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  • If I had to sum up this film in one word, that word would be:

    Dafuq.

    I thought The Room, Dangerous Men, The Holy Mountain, Psyched by the 4D Witch, The Creeping Terror, and that one where there is inexplicable lactation fetish throughout the film (Visitor Q)...I thought they had prepared me for anything. But then I finally got my hands on a copy of Hausu.

    There is what can be described as a plot, so that's something to cling to. Because once this film gets underway it casts you adrift with rapidly changing scenes that make no sense, clipped together at shutter like speed.

    Did someone turn into a pile of bananas? The cat? Like seriously, pretty much everything about the cat can be questioned in any way. Why aren't we throwing spoons at the screen, every time the step mum's scarf enters a scene?

    In some ways, as others have said, it's a classic (or what has become classic) teen slasher flick in a haunted house. But there is nothing else that can really prepare or describe this film.

    As a meme once said:

    "Thanks, I hate it"
  • This must be one of the weirdest films I've ever seen ... and I absolutely loved it!

    "House" is primarily the story of teenage schoolgirl Gorgeous. Summer break is approaching, and she and her six girlfriends are excited about their vacations. Gorgeous is supposed to spend time with her widowed dad on a trip out of town, while her friends are excited about a summer camp.

    Well, Gorgeous' dad surprises her by introducing her to his fiancé / her new mother, Ryoko. Gorgeous is not happy and decides to visit an aunt (her mother's sister) who lives in the family homestead way out in the middle of nowhere. When her friends' plan to go to summer camp falls through she invites them to join her.

    The rest of the film is about Gorgeous and her friends, Fantasy, Kung-Fu, Mac, Prof, Melody, and Sweet, as they are terrorized by the House.

    Random Notes:

    As you may have guessed, the girls all go by nicknames that describe how they stand out in their group. Melody plays music, Kung-Fu knows how to fight, Prof is bookish, etc ...

    The house in question struck me a bit like Pee Wee's Playhouse on acid ... with gore!

    Surreal doesn't even begin to describe most of what happens, but the high-point for me was when the piano eats one of the girls (guess who).

    The visual style of the film is all over the place. It seems that the director was determined to use every visual option available to him. Zoom in and out! Cross-fade! Color overlay! Stock backdrops for the sky and landscape! Sloppy green screen special effects! Twinkles! Speed up! Slow down! Random audio overlays! Stop-motion! These effects seem to come out of nowhere for no reason and that's part of the charm of the movie.

    The Criterion Blu-ray release also included the director's short art-film, "Emotion". The story (if you can call it that) involves a girl that was raised by The Sea who had a longing to go Far Away. The director was influenced by the French filmmaking of the time, so you'll encounter the French language as well as Japanese and English.

    There's an animated sequence involving a heterosexual S&M relationship with a female submissive that gets out of hand, the mention of an intergenerational and incestuous lesbian relationship, a vampire-ish man stalking around in a cape that drinks blood through a straw, and much more of the director's trademark let's-use-every-visual-option-at-our-disposal style. It's trippy and well worth watching.

    Recommended!
  • About 2 months after obtaining this title, I've not been able to find words to describe this movie, other than strange and bizarre. Depending on your mood it's either a noble failure or a triumph in film making. I couldn't use the terms ground breaking to describe it, but there's something important about the texture of this film.

    Imagine John Hughes and Sam Raimi kicking back and doing some hard drugs and deciding to make a movie together. It might look like this. It spends a good amount of time before it gets anywhere, focusing on four teen girls whose names seem to support their abilities, expertise, or interests. At this point, it plays almost like an average teen rom-com. But note the campy soundtrack, dancing school girls, and some rather strange almost comic book like backgrounds.

    It starts getting interesting as the girls set forth to movie's namesake house. They flashback and do storytelling in the form of a silent movie. We get to see some slapstick characters which don't belong in a horror movie, and we have a roll call of our four heroines as they head off into the woods. Enter the House alluded to in the film's title.

    So the horror begins. But this is Sam Raimi style horror. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if some of this inspired Evil Dead - if the film was available - who knows. There's a whole series of odd scenes. Most notable is the infamous piano scene, where a piano devours someone. But that's not all. There's an evil kitty, a clock the spills out blood ala Evil Dead, a river of blood and some kooky camera work and odd cut aways! "Ambitious" might be the operative word to describe this movie. When I watch it, I'm not quite sure if it all works. The effects are crude, but not in the Ed Wood "you can see the strings" style. For me, some of it is like reading a comic book. They're bigger than life, not meant to scare you in the classical sense. But it is unlike anything you've seen before.

    I guess if I have any gripe about the film, it's that it takes a good while to get really fun, but when you get there, it's an insane joyride. But it's not a normal movie viewing experience and a rating does not serve it well. Watch it for yourself - and it probably wouldn't hurt to have a drink or two while doing so.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It has been said that Hausu is like Beetlejuice as directed by Dario Argento, only about ten times better than that would be. While this description is admittedly vague, it's hard to think of one that comes any closer to being satisfactory. Nobuhiko Obayashi's film defies comparison, seamlessly blending comedy, horror, and gorgeous visuals in a way that really must be witnessed in order to be appreciated.

    The plot itself is nothing very new, and is a kind of supernatural take on Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians" -- Seven Japanese girls venture off to visit Grandmother in her big, spooky house, unaware that the house is in fact a demon that consumes virgins. One by one, they are killed in increasingly bizarre ways -- One is eaten by a piano, one by bedding, to go on would be giving away far too much.

    But the story isn't really what's important here. Suffice it to say you have never seen a film like this before -- part satire, part camp, part coming-of-age story, merged with horror that is truly disturbing. The laughs are terrific and the scares are genuine; you may often feel unsure whether to laugh or shudder, and don't be surprised to catch yourself doing both at once. As if this weren't enough, add to that Obayashi's completely unique visual flair; not a single shot goes by without astounding imagery and effects.

    It is impossible to adequately describe Hausu for someone who hasn't seen it. But if what I've written has made it sound even the slightest bit interesting to you, you owe it to yourself to seek it out and see for yourself. Oh, and there are no subtitles, but you don't need them. Seriously.
  • I initially discovered this film through the recommendation of a bandmate whose only description of the film was that it was a "classic japanese horror film about a haunted house" which was enough to peak my interest, being a fan of both classic horror camp and japanese horror. but i had no idea what an absolutely bizarre and visually bananas film it actually was.

    i think there are two facts about this film that may enhance your viewing experience if you know about them going in. The first is that the director was previously only known for his visually stunning work directing commericals, and if you know anything about japanese commercials you know they tend to be wacky as all heck. This film is just as wacky but its visuals are not only entrancing but also strangely beautiful. The intense use of color, vivid painted backdrops, and creative editing make some scenes in this otherwise silly and over the top horror campfest actually breathtaking. The second fact to know going in was that the story was written by the director's own young daughter. Upon hearing that, you would think that plays to the films detriment but it actually gives it a sort of storybook charm, albeit a storybook with a sinister edge to it. This also serves to help ground the dynamic between the group of schoolgirls with a sense of insight and relatability in this otherwise campy story. too often, young people in horror films are clearly being played by older actors and behave the way an adult thinks a young person behaves, which is to say not very accurately. so its refreshing to see these younger characters look and behave like actual young people.

    as mentioned before, the visuals on display here are mezmerizing and even sometimes beautiful. while refraining fron specifics, a scene in which a character is devoured by a household object, an entirely outrageous and hilarious concept in and of itself, is simultaneous uproariously funny and visually marvelous to watch. but instead of lazily tackling this concept, the vfx and editing are smart and creative which to me is what all great horror moments should be about. my attraction to the genre has always been from the aspect of visuall effects which is why the works of cronenberg are some of my favorite horror films of all time, and while the effects here are no where near as detailed as those of his work they still make you marvel at their execution just the same.

    now to the best part, the camp. for the most part, campiness in horror falls into one of two categories. either they're so bad they're good, or they're self-aware of the low budget and campy humor. this film falls in the latter category. i implore anyone to watch the chandelier scene and tell me differently. this is what makes the film an absolute joy to watch with friends. i hosted a double feautre at my house for my birthday last year and screened both Seijun Suzuki's Tokyo Drifter and this and while the former film recieved a lot of praise, everyone was talking about this film. There are so many small moments in this film that result in uncontrollable laughter, especially if substances are invovled. (word of advice: dont make a drinking game of how many times the cat appears on screen unless you enjoy being hospitalized or dead)

    as far as the scares go, this film really only maxes out at being slightly creepy in parts. the main actress and the actress portraying the grandmother really help sell this on top of having the best performances. the big appeal of this film as a horror classic lies in its campy humor and the vfx. dont go expecting putrid gore and absolute terror. this isnt takashi miike, here.

    i cannot recommend this film enough. even if you dont enjoy most horror films, you will have a blast with this one i promise you.
  • The people here who called this movie campy do not know what campy is. A movie is campy when its campiness is unintentional. Hausu is therefore not campy, since it is obvious that it is intentionally campy, the very reason why it is so much fun to watch!
  • A weird and vibrant haunted house flick unlike anything else you'll ever see. HOUSE is revered by some as a classic of kitsch Japanese cinema; it's so outlandish, so bizarre that it avoids all attempts at pigeonholing and ends up in a genre all of its own. I guess you could call that genre "anything goes".

    HOUSE resembles THE EVIL DEAD, not in look or style, but in the pure level of inventiveness on display. It's a film that's full of imagination and energy despite the often languid pacing, and the story of a group of schoolgirls visiting a crumbling mansion in the deep countryside is only the start of it. In one of the film's bizarrest highlights, a guy is transformed into a pile of bananas. It's that kind of film.

    The real star is director Nobuhiko Ohbayashi, who delivers the kind of drug-crazed madness that fans of cult cinema can only dream of. Once the hauntings begin, they don't let up, and Ohbayashi delivers a non-stop roller-coaster of crude, low budget and silly special effects. There are disembodied heads, evil animated cat spirits, a carnivorous piano and much more besides. The cartoonish action on-screen is accompanied by a sublime music score, of which the central theme is the type to get in your head and stay put. I won't say anymore about the film, for fear of spoiling the effect, but if you're a fan of outré cinema then you simply have to see it.
  • In the hands of experimental Japanese filmmaker Nobuhiko Obayashi, the tale of seven "unmarried" young high-school girls who, during a school break, travel to a spooky, remote hilltop house to visit the reclusive, mysterious Aunt of one of their fold only to be consumed one at a time by the Ghost-House/Aunt in increasingly novel ways, is escalated into a spastic, phantasmagorical confetti burst of avant-garde techniques and tonalities. Not a minute goes by without some kind of imaginative and spirited experimental visual manipulation or interjection; from kaleidoscopic color schemes, to frame and time altering collage montage, to wild, high-concept mixed media integration (animation, mattes, props, sets, etc), to mini-movie injections (lovingly parodying/mimicking everything from silent film stylistics, to romantic fantasies to obligatory action scenes). Any and all workings of the film form are here incorporatedly warped; from imagery and editing to music and sound to content and presentation. Even the sketches of characters and their respective performances by the actors are hemmed in time with the overall off-the-wall configuration. (Example: Each girl is intentionally drawn with their stock personalities (the musician, the over-weight eater, the athlete, etc) novelly paraded in gleeful iconic irreverence.) The moods and tones of the film are equally melodic in their own discordant tangential way; seamlessly walking the line between comedy, horror and the deadpan aloof. It all adds up to a whole lot of fun. Where else could you see a girl eaten by a piano, an upright Bear helping cook dinner at a roadside noodle-stand or a man turned into a pile of bananas because he doesn't like melons!? With all its packed in candy-colored confections and novel door prizes, "Hausu" is a cinematic surprise party all in one...just add you.

    Get an English Subtitled DVD at: allcluesnosolutions.com
  • As soon as I finished this film, I knew it would be a go to Halloween film for me.

    As a rule, I am not overly fond of the horror genre. When people ask which horror movies I like, I usually answer, 'All of the good ones.' Typically horror seems to care very little for story or true dread and fear and opts instead for cheap jump scares driven by loud music cues and gruesome obsession over violence for violence sake. While I find gruesome effects to be interesting from a how-did-they-do-that perspective, it isn't something that can make a film for me, if that is its only significant trait.

    This horror film wins me over in a way few other horror films have been able to manage. It won me over with its sense of whimsy and fun.

    This is not horror film like most others. You don't walk away feeling dirty and and gross. You finish up feeling like you were just hanging on to a bumper car that went out of the rink and ran through a fun house. Its an experience that puts you through a range of emotions rather than just striking one single note the whole time.
  • Yggort23 July 2015
    Unexpected treat in every scene. I highly recommend getting a good print of this film for the artistic quality in every frame. This is the sort of thing that could only have been born out of the 70s, and you will never see anything like it again. In fact there doesn't seem to be anything like it at all. Some info about this movie differs from the version I saw, such as the number of girls and their names. Either it's an error, translation issue, different version or a combination. Either way, I'm sure any version would retain its artistic uniqueness. I'm glad to see it has developed some cult appreciation, and even some deep analysis of the plot and intent. I would love to own the soundtrack too, as I discovered it was released on vinyl.
  • There is a serious erotic component to this that no one seems to want to touch in the user reviews, and most of the actresses were 16 at the time. It's bizarre and entertaining, using lots of war metaphors with themes of innocence and teenage trauma.
  • I'm surprised it took me so long to see this. I've always been curious and the stuff I've seen from it just looked bonkers. Well I had no idea what i was in for. But it's utterly brilliant. Japan's treatment on the haunted house formula teamed with the feeling of live action anime and just bizarre stuff is breath taking. It's literally the cinematic equivalent of a fever dream. I'm not sure what it's all about but basically a group of teens go to stay in a haunted house with a crazy cat and a witch I think and than it's just crazy. It took a while for the film to finally come over to the states even though it was a hit financially in Japan but I'm glad it did. I just wish I would have seen this masterpiece sooner.

    4.5/5
  • asandor7 January 2020
    House (Hausu) is a film directed by Nobuhiko Ôbayashi and stars a variety of young girls as they go on a chaperoned trip to one of the groups Aunt's. This aunt, however, seems to be more than she appears, as the group is slowly torn asunder (sometimes literally) by the house in a variety of ways.

    This film is an embodiment of avant-garde when that was still a new thing. This film reminds me a lot of Jean Luc-Godards "The Weekend" in its experimental and non-linear cinematography. This film is wacky, with each shot almost bending ones mind. Film gradients, props, music, effects and so on are bombarding the viewer constantly, and make even the mundane seem incredible. The story here is mundane. A group of students go to a house and are accosted by the possessed abode, as the aunt turns out to be a witch. The creative part here is what happens visually. The characters were fun. Each one is a literal representation of a specific idea or thing. Nicknames like Gorgeous, Fantasy, Kung-Fu and so on abound, with each nickname being a representation of the person in question. These traits come back to bite them (sometimes literally). Piano's chow down on fingers, mattresses attack, mirrors possess, and much more. At one point, a man is turned into a pile of banana's!

    This film is wacky in many ways. It possesses a wonderful style, contagious charm, and many fun and interesting elements. It is not pure horror, certainly coming through as a comedy. I had a brilliant time with this film, and look forward to watching this film again soon. What a ride! Highly recommended for those looking for something interesting and weird.
  • "Mac, you sure look tasty, being round and all."

    The acronym WTF was invented for House.

    I was warned beforehand that this movie was off the wall, but hey, 75% of the Japanese movies I've seen have been crazy. It started off as certainly a quirky movie, with unconventional screen translations from scene to scene, wacky editing, bubbly Japanese school girls with names like Gorgeous (she's very pretty), Kung Fu (she knows Kung Fu), and Melody (in a shocking twist, she's musically inclined), and just loads of that particular kind of flavor that some Japanese movies have.

    Then the six main characters took a trip to visit one of their aunts at her home (the house of the title), and the horror aspect of the movie set in. What specific kind of horror? The kind that involves a severed head appearing and biting a girl on the butt, and then rubbing up against it. Stunningly, the movie only escalates from there.

    House is fun, but it's clearly insane. An affinity for the weird and zany is a must, or this will be a waste of time for you. This movie has creativity coming out of the wazoo. How many times have you seen someone viciously attacked by feather pillows and mattresses? The special effects are also great, especially for the seventies. This was probably the most psychedelic movie I've ever seen.

    Is House a frightening movie? No. But if you have the right kind of sense of humor for it, you'll have a ball getting together with like-minded friends and watching this. There's a lot of comedy, of both the intentional and unintentional varieties. It's all very tongue-in- cheek. Even the soundtrack is hilarious, if you pay attention to it. 

    House gets a hearty recommendation from me. It's an entertaining, inventive spin on the haunted house formula, with a lot of uniquely Japanese craziness thrown into the mix. It's worth owning, in my opinion.
  • The first time in cinema movie history including the horror movie there is the movie made by different from any movies else that I have never watched. Hausu is where the simple things that could make you go into the craziest things that you have never seen in real life or anything else in your imagination or your dream. Although in this movie there are a lot of goofs but these is just make me laugh and make me insane when these girls go in the HOUSE and the soundtrack is awesome and crazy like the movie. All I consider about the greatest horror masterpiece in Japan
  • I've seen it twice. It's a wonderfully crafted mishmash of thousands of cinematic tropes, ideas, and feelings packaged into 88 minutes of film. Yes, it is a movie with a plot, but like 2001, it's about the journey of interpretation and emotion that drives the film rather than resolving anything. It's goofy, horrifying, tense, lighthearted, crazy, but always perfect. I know the metaphor of a "roller-coaster ride" means almost nothing now-a-days, but it's the most apt comparison. It's like being shot into a haunted house on the moon in a different dimension. You will NOT see a single thing coming. I promise you. It's like watching a hour and a half trailer for a horror movie while you're on acid. None of this is hyperbole, but merely an attempt to accurately portray the film with a few words. Stop reading this review, get the highest quality copy of this film out there and watch it because there's nothing else to say.

    Except maybe Kung Fu is best girl, but that's just like, my opinion man.
  • Many are reluctant to give this movie the credibility it deserves but this film truly belongs in the horror movie canon right along side Jaws, The Shining, and Evil Dead 2. There is no other movie like this one. On technical surface level one might assume this movie is incompetent or overly ambitious but it all plays in the films favor once the tone is established. The film elaborates on characters but it does so artificially. It establishes their artificial personality and then it kills with artificial looking special effects. It is a funny movie, and intentionally so, but when when you're finished laughing the absurdist nihilistic dread of artificiality is left over and it becomes all the more memorable. Absolutely essential viewing for fans of Horror and interesting aesthetics.
  • Wow! Noribuki Obayashi's "Hausu" aka. "House" of 1977 is easily one of the weirdest films I ever saw and I generally generally am a fan of the bizarre. A Horror-fan and avid lover of Japanese cinema, especially from the 70s, I had high expectations for this film, and I was not disappointed, even though the film was totally different than what I had expected. Having read no reviews of the film before seeing it, I expected a pure Horror film, but it turned out to be an incomparably bizarre and experimental Horror-parody, with a delightfully macabre and grotesque humor rather than scares. The film already starts out extremely strange (in an awesome manner), and it gradually gets weirder and weirder as it goes on.

    The film starts off with a bunch of teenage high-school girls, all of whom have certain distinctive characteristics that are mentioned in their nicknames, who travel to the countryside to visit the aunt of one of the girls. I don't want to spoil even a tiny bit of the plot of this unique Horror-parody, and therefore won't carry with a plot description, but I can assure that fans of surrealism and weird cinema will be delighted. While "Hausu" is not a film I would recommend to everyone, this is an absolute must-see to all my fellow fans of Japanese film, the Horror-genre and bizarre art-house cinema. Director Obayashi uses a bizarre of editing imaginable, with grotesque cutting, totally insane effects. Sometimes the editing equals that of a (bizarre) video-clip, only to jump to an entirely different style. Yet all this strangeness never draws the viewer away from the story, which is itself just as surreal as the film's style. Overall "Hausu" can be described as a unique and bizarre fairy tale with a grotesque and ingenious, often macabre and always unique sense of humor. There are moments in this film at which the viewer will just stare at the screen not knowing what to think, and scenes at which one is barely able to breathe in laughter, and every second of the film is very strange. Very delightfully strange that is, as "Hausu" is a bizarre gem that must not be missed by lovers of the surreal. Mainstream audiences might not know what to think of this, but every fan of a more unique form of cinema should give this a try. Surreal, exceptional, and one of a kind!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's easy to interpret Nobuhiko Obayashi's "Hausu" as a bizarre horror-fantasy. Let's face it: a bunch of teenage girls who go to a house that swallows each of them, how could anyone take that seriously? It sounds more like something that should star Bruce Campbell.

    Ah, but when you watch the interview with the director on the Criterion release, that's where it changes. You see, it's understood that the aunt died while waiting for her fiancé to return from WWII, so her spirit has stayed in the house and eats girls who enter. But the director has a more personal connection. He is from Hiroshima and survived the bombing, but he lost friends in the bombing. In that respect, the movie is an indictment of war and war's lasting effects.

    Of course, even if you don't realize that, the movie is still a fun romp. It's got some of the weirdest sequences imaginable. The sort of movie that you have to see to believe, and I have no doubt that you'll enjoy it.
  • This movie is the directing debut for (the great) Nobuhiko Obayashi. He has directed commercials for television before he got into directing movies. This experience helped Obayashi learn many special effects used in TV commercials. It shows in this movie as almost every scene contains some sort of special visual effects.

    In the mid '70s Toho studio was looking for fresh ideas for movies that would be a box office success. They've decided to use the then relative unknown Nobuhiko Obayashi to direct a movie with fresh new approach. Many of Toho's experienced staff expressed concerns over this because Obayashi never had experience of being an assistant director. Project manager for this movie then said "Us experienced directors aren't coming up with hit movies, so experience is not the criteria for making a successful movie. Lets allow this young director to make a movie to see if he knows more about what the audience really wants."

    The original plot of this movie was written by the then 13 year old daughter of Obayashi himself.

    The movie has a strange career as it was rediscovered by an Asian movie affectionado who had connections with Janus films (which is the parent company of the Criterion Collection) after being released in Japan over 30 years ago. It then made limited showings in theaters around the U.S.. Very unusual as not too many film gets a roadshow in another country 30 years after it was made.

    Seven girls makes a plan to go on a vacation at one of the girl's aunts house in the country side. They don't suspect that the aunt died long time ago, and what inhabits the house is the apparition of the aunt that can remain young only by devouring the bodies of others.

    The movie is a horror comedy with bit of erotic exploitation starring many actors who were teen idols at the time. When it was first released, Miki Jinbo who played the role of Kung Fu gathered the most votes by the young male audiences, as she kicked her way around the house wearing skimpy tank top and shorts.

    This movie is very original in almost every way. Visuals are unusual as expressed earlier that Obayashi used many of the special effects he's learned while making TV commercials. Color is also very surreal as is the acting, but the movie has strange charm all its own, and not boring to watch. You can almost say that this is an artistic film that's also geared to entertain the audience.

    In the end Toho studio got just what it was hoping to achieve - a box office smash hit. This movie also established the career of Obayashi as a bankable director. Obayashi went on to direct many other successful movies including the original "Girl who leaped through time".
  • A girl has just gotten a new stepmother, which greatly displeases her. So she decides to take her six one-character-trait friends and go visit her aunt on the countryside. In her aunt's house strange things start to happen.

    House, or Hausu if you prefer, is certainly something you'll remember for the rest of your days. Director Nobuhiko Obayashi intentionally wanted to make something with a very low budget, blatantly simplistic characters and events so bizarre and out of the left field that they would need no justification. And this honest commitment to weirdness is what makes the movie so enjoyable. Pretty much from the get-go you're being told that you're not supposed to take this too seriously, not supposed to think too much about it.

    And when you allow yourself to relax, lean back into your cushions and just take it in, it's a lot of fun. Does it make any sense? No, but it's not supposed to. However, it is a bit hard to follow, which can be a problem even with a film such as this. The seven girls are hard to tell apart, especially when they all dress and act pretty similarly. There are some outliers, but even still the character roster could have used a trim.

    Still, it's hard to criticize a film whose entire purpose is to step outside the norms and the expectations. If you're looking for an experience and don't mind horror tropes being made fun of, this might be your film.
  • This film is impossible to describe, or review, or assign an arbitrary number out of ten. In fact, calling it a film throws up the very idea of what constitutes a film. It is filmed, yes. As far as I can tell, the actors knew they were being filmed and were probably paid (in drugs maybe), but yet I struggle to define this as a film. It just doesn't seem right.

    Hausu is an experience. Quite an experience. You can actually pinpoint the moment where the film-makers got bored and began ingesting large amounts of LSD. It's about the time the floating head appears, followed by the girl-eating piano, and then the malevolent cat spirit that gushes blood, and the carnivorous lamp. This, of course, assumes that the film- makers were clean to begin with. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no doubt in my mind that the film-makers started on some type of cannabis, explaining the nonsensical edits, preeeety colours and crazy scene involving a man and a bucket. Then they moved on to something harder, perhaps skunk. That would explain the talking watermelon (at at least, I think it was a talking watermelon). By the time we get to the 'Hausu' in question, dear readers and viewers, it is clear that we are being directed by hypomanic drug fiends, so tweaked on psychoactive hallucinogens that they've lost all concept of reality, rationality and reason. The orgy of drugs that precipitates throughout the crew eventually spills on to the filmed scenarios, where our hapless (and one can only assume drug-addled) girls are being subjected to a series of criminally insane scenes of violence, comedy and epilepsy-inducing flashes of colours.

    The experience eventually ends, rather solemnly I must say, although after at least 20 minutes of non-stop psychotropic hallucinogenia, it acts as a welcome buffer zone as you gravitate back into reality. Hausu is an astonishing experience. I kinda want to watch it on drugs, but I value my life too much. If someone does manage to, and lives, please post a comment describing your experiences. I'm sure many will be fascinated.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Warning: I am most likely over-analyzing, but I just love this movie so much.

    This is undoubtedly the weirdest film I have ever seen. But I say that in a good way, as I believe that a lot of its weirdness is really just a unique creativity in the mind of director Nobuhiko Ôbayashi. The amount of creativity consistently shocked me with its brilliancy, and makes use of the film medium's maximum potential. It uses special effects like mattes, animation, and blue screen. It morphs elements like aspect ratios, color grading, shutter speeds, and frame-rates. And uses storytelling techniques such as crosscutting, and films within the film. That said, it is sure to be seen by some as exactly what it is meant to parody: a cheesy, sexist, over-the-top, haunted house flick which contains no more brilliance than purposeless shots of underage teens running away in their panties. I feel that these views may be partially spurred by the seemingly unwieldy variety of genres and tones. Horror, kung-fu, romance, drama, and comedy are just a few of the genres the movie will be switching between intermittently.

    What makes the movie special is found in the many moments in which these varying genres contradict, or even overlap. The use of its juxtaposition can be discovered straight away in the opening scene. The movie opens into an atmospheric setting filled with candles, beakers, and a cloaked woman staring directly at the camera. A simple piano lullaby can be heard, one that comes off as creepy when played behind such an ominous scene. However, the context is soon understood when the moody green color grading returns to life's normal vibrancy, the creepy lullaby transforms into a happy-go-lucky theme song, and the mysterious woman takes off her cloak. It was just a school girl posing for a photo-shoot with her friend photographer. Then the 2 girls talk about summer plans, and the photographer makes a comedic remark about how she looked like a 'witch'.

    This type of unique foreshadowing appears all throughout the 1st and 2nd acts. Instead of normal foreshadowing where small omens are directly connected to the future event, in House, they have almost no logical connection to what it is hinting at in the future. There is no reason for the photographer to have any idea that her friend might be a witch, it was simply a joke. While the plot is very innocent and almost cliche, the tone comes off simply as creepy. I found that this creates a feeling that the movie itself is haunted, rather than the events in it.

    This type of foreshadowing not only creates a unique tone for the film, but it also has a deeper meaning in (what I believe is) the deeper meaning. The film consistently involves the masking of troubles with blind optimism, and can be found in many other aspects of the film aside from foreshadowing and tone. An early example of this occurs after Gorgeous's widowed father introduces her to his new girlfriend and Gorgeous runs away. The next day all of the other girls are talking among themselves admiring their professor, while Gorgeous stands in the back. The alienation of her is obvious with Ôbayashi's use of the Looney Tunes/James Bond tunnel effect, but the other elements of the scene don't match this. The girls and the professor still take up most of the shot and the music is still upbeat, making it as if the other girls are the main story, and as though we too are ignoring Gorgeous. Many more examples of this theme can also be found throughout the 2nd act, which usually involves strange things happening to one of the girls, then the others trying to persuade them into believing that they were either mistaken or hallucinating and that the house is completely normal. In both the 2nd and 3rd act, all of the girls find their only hope in Mr. Togo coming and saving them, which never does happen. All of these fit in with the true meaning behind the title and house: that something as trustworthy and safe as a house could hold such horrible dangerous monsters. That something as innocent as a frail old lady or a beautiful young girl could be secretly possessed by an evil demon. It's, again, the masking of troubles with blind optimism.

    Perhaps most ironically of all the things in this movie, is the fact that this very secretive, and very unique theme in the movie is at its core a more complicated version of the most stereotypical theme in the horror genre: the loss of innocence. Most of the aspects in the film are really just horror cliches executed in a unique style. Which is why I believe this film can be best described as a rehash of all the oldest cliches in horror, done with such creativity and brilliance as to make it it's own beast entirely.
  • Hausu is basically the most bizarre Haunted House movie I've ever seen. The story follows a group of girlfriends who head to the country for vacation. They go to one of the girl's Aunt's house to spend their time. But beknownst to all of them the Aunt isn't really who she says she is. And there's a cat named Snowflake that obviously has some issues. Girls begin experiencing the supernatural and things don't seem to be slowing up. Reading back what I just wrote kinda makes the movie seem not so interesting. Seems like just another haunted house flick. But if you pop in this flick, almost immediately you will realize you've never seen a film like this. Filmed in a lively, colorful way mixed with a fantastic soundtrack, the flick exceeds on all levels of production. Combine the production values with a children's movie feel, then combine that with some blood, violence and nudity, you get a very different hybrid genre of a flick. Hausu is a flick that all fans of unique horror or cinema for that matter should check out.
  • In the realm of WTF there are some movies that mess with your mind and make you ask what the hell that was. Movies like Eraserhead, Tetsuo the Bullet Man and The Holy Mountain are brought up as examples of this. But none of them hold a candle to the serious mind screw that is "House" or "Hausu" depending on your preference.

    A bunch of schoolgirls head to a creepy house in the countryside owned by an aunt of one of the girls. Each one is named after a skill, ability or character trait. Gorgeous is pretty, Kung Fu likes to fight and Mac likes to eat. And once they get there things get weird.

    To try to even describe this movie is a challenge. Things happen. Really weird things happen. It's got a charming 70's vibe to it. The effects, although amateurish by today's standards, are well done for the era. And while the actors do a decent job, it's full of theater acting. The difference is that their actions tend to be a little over the top and not natural. This is of course a hallmark of Japanese cinema where a more stylized take is preferred over something more natural that we expect over here. That's not a bad thing though as it lends an air of other worldliness to what would otherwise be a rather tepid story.

    In short, it works. If you're a fan of the bizarre you really ought to take a look at this.
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