Frat House: Todd Phillips’ Documentary Version of Animal House

Frat House: Todd Phillips’ Documentary Version of
Animal House

Filmed for and banned by HBO, the documentary Frat House
chronicles the initiation of pledges from rush week to hell week
from a composite of fraternities. The article talks about filmmaker
Todd Phillips’ (‘Road Trip’ and ‘Bittersweet Motel’) experience and
why it never aired on HBO. The film cuts ‘a wide swath through the
realm of bad behavior taken so disturbingly seriously that it would
probably have given pause even to John Belushi himself.’

Anne S. Lewis of the alternative newsweekly, Austin
interviews Phillips about how he came to almost
understand and appreciate why the brothers haze. Partly, he
attributes it to pledging during the filmmaking.

‘I came out thinking it’s kind of funny. Obviously, it’s horrible
when they take it too far and people die — but you kind of get it
when you’re there and see that what these kids have is a problem
with standing out. I grew up wanting to stand out, to be an
individual. So for me, the revelation in the film was the lengths
people will go to be part of an identifiable group and not stand
out. The hazing is just an initiation rite that goes along with
that — they just do it to keep themselves entertained.’

With the same soundtrack as ‘A Clockwork Orange’ the documentary
did not shy away from the more unsavory aspects of pledging.
Sara V. Buckwitz

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