Category Archives: Animal House

Don’t listen to the devil on your shoulder

In light of Jody‘s post about the terror-inducing level of sexual menace and violation in the light-hearted romp Revenge of the Nerds (1984), I wanted to present an even funnier movie that managed to be balls-out without being quite so rapey: Animal House.


Yes, National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978), that paean to the frat house, manages to slip in some subtle messages about how not to rape people amid the moral turpitude. This is the scene that has been playing in my head since the Steubenville trial. (Warning: lots of cussing and some boobies.)

Even blindingly drunk, Pinto (Tom Hulce) realizes that if Clorette (Sarah Holcomb), the beautiful, topless girl in his bed, is incapable of speaking, she has not consented to sex. In his battle of conscience, he chooses to do as near to the right thing he can manage, which is to wheel her home unmolested in a grocery cart and leave her at her front door — even ringing the doorbell to make sure she gets inside. His reward is a more rewarding, sober experience later. Sure, it’s still rapey because the girl’s character is only 13, but an 18-year-old having agreed-upon intercourse with a 13-year-old (especially because he didn’t know her age until afterward) is much less heinous than having intercourse with a passed-out girl of the same age.

Shindancer pointed out another excellent example of sexual justice in Animal House. Bluto (John Belushi) sees Mandy (Mary Louise Weller) come home from a date and decides to try to catch her undressing. He gets a ladder and does manage to see some topless pillow-fighting and the object of his obsession taking off her bra.  However, before she really goes for the gold, the ladder fails Bluto and brings him crashing to earth. (Again, lots of boobies.)

Again, the message is undercut by the “what happened to” reveal that Bluto and Mandy get married later on, but in the rapey, violent world of college comedy, I’ll take whatever positives I can get. Maybe if Bluto had violated Mandy’s privacy by watching her masturbate, he wouldn’t have gotten the girl at the end. Unlike that horrible creep in Revenge.