• Barring a brief scene in which supernatural long black hair emerges from the surface of a bath to threaten the oblivious bather, Hausu is completely unlike any other Japanese ghost flick I have ever seen. In fact, it's completely unlike any other film I have ever seen, period. A relentless phantasmagorical smörgåsbord of psychedelic comic-book craziness, this is the weirdest trip you could possibly take without the aid of Class-A pharmaceutical stimuli.

    To tell his tale of seven cute Japanese schoolgirls spending their summer break at a haunted house, director Nobuhiko Ohbayashi employs a plethora of experimental film-making techniques: kaleidoscopic colours, stop motion animation, matte backdrops, rear projection, crazy scene transitions, unconventional camera-work, erratic editing, mad musical interludes. You name it, Ohbayashi uses it.

    The result is a totally off-the-wall piece of visual mayhem—kinda like Takashi Miike's Happiness of the Katakuri's crossed with Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead, only more bizarre—that will either prove totally irresistible (as it did for me) or utterly irritating. One thing's for sure... with a flying decapitated head, a man turning into bananas, a creepy ghost cat, a kung fu cutie in pants and a vest, a dancing skeleton, giant floating lips, a touch of gratuitous nudity and some sneaky up-skirt action, a gecko-killing chandelier, a voracious piano played by severed fingers, and a savage mattress attack, you can't accuse it of being just another dull and predictable J-Horror.