickering over it, Harry and Ed agree to shut down the site and Sam hands over what he found.

A death certificate (forged, of course, but the Hellhounds don’t know it) saying that Mordecai died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and that if you shoot him with a .45 loaded with special wrought-iron rounds, you can kill him. Harry snatches the certificate and runs back to the trailer, obviously to upload the new information.

Obviously this was Dean’s plan all along, because they are sitting at a local restaurant, waiting for the information to be uploaded to the website. Dean is entertaining himself with a pull-string toy, the Laughing Fisherman. Apparently he’s done it more than once, because Sam threatens Dean’s life if he pulls it again–which he does. Finally the information uploads to the website, and Sam and Dean toast their good idea.

Only to find out Dean can’t put his beer bottle down because Sam super-glued it.

You didn't.

You didn't.

Oh, I did.

Oh, I did.

I believe that makes it two-all.

Come nightfall, we still haven’t heard the last of the Laughing Fisherman, only this time, it’s being used to lure the cops away from the Hell House so that Dean and Sam can once more sneak in to hunt and kill Mordecai.

“I barely have any skin left on my palm,” complains Dean.

“Dude, I’m not touchin’ that line with a ten-foot pole,” is Sam’s response.

Oooh, burn. Sammy got you again, Dean.

Of course they find Harry and Ed in the house, hoping to get video of Mordecai’s demise. Unfortunately, when Mordecai shows up and attacks, the .45s are useless because the Hellhound’s Lair server crashed and the new story hasn’t had time to get out and change the legend. Mordecai attacks the Hellhounds, Sam rescues them, Dean rescues Sam, and they end up burning down the Hell House, because “He can’t haunt the house if there’s no house left to haunt!” and “People won’t be going in any more.”

With Mordecai taken care of, the Winchesters are ready to hit the road, but so are the Hellhounds. Apparently, Harry and Ed got a phone call from a big Hollywood executive who saw the Hell House story on the website and wants to “… option the motion picture rights, and maybe even have us write it.”

And so we bid a fond, but not final, farewell, to Harry and Ed. (They return in a season 3 episode called “Ghostfacers”) As their tail lights fade, Sam admits he has a confession; he’s the one who called them and pretended he was a Hollywood director. Dean has a return confession; he’s the one who put a dead fish in the back seat of the car.

Now that they’ve pranked each other and the Hellhound boys both, Sam calls for a truce.

Dean agrees, “…at least for the next hundred miles.”

I’ve always wondered what happened at mile 101.

Best Lines:
Dean: Dude, I’ve barely got any skin left on my palm.
Sam: I’m not touching that line with a ten-foot pole.

Notable Music:
Blue Oyster Cult was all over this episode. “Fire of Unknown Origin” and “Burnin’ For You


6 Responses to “1×17 — Hell House”

  1. hello jared and jensen ,you and your friend is filthy!

    I’m sorry, my name is Gabrielle I’m from Brazil I’m speak english!!!!

    I don’t fanatic ! supernatural !!hahaha I´m don’t afraid!!
    Dean/Jensen/Sam/Jared!!!!!!!!! seriously now!!!!!!
    my number is: 32469333
    remember I’m not fã!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. hello now speak portugues:
    oi gente vcs sao legais bonitos mais eu nao sou uma fã!!! eu e minha irmã assistimos sabemos tudo sobre sobrenatural mais nao morremos de
    ”amor” por vcs , raffaela/my sister and I gaby!!! sempre sonhamos em participar de sobrenatural mais no fundo pode ser imposivel!!! porfavor quero ter a vida como a de vcs commmmmmmmoo vi na 1 emporada
    ”One day na vida de Jared and Jensen!!!!!
    MORO em fortaleza no brasil my e-mail is: gabriellemeneses@hotmail.com me acc


  3. pois é viu …..nao fique chateado nem nada mais acho mais bonito jensen
    e mais fofo jared kkkkkk.cade a jaretina em?????i love supernatural bjs
    raffa e é com dois f viu….

  4. to com raiva……kkkkkkk a saquei que michuruca ocês só falam em ingês né kkkk brincadeira

  5. adoro sanduiches do mc donal´s e adoro doces odeio salada kkk


  6. gaby?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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