The actors had to go through motion capture acting in order to animate the characters. The actors had to wear motion capture suits with little dots glued on their faces and a headpiece glued to their head with motion capture dots. After they took off their suits, the glue would cause irritation to their hair and scalp, but luckily they'd get a head massage with shampoo.
Homages to various Stephen King stories abound. The idea of a house that comes alive and eats people can be found in the third installment of King's "Dark Tower" series, "The Wastelands." And while in the house's basement, Chowder shines his flashlight on a mechanical monkey much like the one found in King's short story "The Monkey," collected in "Skeleton Crew."
There is a back story involving Skull (played by Jon Heder) and Bones (played by Jason Lee) being in an amateur heavy metal band. When we first meet Zee (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal), she is wearing a top with "Skull 'n' Bones" written on, and later puts one of their cassette tapes on called "Live! at the Smell". She is also dating Bones in the movie.
In the original screenplay, DJ and Chowder are harassed by two bullies named Ryan and Cameron who get eaten after DJ purposely lures them to the house as bait. The two characters were removed from the screenplay because the studio thought their death was far too dark, and that the bullies combined with DJ's cruel babysitter, boyfriend, and Nebbercracker all made the film seem much more cruel.
Many people have questioned how three sticks of dynamite could cause the house to have a catastrophic explosion shown in the film. What many people forget is that Mr. Nebbercracker had stockpiled tons of explosives in the house, and those exploded when the dynamite exploded.