The house with a clock in its walls (film)

The House with a Clock in Its Walls is a 2018 children’s film, based on the book of the same name that was written way back in the 1970s by John Bellairs. It is a beautiful blend of mystery, fantasy and thriller and although not overtly a Halloween story, it is one I can see myself habitually watching each October.

The film stars Jack Black, Cate Blanchett and Owen Vaccaro.


Set in 1955, a 10 year old braniac is sent to live with his estranged uncle after a terrible car accident kills his parents. Unbeknownst to him, Uncle Jonathan is infact a warlock, lives in a magical house and is best friends with his next door neighbour, an extremely powerful witch. The banter between Jack Black and Cate Blanchett made the movie in my opinion.



The house contains a terrible secret. It is a ticking heart hidden within it, put in place by the evil warlock who used to own it, and which is rumoured to bring about the apocalypse in the very near future. Together, the three must teach young Lewis to do magic, uncover the magical clock, and unravel its secrets to save the universe.


This movie drew a surprising number of adult viewers to the theatre, at least for the showing I attended, and was generally well received. I am not a huge purveyor of children’s films, but I enjoyed it and so did my Mum, who had invited me.

The special effects are well done and there is enough humour in the plot and acting that we were laughing throughout.

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The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks


I read this book as part of the Read Harder Challenge 2016 for the category “read a book originally published in the decade you were born”. To save you keeners looking it up, that was the 80’s.


I wasn’t sure of this category. I’m not normally drawn to older books, I prefer to read contemporary novels. But when I brought out trusty old google to search for books published in the 80’s this came up. I also chose this one because I vaguely remember watching the movie with my parents as a child and wanted to check out the story again.

Remember this?


So The Indian in the Cupboard is based on the idea that a young boy named Omri receives a very old (and unbeknownst to him, magical) cupboard for his birthday. It has a lock and a key which his Mother gives to him and explains is very precious (sentimentally). At first Omri is disappointed with his gifts … until he discovers that any plastic toy locked in the cupboard would come to life!

Enter the Indian. And a horse and cowboy, and Indian Princess and WWI army doctor…

Clearly this story was not written with political correctness in mind!

It takes a while for Omri and the Indian (Little Horse) to understand each other, and for Omri to realize that his toy is no longer just a toy, but a living and breathing being with feelings, needs and fears. He quickly learns to respect Little Bear as another human rather than treat him like his possession or pet. Eventually, Omri seeps to adopt the understanding that Little Bear has travelled from his own place in history because he comes with back-story and the relationships any adult would have (parental, marital, friendships).

I was under the impression that the story took place long ago, in the early 1900’s of England but either the movie was different or my memory faulty, because the plot is set in the second half of twentieth century America.

indian in the cupboard series

I also never realized that this was the first book in a series of five children’s novels. I have a passing desire to read the following novels, mostly because I hate leaving something half finished which it feels like I have, but I doubt I will unless I read them with my own kids one day. Although I enjoyed the story of the Indian in the Cupboard, I had a hard time getting through a very short children’s novels. My best guess is that it is because the writing is too young for me to really become engrossed, even though the events were interesting.

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