I took copious notes during A Haunted House, shaking off hand cramps and straining to listen to the dialogue over the howls of laughter from the man sitting to my left and the snores of the man sitting to my right. I fell somewhere in between my two aisle companions regarding the film: it was neither worthy of my laughter nor capable of inducing sleep. No, this is one of those rare films where its badness turns the cogs of your brain, making you wonder who said, “Yes, this is funny! Let’s make it!” Paranormal Activity and its ilk are certainly distinct enough that a gifted parodist could elicit laughter from the subject matter. Tasteless humor, when executed well, can also be utterly hysterical. However, Marlon Wayans seems to be using this tasteless parody film as propaganda for three messages: 1. “Marlon Wayans is straight. Really straight. He loves girls, you guys. Especially sex with them. Seriously.” 2. “Anything other than a man sleeping with a woman is gross. Like, crazy gross. Damn.” 3. “It’s a good thing women are good for sex, because boy oh boy, they are not good for anything else.” Why he chooses to try so desperately to convince us of the validity of these messages is up to you, dear Reader. But more importantly than the purpose of its strange and unconvincing subtext, it’s simply not funny. At least to me. If the following fifty moments are hilarious to you, then A Haunted House is your bread and butter. If not, then join me in wonder and amazement at it existence. Spoilers, harsh language, and bad jokes to follow:
1. Right off the top, Marlon Wayans introduces us to his Hispanic housekeeper, Rosa. He engages Rosa in an extended dance sequence, involving lots of cha-cha and Hispanic-looking dances. Because Hispanic people doing Hispanic dances are funny.
2. Marlon introduces us to his dog. He speaks in a high-pitched voice as the dog, saying he’s excited to meet Marlon’s girlfriend, who is moving in, and “hump her leg and lick her with his dog ball mouth.” Because dogs humping legs and licking their own balls are funny.
3. The dog is hit by a car, and Marlon performs CPR. No, this isn’t a direct There’s Something About Mary parody, it’s merely because a man touching a dog with his mouth is funny.
4. He tries to revive the dog by using jumper cables from the car. All the while, Marlon is sobbing in a manner so broad, it makes Anne Hathaway look like Bob Balaban. Because Marlon Wayans sobbing is funny.
5. They bury the dog, and Marlon screams like a girl and tosses himself onto its grave. Because Marlon Wayans screaming like a girl is funny. (The dog’s death is not a plot point and is mostly forgotten after this point.)
6. Marlon’s girlfriend doesn’t get along with the housekeeper. “SPEAK ENGLISH! SPEAK-A ENGLISH!” she shouts at the housekeeper. Because people who don’t speak English should learn how to speak English, and them not knowing English is funny.
7. Marlon Wayans pantomimes sex with a teddy bear for roughly three minutes. If you don’t think this is a long time, count out loud each second for one hundred and eighty seconds. He thrusts wildly, performing all manner of acts on the bear, showing off to the audiences his variety of sex moves he likes using on women. Because sex with a stuffed animal is funny. Especially over the course of three minutes.
8. Marlon Wayans mounts a stuffed duck from behind and the duck quacks with each thrust. Because, again, stuffed animal coitus is funny.
9. Loud R&B music plays during all of this stuffed animal sex, and when his girlfriend shows up, we get a wacky sound effect of the needle scratching off the record. Because wacky sound effects are funny.
10. During the night, not only does Marlon’s girlfriend fart, she farts noisily and juicily for another sequence of at least two minutes. During this, Marlon screams, falls out of bed, sprays air freshener everywhere, crosses his eyes, stumbles from the smell, and yells “DAAAMN!” a lot. Because farts are funny.
11. In the morning after the farts, Marlon’s girlfriend says, “We have a ghost!” Marlon replies, “You have a ghost… IN YA ASS!” Because “ass” as a punchline is funny.
12. David Koechner arrives as a security man with a mentally challenged brother. “He’s my brother… he’s a simple,” he informs us. Because causing the mentally challenged names is funny.
13. The camera zooms in on the mentally challenged brother. He bugs his eyes out and droops one lip comically to the side. Because the mentally challenged look funny, and making light of that is doubly funny.
14. When Wayans and his girlfriend leave the house, Rosa the housekeeper runs a cocaine ring. Because she’s Hispanic. She also has sex with a Hispanic plumber. Because she’s Hispanic, and they are sex-hungry and get involved with drugs, and pointing that out is funny.
15. We look in the bathtub, and we see a leg razor with large patches of gross and awful hair. She comments she just shaved her legs. Because hairy women are funny.
16. His girlfriend poops with the door open. “I’m claustrophobic,” she says. “Well, I’m ASSTROPHOBIC!” Marlon replies. Because “ass” as a punchline is funny.
17. After hearing his wife is claustrophobic, he locks her in the bathroom. Because locking a claustrophobic person in a confined space is funny, especially when that person is a woman.
18. After Marlon Wayans has sex with his wife, he is covered with comical amounts of sex and proceeds to make faces that Jim Carrey rejected during the Ace Ventura films for being too broad. He then curls up and sucks his thumb like a baby. Because men can’t ever satisfy women, and that’s funny.
19. Marlon speaks about a sex move he does called “The Tornado,” and proceeds to show us by wildly humping the air for roughly a minute or more. This is the second instance of Wayans insisting upon showing us exactly what he does in the bedroom. Because humping the air for extended periods of time is funny.
20. When his bed moves, Marlon screams like a girl. Again. Because men screaming in a high pitched voice is funny.
21. His girlfriend tries to get him to calm down, and he yells, “BITCH, THERE’S A GHOST IN THE HOUSE!” Because using “bitch” as a punchline is funny.
22. The psychic, played by Nick Swardson, is gay. He’s really gay. He tries to trick Marlon Wayans into admitting he’s gay. Wayans states for the record numerous times that’s he’s not gay, has never been with a man, and being with a man is gross. Later, Swardson turns the lights out, and when the lights come on, he’s pinching Marlon’s nipples. Because gay people are super weird and gross, and that’s funny.
23. As Swardson’s leaving, he tells the girlfriend, “You are SCREWED, sista. With an A.” He then has to be dragged out of the house, because he doesn’t want to leave Marlon’s side. Because, again, gay people are super weird and gross, and that’s funny.
24. In a flashback, a mom toasts her child’s birthday and says, “It’s a good thing that clinic was closed!” Because aborting your child is funny.
25. Her stepfather then beats her with a belt as she screams, while the mom watches and laughs. Because beating children is funny.
26. The girlfriend tells Wayans he has herpes. He hops naked into the bathtub screaming broadly, and pours all over himself, among other things, Comet and gasoline. He’s screaming “GET THE MATCHES!” Because women are liars that give men STDs, and they’re hard to cure, and that’s funny.
27. Remember the scene in Paranormal Activity where she stands by the bed forever, so the camera goes into fast forward? In A Haunted House, the woman dances in fast forward. Including… wait for it… The Macarena. Because in 2013, references to the Macarena are VERY funny.
28. Marlon makes a edited-together mix-up of all of the weirdest stuff his girlfriend did. Not for YouTube or anything. Just… because? This is never explained. Because wacky editing is funny.
29. They find a shit on their floor. Marlon Wayans zooms in on the shit. Because shit is funny.
30. It’s revealed that Marlon Wayans took the shit. He came home drunk, spilled his girlfriend’s father’s ashes on the ground, and took a shit on them. As he shit, he grunts wildly, and the shit makes a squishy sound as it’s happening. Because taking shits are funny.
31. They smoke weed to relax. Suddenly, the joint floats in mid-air, and we see the ghost inhale and exhale. Later the ghost inhales and blows it in Marlon’s girlfriend’s face. He dies laughing and yells, “THAT’S A SHOTGUN FO YA ASS!” Jokes aren’t necessary during this sequence. Because ghosts smoking weed are funny.
32. The ghost drags sleeping Marlon out of the room and has sex with the girlfriend while she sleeps. She loves it, because it’s better than Marlon. We watch the video, as the ghost performs oral sex on the girlfriend. The noises are loud and sloppy. We then hear a loud rush of water, and Marlon yells, “I HAD NO IDEA YOU WERE A SQUIRTER!” (If you haven’t gathered, Marlon yells nearly all of his lines.) Because ghost sex, and possibly ghost rape, are funny.
33. Some thugs come over to investigate what’s going on. The main thug gets angry they’re recording everything. He says, “WE THUGS! WE CAN’T BE ON NO TV!” One thug with very crossed eyes looks into the camera. Because thugs are ignorant, and that’s funny.
34. The ghost drags the girlfriend out of the room and rapes Marlon. As he penetrates Marlon, Marlon protests as we hear a myriad of squishy sounds. Because rape is funny.
35. The girlfriend sees the video of Marlon getting raped and says, “Ohhhhhh, you got ALTAR BOYED!” They then accidentally load the video of his rape to YouTube. Because everyone knowing he had sex with another man is literally the worst thing that could happen to Marlon Wayans, so it’s funny.
36. The woman gets angry at the ghost, sees the ghost coming in, and kicks him in the balls. We see the shadow of the ghost wince and keel over. The girlfriend yells, straight into the camera just in case we’d otherwise miss it, “YEEEEEEAH, I KICKED YOU IN YOUR GHOST BALLS!” Because nut shots are funny.
37. The girlfriend gets possessed by a demon, literally changing the “story” (I use the term loosely) in mid-film. She has a vampire bite on her neck and lunges at Marlon, who barely escapes. He looks at the camera and says, “OH YEAH, SHE IS DEFINITELY ON THE RAG!” Because woman are so crazy on their periods, and that’s funny.
38. Cedric the Entertainer arrives as an exorcist from prison. He sees the girlfriend and says, “Bruh, I’m gonna have to level wit you, that bitch don’t look right.” He says less than a minute later, “I’M HERE TO EXORCISE YO BITCH, MAN!” He says “bitch” every other line or so. Because “bitch” as a punchline is funny.
39. The girlfriend screams at Cedric. He sprays Binaca in her mouth after she does. He informs Marlon, “That breath is KICKIN’! I can only IMAGINE what the kitty smell like!!” Because spraying someone with Binaca has NEVER been done in any parody before EVER, so that’s funny.
40. They gather all the male characters together– Koechner, his “simple” brother, Nick Swardson, Marlon, and Cedric. Cedric informs everyone, “Gentlemen, what we have here… is a crazy bitch.” Because, as I’ve said time and again, “bitch” as a punchline is funny.
41. Nick Swardson makes Marlon Wayans dress up like the Gimp from Pulp Fiction for no reason at all. Because gay people are weird, and, y’know, like leather? I guess? And that’s funny.
42. Cedric does coke with David Koechner, and they talk about Samuel L. Jackson for about 45 seconds or so. Not making jokes. Just talking about him. And they yell the Snakes on a Plane quote. And they laugh about it. And the film moves on, like this never happened. Because… referencing other movies in the middle of your movie for zero reason is funny.
43. Marlon’s neighbors are having a mandingo party in his garage, with all of the thugs taking turns having sex with the white wife. Cedric sees this and is excited. “OH SHIT, IS THAT A MANDINGO PARTY?” He enters, trying to leave the search for Marlon’s girlfriend, exclaiming, “I WANNA GET MY KUNTA KINTE ON!” Because references to Roots are funny.
44. Cedric splashes the demon girlfriend with liquid. They ask if it’s holy water. He informs them it’s the new Khloe and Lamar perfume. Because this movie is WAY above vapid reality television, so that’s funny.
45. The simple brother is found peeing on the wall for no reason. Because the mentally handicapped are weird, and that’s funny.
46. Nick Swardson finds Shake Weights and shows Marlon what he’d do to him. He later grabs Marlon’s balls in fear. Because gay men are sex-crazed lunatics, and that’s funny.
47. In a blackout, Nick Swardson strips naked and looks for Marlon. See #44. Because gay men… they’re so sex-crazed and looney, and everyone knows it, and that’s funny.
48. They finally catch the girlfriend, and they dogpile on her. They beat her with fists, with feet, with anything in reach. Someone yells, “FUCKING BITCH, TAKE THAT!” Because beating women while yelling “FUCKING BITCH, TAKE THAT!” is funny.
49. We see another “fast forward” scene, but this time, it’s of Marlon Wayans having sex with his recovered girlfriend. We watch a lot of it. Again, Marlon is frenetically humping away, showcasing to us what he totally loves doing with women and only women. Because fast-forwarded sex is funny.
50. At the end, Marlon Wayans is killed a la the end of Paranormal Activity. And when the demon girlfriend goes to inspect Marlon’s body… Marlon farts in her face. I can think of no more fitting ending. Because farts are funny.