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 (short for Stomach).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Many of the ways the girls are attacked in the various ways by the House, were ideas of the director, Obayashi's daughter. For instance, the mattresses, the head from the well, the piano, and the mirror. So initially, this film was co-written by a 10 year old Japanese girl.