National Lampoon Animal House 29th Anniversary EditionAfter 29 years of being out of print and almost unobtainable, National Lampoon’s Animal House (the book) has been rereleased on an unsuspecting public. Written by Chris Miller (based on the screenplay by Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney, and Chris Miller) The National Lampoon’s Animal House Book follows pretty much the same plot as the wild (and wildly popular) film of the same name.

Included in the 127 page yearbook style book are pictures from the film set, interesting drawings by National Lampoon artists, a few comic strip interpretations of key scenes, and more backstory than readers might even know what to do with. Each section of the book is preceded by a brilliantly illustrated two page drawing and heading; something like a cross between a comic book and a painting.

The book also includes a foreword by Chris Miller titled My Life With the Animals – Again, in which Miller discusses intimate details involving the filming of the iconic film. Candidly discussing drug use, deleted scenes, the toga party, and even John Belushi himself, these few pages offer many gems about the film’s creation and execution, and never manages to feel as self indulgent as it seems like it should. It really feels like a genuine guy reflecting on the best time of his life filming a movie he’s proud to have been a part of.

The rest of the book offers little in the way of new material, although diehard fans of the film may be very interested to read a bit of back story to some characters and may notice a few things not immediately clear while watching the film. But, keep in mind that it is still Animal House, so it’s no like you’re going to discover anything that deep about your favorite character.

Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the book is the “Where Are They Now?” section at the very end that offers witty and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny predictions, or updates, since it is 2007 now, on what each of the characters in the film is doing now. There’s also a few introductory letters at the beginning that introduce some of the characters, as well as the college itself, from their own unique perspectives. From Dean Vernon Wormer: “Good grades or long sideburns and death – the choice is yours.” And so on and so on.

It’s all fairly funny, and probably hilarious in 1978 when it was originally published, but 29 years later it seems like only true fans of the original (those who lost their first edition copy of the book, or those who never got a copy) will truly be interested in reading all the behind-the-scenes information and recapping of the movie on display in this book. It’s nice to have it available just in case, but the odds that you’ll find this recap worth your full attention are lower than the odds of finding Bluto sober on a Friday night.

For all things Animal House, visit Acme Animal House
To purchase the book, visit Amazon

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