‘Animal’ spirit hijacks reunion

U celebrates film's 25th anni with homevid launch

The food wasn’t real — the city of Hollywood prohibits actual food being chucked about on its streets, even for movie re-enactments — and the hair notably grayer on many of the day’s star attractions. But the juvenile spirit that infused “Animal House” was still on display at Universal Studios Home Video’s 25th reunion party last week.

Made-for-TV event started as a homecoming parade straight out of the movie, then turned into a faux food fight and dance session, with Otis Day and the Knights belting out “Shout” as scores of extras hurled confetti and sponges that substituted for cafeteria fare.

Afterward, however, many of the assembled players — including the pic’s prissy Babs (Martha Smith) — gave the camera-filled crowd a one-fingered salute. And during the intimate luncheon following the event at Wolfgang Puck’s Vert, helmer John Landis jokingly tried to instigate a food fight to the amusement of fellow diners, which included scribe Chris Miller, who based the story on his Dartmouth days in the early 1960s, and pic’s Peter Riegert and Stephen Furst.

Mark Metcalf, who played ROTC captain Neidermeyer, says he still gets recognized by fans who ask him to quote lines and “aren’t happy unless you spit on them.”

Tim Matheson, meanwhile, says it was “weird and bittersweet” to see the old cast fall back into character for a “Where are they now?” bonus feature on the pic’s new “Double Secret Probation” DVD, where castmembers decide the fates of their characters.

Also on hand: Universal’s Craig Kornblau, Ken Graffeo, plus John Belushi’s widow, Judy Belushi Pisano.