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Literature: The Dionaea House

A virally-spread Internet story told from 2004 to 2006, The Dionaea House consists of several stories told in various formats.

The first story, Correspondence from Mark Condry, takes place in September-October 2004. It begins when Mark E-mails Eric about their mutual childhood friend Drew, who recently shot up a diner. They remember that when they used to hang out, there was a house that terrified Drew. He had to house-sit there for two weeks, and came back... different. Mark goes to Houston to check out the house, then to Idaho to investigate further. He finds that the exact same house, roof damage and everything, is in Boise. He investigates the house.

The second story, Adventures in Babysitting, is a blog that takes place in October 2004. In it, 16 year-old Danielle Stephens tells about her new job babysitting an 8 year-old girl named Linney. Midway through we find out that it's in the same house. Weird stuff happens.

The third story is A Quiet Space, Eric's blog. It covers October 2004. It goes into much greater depth regarding the house and its mysteries. Much of it involves a homeless-looking man who keeps staring at him, a "Flesh Puppet." In it, Eric shares various theories about what the house might be.

The fourth story, The Blog of Loreen Mathers, is told from August 2005-January 2006. It starts off with Loreen telling us that she got back from 9 months in a mental institution because she killed a guy and said everything she knew about the house on the stand. She goes on to explain various peculiarities about the house, like how it smells weird, there's no fuse box, the windows aren't made of glass, etc.

Evidently, it was supposed to be made into a movie, but it unfortunately was in Development Hell, and was scheduled for release in 2011 under the title The Occupants, and at another point The Residents. According to the creator it's dead for now. Whether or not the door is still open for it to be made remains to be seen.

This work contains the following tropes:

  • Alien Geometries: The house in Boise has a second floor with "a really bizarre layout... lots of rooms." The second floor isn't visible from the outside. At all.
  • Aloof Ally: Loreen, to the rest of the cast.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Mark's correspondence and phone calls, Danielle's blog.
  • Ax-Crazy: Drew, causing Mike to start investigating.
  • Babysitting Episode: Danielle's Adventures In Babysitting.
  • Badass Creed: A comment made by "Mark Hondrie," on Eric's last journal entry: "Those who know, we consume. To those who doubt, we appeal. From those who believe, we hide. Those who know, we are. Those who know, WE CONSUME. There is no escape."
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Danielle, mentally and ultimately physically.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The House has a second floor that isn't visible from the outside.
  • Came Back Wrong: Drew, and eventually Danielle.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Drew, has a lot of loveable quirks and is described as the "fanboy type," which is why no one questions his even weirder behavior after he returns from the house.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Averted, no one is really close enough friends with Drew to stay with him and prevent his corruption at the hands of the house or get him help afterwards. Mark later laments this.
  • The Corruption: This happens to Drew after house-sitting for a week and also Danielle after spending her last night babysitting. It also happens to whoever the Twins and Sweatsuit Guy were in their previous existences.
  • Connect the Deaths: What Mark attempts to do.
  • Creepy Basement: And creepy second floor. And creepy attic and... you know what, let's just go with creepy everything.
  • Creepy Child: Linney has colored one of the upper rooms of her dollhouse with red marker, and when asked, informs Danielle that, "It smells like cookies and candy."
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: A major trope—in fact, it's largely how the antagonist works.
  • Dark Is Evil: Implied, in that the Madsons (who were at least partially immune to the House's manipulative properties) never turned their bedroom lights out.
  • Dead Fic: The movie and related drama put an end to the original viral story.
  • Distress Call: The House lets people find out about it so they'll want to explore it. Heck, just finding it puts you at risk of being lured in. In other words, it actually feeds on being a viral story. So keep sharing that link.
  • Eldritch Location: Aside from the fact that the same house exists in multiple places, there's the second floor that's not visible from outside the house. This is where it gets the name "Dionaea House" from. Mark compared it to a Venus flytrap, which may have multiple heads but they all connect to the same roots. The second floor may be comparable to the roots, and the various houses comparable to the heads. While in the second floor, Mark manages to send Eric a text message at 5:77 p.m.
  • Empty Shell: Drew, after spending too much time in the house.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: From one of Mark's emails: "Andrew talked about it the weekend before. Dog had behavioral problems Ė whined, barked, scratched at the door, pissed on the carpet. Didnít want to be inside, always wanted to be outside."
  • Flesh Puppet: The House can turn people into these. It gets Danielle.
  • Genius Loci: The House is one
  • Ghostly Chill: The air inside the house is described as 'cold and metallic', but sometimes giving off strong whiffs of sweet things - fresh bread, sugary cakes. Sometimes there's a smell of rotting decay, too - it's like the house is making the sweet smells to cover up the stench.
  • Glamour Failure: Loreen took an axe to the ceiling. It bled.
    • It's implied that the Madsons were somehow immune to the House's glamor, and that they somehow found out exactly what it was and ran away to live a nomadic lifestyle.
  • Guilt Complex: Mark blames himself for not speaking up about Andrew's weird behavior post house-sitting and his guilt is what causes him to go looking for Drew. And later, Eric feels the same way about not being able to help Mark more. The house itself uses guilt to reel in new people.
  • Hazardous Water: When Danielle leaves Linney alone in the bathtub for a couple of minutes, one of the house's strings comes out of the bathtub spigot and wraps around her ankle.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Prolonged exposure to the house (or even chasing related leads) causes people to develop a condition similar to tinnitus.
  • Heroic Willpower:
    • This all started because a couple named John and Lucy Madson were somehow at least partially immune to the various effects of the house. The backstory isn't fully explained, but they abruptly left the House for unknown reasons and lived on the road for years to try and avoid the House's meat puppets, but they were eventually found and killed by Drew.
    • Also, Loreen was able to stop herself at the last minute from going up into the second floor of the House.
  • Hobos: Mark has a few near encounters with a creepy one heavily implied to be one of the House's
  • Indian Burial Ground: Loreen implies in her last blog entry that the house was built by a man named Jared Lewis, a disciple of the famous real-life occultist Jack Parsons.
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: "There was a crooked man / And he walked a crooked mile..." and "Red rover, red rover, let (person) come over."
  • Madness Mantra / Arc Words: "The door is open."
  • Meaningful Name: "Dionaea" is the genus name for the Venus flytrap. Much like the plant, the houses lure people in.
  • Nice Guy: Pretty much everybody but Loreen.
  • Never Found the Body: Mark, Eric, Cam and Cam's friends are considered "missing," more than a year after their attempt to venture into the house.
  • Never Sleep Again: The Madsons for the most part. They can and do sleep however as long as they can bundle up with several blankets (regardless of weather) and bar all the doors and windows of the bedroom they're in, even the closet doors.
  • No Ending: While some of the blogs clearly end with bad things happening to the writer, others just sort of... stop.
  • Ontological Mystery
  • Parrot Exposition: One symptom of being "digested," by the house. Drew engages in this, but because he's already considered kind of weird, no one gives it a second thought.
    Mark: Whole reams of dialogue that heíd somehow memorized from one throwaway TV episode. Lyrics to entire songs. It went from odd, to funny, to disturbing in the first hour.
  • People Puppets: According to Loreen, people partially-digested by the house are controlled via "strings." This is presumably the reason behind Danielle's final posts and Sweatsuit Guy.
  • Pac Man Fever: An odd case. Mark fondly remembers game nights with Eric, Drew and others from 1998. What was the console game of choice? Tecmo Bowl for the NES.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Loreen.
    Loreen: I grabbed a chair from the little dining area and bashed it against the picture window that looked out on the front yard. Let me tell you, I swung that thing like the bases were loaded. I am no wimp. I once took down a guy a full foot taller than me outside a bar, and that was when I was a little tipsy. But damned if that window didnít break.
  • Sanity Slippage: What happens to Mark leading up to him finding the house in Idaho.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Drew kills himself after hunting down the Madsons.
  • Unperson: The House slowly and deliberately works to make its victims and other people associated with it into this. Somehow it got the court records of Loreen Mathers' trial for murder disappeared. Or having Drew kill the Madsons and then himself.
  • Womb Level: The attic presumably, although the entire house could really be considered this.

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alternative title(s): The Dionaea House
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