on 6 May 2010
Releases like this make collecting DVDs so rewarding. As the other reviewers have pointed out, this movie is quite a unique experience, one that is admittedly not for all tastes! If yours run towards the horror/cult/weird/fill-in-your-own-blank genres, then this is a MUST SEE experience.Nothing will prepare you for whats in store here! It just never ceases to AMAZE me just how much incredible, undiscovered stuff is still apparently out there waiting to be mined and unleashed on an unsuspecting modern audience!
I'd like to comment also on the great booklet that comes with the disc,thick with notes and stills from the film.For me I really love having the physical "extras"like the booklet, in addition to the video supplementals found on the discs contents.It really adds to the "fun" of having this in your collection. Highly recommended!
on 11 January 2010
Hausu is a 70s movie unlike anything you've ever seen before really. It starts off straightforwardly with a bunch of giggly Japanese schoolgirls planning their summer vacation and soon finds itself plunged into a wacky LSD trip-like scenario in a haunted/possessed house in the country. I usually find 70s moviemaking a bit of a trial with its headache-inducing zoom shots etc but Kobayashi makes it work here because the whole adventure is so surrealistic and trippy.
The girls, enthusiastically played, are all laughter, charm and innocent naivety but of course then they start to die. How those deaths happen is unpredictable to say the least but 'Final Destination' this is not. The film somehow remains funny and quirky throughout, despite the untimely ends met by the girls. J-Horror fans looking for Ringu scares will be disappointed as, of course, horror today has left 70s movies looking pretty tame. There are scarier things on Dr Who than in this film but that's not the point. At the time this film was made it was revolutionary in its experimental visual effects and twisted storytelling but now it is more of a fascinating curiosity, albeit a milestone in the development of Japanese supernatural moviemaking.
If you realise that you will be amazed, charmed and surprised rather than terrified, then I thoroughly recommend this weird blast from the past.
It's official: there is an insane streak in the Japanese that no other country can rival, and it's been there for a LOOOOONG time.
Exhibit A: "House," a low-budget horror movie that seems like the acid-addled love child of a funhouse and a slasher movie. Its biggest failing is that it doesn't really have a plot, and for awhile there it looks like there should have been one -- but rich insanity is what is really fun here, with an evil cat, a carnivorous piano, a butt-biting head and... various other weird things.
Oshare (Kimiko Ikegami) is looking forward to a vacation trip with her dad... but is horrified to find that his creepily cheerful new fiancee will be coming too. So instead, Oshare decides to vacation at her aunt's remote country mansion, along with her friends Fanta (sweet flake), Gari (nerd), Sweet (tidy), Mac (glutton) Melody (musician) and Kung-Fu (do I need to explain this one?).
At first, everything seems pleasant and peaceful for the girls... but then some of the girls go missing. Mac's head is found in the well, Sweet is seemingly swallowed up by the bedding, and Oshare is enspelled by her mysterious old aunt. Will the girls be able to escape before the House eats them alive, or will they be sucked in one by one?
"House" is a crazy, frenetic funhouse ride -- it starts out light, sunny and psychedelic, slowly becomes hilariously gruesome, and turns into a haunting finale on river of Kool-aid blood. I mean, how many movies have a giggling girl being dismembered and eaten by a piano? Or a man becoming bananas... literally? Or single hopping legs doing kung-fu moves? Or a butt-biting disembodied head?
The movie's biggest flaw is that, well, it has no plot. Teens come to a mansion, weird stuff happens, and they start dying one by one while their red-herring teacher drives aimlessly through the countryside. That's... really all there is.
But director Nobuhiko Ôbayashi spackles the weird on so thickly that you really don't care about the movie's flaws. The movie is splashed with bright colors, Monty-Python gore, some gratuitous nudity and entertainingly bad special effects, and it does manage to spook you every now and then (Oshare's aunt has an eyeball in her mouth!).
And unlike most horror movies, the girls on this vacation don't bring the horror down on themselves by anything THEY have done. They're actually quite sweet and innocent, and though each one is mainly set apart by her defining characteristic, they all care about each other and do their best to fight the evil ghosties. Kung-Fu is particularly fun.
"House" is somewhat hampered by a paper-thin plot, but the insanely wacky horror-comedy pretty much makes up for that. A trippy, wacky little ride.
on 7 May 2011
If you haven't seen the actual film before, this is certainly one of those films where you say 'Well I've never seen that before' almost every scene. The editing is often incomprehensible and the characters are all 1 dimensional (Fantasy likes Fantasy Stories, Melody Plays Piano etc), but it's all adds up to a very unique experience.
For a movie this obscure I wouldn't have expected a great DVD, just the standard black case with dvd inside. But this is a really beautiful DVD. The case is clear and the sleeve is double sided so the inside of the case clearly has a still of the titular 'house' on it. There is a nice booklet detailing the movie and the director complete with stills and artwork, and the DVD has exceptional special features for such an old film. It seems the 'Masters of Cinema' collection really put some love into this, and I thank them for it.
If you haven't seen house, consider a buy. If you already like the movie, this is a done deal, GET IT!
on 15 July 2010
Imagine tucking into a huge bowl of warm candy floss laced with LSD - if you had a prediliction for Japanese pop culture your sugary hallucinations could look like this movie. It's obviously aimed at a hyperactive Japanese teenage audience and prolonged exposure can make your teeth hurt but it's a totally unique horror movie and we don't have enough of those. Think Mario Bava crossed with a Wile E Coyote cartoon!
The DVD transfer is suitably vivid and the booklet is excellent. Only minor grumble - the bulk of the extras are presented as a rather dull stretch of talking heads and are not in keeping with the loony atmosphere of the film - it would have been great if they could have been edited into a making of feature. Don't mean this to put anyone off - a release like this is so welcome and should be supported by everyone with an interest in off the wall cinema.
on 20 June 2011
Imagine an episode of the 1970s TV show 'Monkey' in which it pays nodding tributes to 'The Wizard Of Oz', 'Evil Dead', 'Hong Kong Phooey' and 'Scrubs' and if that sounds odd, you ain't seen nothing yet.
There literally isn't a minute goes by in 'House' without something happening although the plot of a girl visiting her aunt with a handful of friends is pretty straightforward, the 88 minutes journey to the climax is anything but with a soundtrack ranging from bubblegum pop to funk to 70s schmaltz and the overriding feeling after watching this was that it feels very current even though it's from 1977.
So, in short, if you like your films a little left of centre, you should enjoy 'House' but if nothing else you'll find it unforgettable.
on 7 June 2010
I have only learnt of the existence of this gem recently while browsing through my Amazon recommendations, and after reading the reviews and a bit more about it on the internet I was intrigued, so I decided to purchase it. I must say I was not disappointed! This film was fully equipped to entertain me thoroughly on a rainy Sunday afternoon. It is so well crafted and there is so much attention to detail that there are no dull moments. I shall not dwell on the plot because it is better to see for yourself, but it is really well paced and the dizzying editing would inspire any music video director of today. There are clearly advantages in being an experienced advertising film director before moving to features. The story is also so innocent and the lack of proper scares is done intentionally in order to accommodate as wide an audience as possible (in an interview the director said he even lightened the colour of blood to decrease shock value). One must remember that this film was made to jump start the Japanese film industry and get Japanese people (and hopefully the rest of the world) interested in Japanese cinema again. I believe this film does the trick and one is left wanting more. If you like anime, Japanese kitsch humour, ghost stories, surrealism or even in the mood of something silly, funny, trippy or bizarre, then this is the film for you. It has been made with warmth and light heartedness and if you decide to get it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
PS. I must mention the excellent backdrops portraying dramatic countryside landscapes and sunsets and the music is really spot on!!
on 2 April 2010
First movie of Nobuhiko Obayashi after several experimental short films, House is not your average horror movie, not even japan horror movie.
No girl with long hairs here, but pure psychedelic action, full of mate paintings, artisanal special effects, and strange music.
Described by some as a mix of Scooby Doo and Suspiria, it's also a film that sets some theme of the future Obayashi's filmography, like the theme of the changes that come with being a teenager, or the melancholy of the impossible love and the separation.
A film as disturbing and gory as moving.
The dvd pays great tribute to this movie. The 40 page leeflet is very classy, and there's a one hour interview with Obayashi who explains anything you need to know about this not so famous masterpiece.
on 4 August 2013
A must for anyone with an interest in Japanese film and art-hausu cinema. The DVD comes with a whole host of special features.
on 29 August 2014
It lives up to its reputation (for those who heard about it). Demented, live action cartoon - the image is manipulated in all sorts of ways, approximative and full of the charm that disappeared with digital effects. A gory story told with an upbeat cast and colorful, joyous pictures. Really pretty !!!