Hausu (1977)

Hello hello hello! Welcome to day 29 of my little #31DaysOfHorror project. I know I’ve been enjoying myself, and I sure hope you’ve at least gotten a bit of joy out of my suffering, or found some new favourites. Please feel free to leave a comment and play along on Instagram with the tag #BarleyDoesHorror. Thanks guys!

Re-release poster for HOUSE (HAUSU), designed by Sam Smith.

Ok, so we’re going down the rabbit hole this time around, with a movie from the Criterion Collection. That’s right, we’re going fancy this time you guys. This time around, we’re checking out the 1977 film “House” or “Hausu”. So lets start with the plot:

Seven girls on their summer trip pay a visit to a possessed house which plans to eat them in extremely bizzare and surreal ways.

So, with some reading on Wikipedia, apparently Toho approached writer Chigumi Obayashi to write a film that would cash in on the success of Jaws, released 2 years earlier, and this is what he came up with. So, the house eats the girls and is, I guess, like the shark, but that’s where the ‘cashing in’ falls completely apart and turns into what I can only describe as totally insane.

hausu-4

This was the debut of a former commercial (as in TV commercials) director, Nobuhiko Obayashi, and is without a doubt the strangest movies that I have seen this month. Perhaps all year, if I really think about it. It’s an extremely surreal, dreamlike experience nearly from the beginning.

When it comes to movies like this one, particularly when they come from other countries, I do often wonder if I might be missing a glaring cultural reference or folk tale or something to that effect. This movie was no exception, so I really will just be reviewing it from my perspective and my experience, though if you know what I’m missing, please do feel free to let me know in the comments.

So, the actors, to my knowledge in some background reading, were relatively unknown or new actors. At least those playing the young girls. Everyone is extremely likable, if not over the top and extremely bizarre. In the english subtitles, the characters have names that match their character traits which is definitely a result of the literal translation of their names. At least in the version that I watched, it could be different elsewhere. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

house-hausu-decapitated-head-mac

Personally, I thought this movie was a blast, but it’s certainly not for everyone. It’s bizarre and has some pretty strange moments that are, at times, laughably weird. The effects have certainly not aged well, but for me it really only served to add to the charm of the movie. Particularly, the scene in witch one of the characters is eaten by a piano, really solidified this movie as completely and totally fantastic.

So, if you’re in the mood for something really strange and surreal you really should look no further. As I said, this one really worked for me but I could certainly see it not being for everyone. I had a blast, and I think you will too.

FINAL GRADE: A

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