"DC Showcase - Constantine: The House of Mystery" Animated Release Talkback (Spoilers)

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Yojimbo

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From the creative forces behind the DC Universe Movie line, DC Showcase puts the spotlight on favorite characters from throughout the annals of DC Comics in fascinating, short-form tales sure to entertain longtime and new fans alike. And now, DC Showcase Presents ... Constantine: The House of Mystery! Do you dare enter...

constantinehouseofmystery.png

DC Showcase - Constantine: The House of Mystery
Studio: Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, DC
Release Date: Blu-ray, Digital HD - May 3, 2022; HBO Max - August 1, 2022
Press Release: Click here!

Synopsis: After rewriting time and preventing the Apokolips War from happening, John Constantine finds himself imprisoned in the House of Mystery, facing a punishment he does not yet understand. As he explores the House's labyrinths, he soon finds Zatanna and many friends, but these meetings repeatedly end in his brutal death. Facing an endless loop of his own demise, the ever-brilliant Constantine begins to unravel the path that led to his hellish confinement. Can he outwit his captor and escape, or is he destined to serve his eternal sentence?

Bonus Features:
Blu-ray and Digital
DC Showcase: One Story at a Time (New Featurette) – This documentary takes a look at the roots of DC Showcase – from Catwoman and Sgt. Rock to Death and Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam, as well as the current quartet of shorts. Included are interviews with producer Rick Morales and directors Matt Peters & Milo Neuman as they explore the featured heroes and villains, the comics that inspired them, and these adventures’ place in the bigger picture of the DC animated universe.

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Please post all discussions and comments about the Constantine: The House of Mystery animated short and home video release in this thread! Remember, spoilers are allowed in this discussion.

Related Threads:

-DC Showcase - Constantine: The House of Mystery The World's Finest Review (Spoilers)
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-Constantine: City of Demons Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
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Note: We appreciate and encourage discussion, but please keep posts and interactions respectful and civil. Do not post any inappropriate, improper or inflammatory material, as we will issue warnings if we believe it necessary, and remember to keep the discussion ON-TOPIC!
 
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honorableninja

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the ending that red glow the spectre showed John it look like anti-matter which makes me thing possibly a animated crisis on infinite earths might happen one day.
 

Spider-Man

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Really good collection overall and I thought the Constantine short was fantastic. It really seemed like the perfect capper to the "Tuckerverse" and perhaps a tease of whats to come if the rumors are true.
 

Yojimbo

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While on one hand, "Constantine: House of Mystery" is an entertainingly subversive standalone story akin to a DC version of Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone" episode "Judgment Day" or later in the series, Richard Matheson's "Death Ship" in which the protagonist, in this short's case Constantine, realizes the truth that he is doomed to die over and over for eternity for the sins he committed in the past and doesn't have a happy ending where he triumphs and escapes scott free. Instead, he suffers a punishment far, far worse that being stuck in the same day and even then, the rest of known existence will suffer as well. All because he couldn't accept a bit of simulated happiness drawn from a rare mercy.

For Hellblazer fans, House of Mystery features the animated debut of several Constantine comrades – Gary Lester, Zed, and I believe Judith. Plus, you can't have a Constantine story without him thinking of an amusing way of outwitting a bunch of demons. All this alone would have made for a well done animated short. But much like "Justice Society: World War II" which added a multiversal element over three continuities and genres, "Constantine: House of Mystery" falters in extending itself from a one in done into a middle of the road vignette that draws upon continuity that the viewer may or may not be familiar with and then taunting them with an ending that isn't really one but teases a bigger entry to come adapting a controversial but lauded storyline from the comics that animation fans didn't know they needed to happen, a Crisis on Infinite Earths. One. DC fans have just seen adapted in live action with the CW's slate of programs and similar but more narrowly focused versions in recent animation like "Teen Titans Go! Vs Teen Titans" or the recently completed "Justice League Infinity" comic book series that revived the long ended "Justice League Unlimited" animated series. That's not to mention the current comic book fad in entertainment with multiverses that is quickly wearing out its welcome with too many projects utilizing it all at the same time.

I am not exactly a die hard fan of animation studio Digital eMation but the character design style and animation in House of Mystery felt subpar and at times flat. For a home release, the quality felt something more akin to a TV episode and lacked that cinematic oomph. House of Mystery potentially serving as Matt Ryan's swan song as John Constantine leaves a lot to be desired as well. But on the flip side, it was gift to have one more half hour with Matt Ryan as well as Ray Chase's take on Jason Blood/Etrigan, Camilla Luddington's Zatanna and Damian O'Hare's Chas. Lou Diamond Philips's surprise role as DC powerhouse, the Sceptre was a delight in itself. I admit Lou Diamond doesn't jump to mind when I think of who to fancast as Sceptre but he was a brilliant casting and I hope he'll continue to reprise the role in future projects. Another great revisit was the music being done by Robert J. Kral, who previously worked on the "Justice League Dark" animated movie that co-starred Constantine. Kral is unequivocally in his element with the supernatural.

For undisclosed reasons, there is no 4K version for sale at the time of release nor a Target exclusive Steelbook and Best Boy exclusive figure. Much like the Batman: Death in the Family collection from 2020, Constantine: House of Mystery collects the recent batch of Showcase shorts The Losers, Kamandi, and Blue Beetle. The special features were bare bones as expected. The lone featurette "One Story at a Time" examines the history of DC Showcase shorts line. While it was disappointing the shorts did not have commentary tracks with the creatives who worked on them, "One Story at a Time" balances the scales a little. And given DC Showcase being paired with the DC Universe line of direct-to-video movies, it was odd this compilation didn't "return the favor" so to speak and include a sneak peek at the next DC Universe title to be released, "Green Lantern: Beware My Power," out this summer. Overall, the special features left me wanting more as usual.

Overall, I liked it as a stand alone story but on the fence with it being used as potential set up and leaning on viewers to remember old continuity. Animation, design style, and special features were disappointing. House of Mystery adds an unexpected epilogue to what was believed a concluded movie continuity but the repercussions are only beginning. An excellent Twilight Zone-esque story on the surface, Matt Peters and Ernie Altbacker have assembled a bridge from the past towards a future movie release that looks to be an impending crisis on infinite earths.

EDIT: Altbacker informed me that the blonde with the headband was not Judith but Cheryl Masters, John's sister.
 
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Fone Bone

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DC Showcase: Constantine: The House Of Mystery

I really shouldn't be surprised that sucked so much. Justice League Dark: Apokalips Wars may go down in DC history as the worst ending to any long-running DC franchise ever. It's beloved by SO many people, but it's utter crap. I am totally unsurprised at how unsatisfying the epilogue to that whole sorry canon was. I don't think I should even be as pissed as I am. But I'm plenty pissed.

The short was by turns gruesome and obnoxiously salacious, and the ending meant nothing with zero context. It's all awful.

I found the fact that both Universes have different art styles the one interesting thing. It says the series of DTVs that Butch Lukic is currently helming ARE the rebooted Universe from the Tuckerverse. There also suggests that before what happened at the end, Constantine is the only person left with memories of that Universe. This is almost certainly Matt Ryan's last performance as the character (they closed the door pretty firmly there at the end) and like the equally punkass way he went out on DC's Legends Of Tomorrow, he deserved a FAR better ending. People like Geoff Johns and Zack Snyder fall upwards at DC. True assets like Matt Ryan are treated like crap. It's really starting to piss me off. How about you? *.
 

Yojimbo

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I was perplexed about that. If this rebooted Constantine was from the Tuckerverse, it made no sense the character design was way different, and a pretty terrible looking design for the rebooted Constantine imo, than the Tomorrowverse.

I think the short could have worked as a total standalone without Apokolips War or any previous continuity. Just have Spectre punishing John for something this version of John did on his own. Like a botched case where the spell he cast ended up killing everyone present in the House with him and blowing up most of the planet.
 

Frontier

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I was perplexed about that. If this rebooted Constantine was from the Tuckerverse, it made no sense the character design was way different, and a pretty terrible looking design for the rebooted Constantine imo, than the Tomorrowverse.

I think the short could have worked as a total standalone without Apokolips War or any previous continuity. Just have Spectre punishing John for something this version of John did on his own. Like a botched case where the spell he cast ended up killing everyone present in the House with him and blowing up most of the planet.
I've seen speculation that it might be building up to the animated Crisis.
 

-batmat-

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Well I thought it was alright! I'm with Fone Bone about my dislike for the Tuckerverse or DCAMU, but I found this entertaining for the most part. The changing art style (specially when the "new" Constantine looks his the "old" self) was a head scratcher but unlike folks here, I liked it. Much much more than the super generic and ugly designs of the Tuckerverse. These designs reminded me a bit of the latest Mortal Kombat movies.

The ending was a bit weird though, it felt like the Universe being a thing and doing whatever it did to John left me a bit clueless. As said here, it may have been a reference to Crisis which I know nothing about. But it was alright.

Also, how awesome is that DC Showcase intro? Can't get enough of it!
 

SweetShop209

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The designs being reminiscent of the animated Mortal Kombat movies is no surprise since they both share character designers (Steven Choi & Zak Plucinski) and producers (Jim Krieg & Rick Morales) who are known more for DC projects.

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Screenshot_20220511-020042.png
 

Ed Nygma

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I really didn't understand the ending of this one, if anyone could share any light on it... all the think pieces when I googled it say "well you see obviously it leads in to Crisis on Infinite Earths." What? How would anyone get that, beyond that it's being made? I know we live in overly cynical commercial times, but even if that's true it doesn't explain the in-story logic. Why would John be deathly afraid of Crisis compared to centuries of sheer hell? I couldn't tell if he saw something we couldn't (I was thinking the demon that has his sister Astra from the comics, honestly) or if it was supposed to click on a metaphorical level, but didn't. I also didn't really get why he was supposed to be punished at all for 'convincing' Flash to flashpoint them (that's One More Day logic there) or how he did it to himself.

On the other hand, I found it absolutely hilarious that all of the showcase shorts had this weird "there's an undefined alternate dimension with a secret portal and we're disappearing into it" ending, to the point where I thought they ALL were setting up the supposed Crisis lol. Which kind of illustrates the reason why I can't see it working... I guess it'll be "fun" to see the DCAU interact with New52verse, I guess, but what else is there? The Batman? Brave and Bold? Super Friends? It's not going to make sense to show "and here's the Superman from the earth of the Doomsday animated movie no one liked, remember him??"
 

Fone Bone

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I really didn't understand the ending of this one, if anyone could share any light on it... all the think pieces when I googled it say "well you see obviously it leads in to Crisis on Infinite Earths." What? How would anyone get that, beyond that it's being made? I know we live in overly cynical commercial times, but even if that's true it doesn't explain the in-story logic. Why would John be deathly afraid of Crisis compared to centuries of sheer hell? I couldn't tell if he saw something we couldn't (I was thinking the demon that has his sister Astra from the comics, honestly) or if it was supposed to click on a metaphorical level, but didn't. I also didn't really get why he was supposed to be punished at all for 'convincing' Flash to flashpoint them (that's One More Day logic there) or how he did it to himself.

On the other hand, I found it absolutely hilarious that all of the showcase shorts had this weird "there's an undefined alternate dimension with a secret portal and we're disappearing into it" ending, to the point where I thought they ALL were setting up the supposed Crisis lol. Which kind of illustrates the reason why I can't see it working... I guess it'll be "fun" to see the DCAU interact with New52verse, I guess, but what else is there? The Batman? Brave and Bold? Super Friends? It's not going to make sense to show "and here's the Superman from the earth of the Doomsday animated movie no one liked, remember him??"
The logic of the ending made no sense. There is a reason I hated the short. It promises more to come while being terrible set-up for any possible Crisis offered. The James Tucker era totally botched the landing. This "epilogue" short is just a final "Screw you!" to people who at one point liked that continuity.
 

Frontier

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Is it just me or did each of these DC Showcase shorts involve the multiverse or some kind of tear into reality?

House of Mystery - Constantine ends up in the world between worlds where he gets consumed by a seeming annihilation wave while everything else turns red.

Kamandi - Not in the short itself, but we know Kamandi ends up on Earth-2 (unless this was meant to be in the future of the Earth-2 seen in JSA: WW2 but either way he got transported)

The Losers - The tear in time and space that lead to the dinosaurs of Dinosaur Island.

Blue Beetle - Dr. Spectro escapes through a tear in reality that just suddenly pops up out of nowhere at the end.
 

Ed Nygma

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Is it just me or did each of these DC Showcase shorts involve the multiverse or some kind of tear into reality?

House of Mystery - Constantine ends up in the world between worlds where he gets consumed by a seeming annihilation wave while everything else turns red.

Kamandi - Not in the short itself, but we know Kamandi ends up on Earth-2 (unless this was meant to be in the future of the Earth-2 seen in JSA: WW2 but either way he got transported)

The Losers - The tear in time and space that lead to the dinosaurs of Dinosaur Island.

Blue Beetle - Dr. Spectro escapes through a tear in reality that just suddenly pops up out of nowhere at the end.
I thought the same thing. But knowing how disorganized the animated movie division has been it's probably a big coincidence. Absolutely nobody is going to remember The Losers went into a portal and came out in a potential Crisis movie, I can't even tell if it's the same characters from the Sgt Rock short.
 

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