The script was partly inspired by Obayashi's then 12 year old daughter Chigumi. She told him of a fear she had where the mirror she used would eat her.
None of the seven young actresses who portray the group of friends who visit the house were trained film actresses. The young ladies were models who had worked with director Nobuhiko Ôbayashi making advertisements or commercials.
According to director Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, this is the first Japanese film to use video effects, which he applied in a scene to make one of the girls "dissolve" underwater through low fidelity video and a simple chroma key effect.
Shortly after this film's release, Obayashi proposed a story for what would have been the 16th Godzilla film. Had that film been made it would have used the same crew as this film with Godiego once again provided the music. This story told of a little girl named Momo who discovers the dead body of Godzilla. After being dissected, Godzilla is revealed to be a pregnant female alien named Rozan who died of diabetes. The brain of the dead Rozan instructs the humans that she must return with her unborn son to the planet of Godzilla and so her body is converted into a spaceship. The newborn child would be reunited with its father and they would have fought a female monster that shot fire from her breasts. Ultimately, this project was discarded by Toho and was instead released as a short story in the Japanese edition of Starlog magazine; the artwork being done by future Akira director Katsuhiro Ôtomo. The story lists the credits as if it was a feature film, with Obayashi as director.
Nearly all of the actors that appear in this film were largely untrained or inexperienced in terms of acting in feature films. The only true veteran of the big screen to appear in the film was Yôko Minamida who played the Auntie.
Between the project being given the green light by Toho and the film being completed, director Nobuhiko Ôbayashi produced several successful projects based on the story. He turned the story into a commercially-successful manga and radio drama; he also spun off a number of product tie-ins before the film was ever released. Obayashi did this because he wasn't Toho's first choice to direct the project. However after no-one else would approach the project, and the tie ins became a success, Toho eventually let Obayashi direct, bypassing the traditional hiring system.
Despite achieving unexpected commercial and critical success upon release in Japan, the film was rarely seen in the United States until 2009. Once the film appeared in a DVD collection available to the West, American audience members began to clamor for screenings of the film. It has since received overwhelmingly-positive reviews from American audiences and has gained a cult-like following in the country.
The film was commissioned by Toho studio in reaction to the success of foreign horror films like Jaws (1975) and designed to be a domestic reflection of the successful western films of the genre.
The Japanese rock band Godiego have a brief cameo in the film as the men who flirt with the girls at Tokyo Station.
House (1977) represents Nobuhiko Ôbayashi's feature-length film debut. Before directing House (1977), Ôbayashi directed commercials for Japanese television.
In the decade after this film's release, Obayashi had thought about making a sequel but ultimately decided against it thinking that a film like House should be a one-time event.
The seven young girls who visit the house are all named after their predominant attributes, looks, or personality traits. Their English-language names are Gorgeous, Fantasy, Kung-fu, Melody, Sweet, Prof (short for Professor), and Mac (which is short for Stomach and is not a pun on Big Mac).
Toho was unsure how to approach the film and considered releasing it as part of their "Toho Champion Festival", a seasonal matinee festival aimed at children.
Much of the special effects techniques Obayashi wanted to use were not available by Toho's in-house special effects department.
This is one of the few special effects film to make it onto the prestigious Kinema Junpo Critic's Top 200 best Japanese films of all time.
Near the beginning of the film, the girl's father returns home and remarks that the Leone likes his music better than Morricone's a reference to the famous Italian composer.
The radio drama of the film aired a year earlier in the winter of 1976. It was co-directed Obayashi and radio producer Osamu Ueno. The radio drama differs from the film version in that the story begins with a new teacher named Togo inviting seven girls to the Kurogami residence in the countryside as part of on-the-job learning.