I have a very high tolerance for weird movies and I've seen several super-weird Japanese movies that I loved (such as "Happiness of the Katakuris"). However, to me a movie has to be weird AND good--unfortunately, I just found "House" to be weird.
This movie really defies description, though I will try. It looks like a horror movie made by children. And, the children consulted with Salvador Dali and Timothy Leary (who gave them a few hits of acid). It's just bizarre...and quite bad as well...but a bad that you might just find yourself watching because it's so weird and you want to find out what the payoff is at the end. Sadly, there just didn't seem to be any payoff and when the film ended I felt like "I waited all that time JUST for that?!".
The first portion of the film establishes the seven teen characters. All are stereotypes and the writer didn't even bother giving them real names--just nicknames to describe their one-dimensional natures. Some examples: the pretty girl is called 'Gorgeous', the smart one is called 'Prof' and the one who does nothing but eat and talk about eating is 'Mac' (presumably named after McDonald's or its famous sandwich). And, as a result, the characters never seemed real--more like caricatures. Most of their antics in the first 15 minutes is highly reminiscent of an episode of the Japanese Anime "Azu Manga Daio"--though I can probably safely assume you haven't seen it. I am probably the only 46 year-old man in America who has watched the series since my oldest daughter was a huge fan a few years ago and prodded me into watching it.
The seven walking stereotypes all go to see Gorgeous' Aunt during their school holiday. The Aunt is a weird lady in a wheelchair and while she seems nice, she isn't--but she, too, has almost no personality. Soon bad things start to happen--one by one the girls disappear and there's lots and lots of very, very unrealistic blood, body parts and mayhem. Part of the lack of realism can't be entirely blamed on the film--it was made in 1977 and even good films from then (and this isn't one of them) look pretty poor today. To make it worse, the movie was almost all special effects during the second half--so if you like really crappy looking effects, you are in for a treat.
As I said above, the movie was so bizarre that despite its many, many limitations I kept watching. Part of it was definitely out of curiosity and part is that I was assuming there'd be a great ending to tie everything together. After all, it IS a film from the vaunted 'Criterion Collection'. But I felt the ending was in fact pretty dumb.
In addition to being bad, the film has a few problems. Many adults will simply give up--mostly because it looked as if the film makers weren't even bothering to appeal to them (this was confirmed in one of the special features on the disk). I could, however, imagine some adults liking the film...too much. That's because the pedophiles out there might enjoy the scenes involving these nude pubescent girls (who, naked, appear about 12 to a Western audience). Icky. And, because of the nudity, violence and the like, I really wouldn't want kids watching it--though I am sure they'd like the cheesy violence and blood.
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