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There is really no way to correctly rate this strange experiment of a film
mrtimlarabee18 January 2008
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.
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Enough awesome to kill a rhino
Jerk-off25 January 2003
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.
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Phantasmagorical + English Subtitled DVD
VideoKidVsTheVoid8 March 2007
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:
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Oddly amazing, and amazingly odd.
lewiskendell2 February 2011
"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.
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Eye-popping madness from a Japanese maverick
Leofwine_draca5 September 2011
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.
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An Ingeniously Bizarre Fairy Tale - Easily one of The Weirdest Flicks Ever made
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!
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Don't watch this on drugs or you might die
Juggertrout13 March 2009
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.
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Great debut movie for director Nobuhiko Obayashi
ebiros26 June 2011
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".
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Now that was different!
ElijahCSkuggs5 March 2008
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.
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A Confusing Conglomeration of Styles and Effects
atlasmb11 May 2014
This film falls into the comedy, fantasy and horror genres according to this site. So let's start from there. Is it funny? No, not really, unless your sense of humor is driven by a stream of wacky non sequiturs. Is it scary? No, not at all. How scary is a dancing skeleton? Or a chest of drawers that opens and closes to dance hall music? Is it fantastical? Yes, definitely. Especially if your idea of fantasy is hallucinatory, akin to an acid trip.

I can say one good thing about this film. The production values were good--most of the time.

It's the story of seven young girls who decide to spend a vacation at the mansion of one girl's aunt. They know next to nothing about the aunt or the mansion or the surrounding environs. Consider it one big slumber party.

The girls, like the seven dwarfs, are caricatures of personality traits. There's Prof and Mac (the "fat girl") and Gorgeous, among others. They are a giggly bunch who chatter non-stop likes girls of that age. Do we really care that much what happens to them? No, because the story is presented in such a way that we take nothing seriously.

There is no cohesive unity in this film. How can there be when it changes styles every second? Resembling a cross between a Monkees episode and the worst music video ever, the action is accompanied by every special effect imaginable. Seriously, it looks like the director was checking off a list of in-camera and extra-camera effects, from the Hitchcock effect, to green screen effects, to changes in film speed.

The music, likewise, is chimerical--changing, without reason or purpose, from classical to disco to nursery rhyme styles.

And the director employs every editorial cut he could think of, too. It is very distracting.

The difference between this film and one of Tim Burton's is cohesion. Burton lives in the whimsical and populates his films with quirky characters and imaginative happenings, but his productions are unified by style and music.

Is there any underlying story in the film? Some opinions about that are posted on this site. I tried to find meaning in the film by considering it to be an allegory about the damage done to Japan during WWII by its military and political missions. But I see no other opinions along those lines and, besides, I don't think that theme works throughout the film.

Watching this film, I think most viewers will feel confused or bored. Afterwards, I think they will wonder what the point was.
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Trippy and crazy
gbill-748771 April 2017
Oh my goodness, what at trippy, crazy, cheesy little movie this is. I don't think it has a single scene in it which doesn't have some type of campy, surreal special effect. Early on it seems like part Wes Anderson, part after-school special, part J-pop, part … I don't know, just 'out there', and certainly unique. It gets weirder and weirder as it goes. If you love the bizarre and the downright silly, movies which don't take themselves too seriously and are out to throw wild images at you, you'll probably love this film. Director Nobuhiko Obayashi has a real flair, and he's not out to make things look super-realistic, he's out to entertain. If you're looking for a ghost story, real drama, or horror, well, this isn't it. You never feel real tension, even as the cute little girls are attacked by mattresses, devoured by a piano, etc etc. For me I suppose I fell more in the latter camp, wishing the film had some balance in creating a film about the supernatural, but you can easily see why it has a bit of a cult attraction to it, and your mileage may vary.
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Experimental horror flick not for all tastes
WNYer26 January 2013
Six teenage girls go to spend a pleasant week at an Aunts remote house. Unknown to them, the Aunt – and the house – have other intentions.

Hallucinogenic horror-comedy from Nobuhiko Obayashi - very much like stepping into a live action Salvador Dali painting with a horror motif. The familiar, simplistic horror plot is just an excuse for an unrelenting assault on the senses as conventional cinematic story telling is shown the door and replaced by every cinematic trick and gimmick imaginable.

Obayashi fills every minute of screen time with weird camera angles, slow motion dreams, fast motion tracks, unconventional sounds, psychedelic animations and colorful backdrops to move things along. It sets a surreal, absurdest tone which pervades every scene.

In fact, each scene is extremely bizarre in its own right - especially as the girls are individually besieged by evil forces. A laughing, decapitated head floats through the air and attacks one of the girls – biting her on the ass, another girl freaks out at dinner as the host secretly watches her with three eyes – the third peering out of her mouth, a gravity defying karate match ensues between the most athletic girl and a demon possessed lamp shade, and in one of the stranger scenes in cinema, a girl playing a piano is literally eaten by the instrument. As her consumed body parts reside within the casing, her floating, disencumbered fingers begin playing a tune on the keyboard - complete with flashing colored lights!

At its core, this is a Carmella-like vampire flick with the old Aunt getting younger each time one of the girls disappears. What sets it apart from similar movies is its whimsical air, nonsensical imagery and unending gimmickry. While some people admire the film's experimental nature, I think more will be turned off rather quickly. I was already annoyed after ten minutes and had a hard time sitting through the whole thing.
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Campy, Over-the-top and Occasionally Clever
jmaruyama3 August 2003
Warning: Spoilers
-Some Spoilers Ahead- While comparisons to Tim Burton's 1988 film "Beetlejuice" are understandable (Obayashi incorporates a lot of the same type of gothic imagery and campy visuals as Burton), a more closer match would be to Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead" series (which it surprisingly predates by more than a couple of years). Like Raimi, Obayashi infuses "House" with an abundance of over-the-top visuals and clever SFX effects. It is amazing how Obayashi is able to do all this using 1977 visual effects techniques as opposed to the current trend of CGI. While a lot of the effects may seem pretty crude to today's generation of viewers, "House" none-the-less is fairly enjoyable on a visual level. That being said however, "House" falters in the area of story, delivering an almost unbearably slow and deliberately paced "haunted house" fairy tale. One must endure almost an hour of setup and character introduction before getting everyone to the said "house" of the title. Even then we know very little about the cast of girls who travel to the "house" (in a somewhat bizarre manner, they are referred not by name but by odd "pet names" - Oshare=Fashion, Fanta=A Fruit Drink Brand, KuunFuu=Kung Fu, Melodi=Melody, Gari=(?), Suuito=Sweet). While Ikegami Kumiko's Oshare is obviously the main focal point of the story, it is Jinbo Miki as the high-kicking, Karate Expert KuunFuu who steals the movie. Her scene stealing appearances are a great treat and she definitely adds much to the movie. I can't say that I liked "Hausu" all that much but it is a fairly original and creative film. Campy at times, almost to a fault it is a enjoyable film when in the right mood.
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The Greatest Haunted House Movie Ever Made!!!
loganx-228 April 2009
One of those once in a life-time moments, when you will laugh so hard you p*#s yourself, and then c*&p your pants from being stunned by sheer cinematic prowess.

I had sat down expecting a cruel and mildly atmospheric J-horror ghost story, and I got a tornado of avant garde stylistic explosions married to tongue so deep in cheek characters and scenarios, my head was spinning was like "The Exorcist". If Dario Argento, Richard Lester, Vera Chytilova, Seijun Suzuki, and Takashi Miike, conspired secretly made to re-make Star-Wars, and privately screened it for you, while you were hung upside down over a tank of piranha's, it would be about half as remarkable as this movie.

7 Japanese school girls, and stock teen movie characters, who have names like "Prof" for the smart one, "Gorgeus" for the prettiest one, "Mac" for the overweight one, "Fantasy" for the stylish one, and my personal favorite "Kung-Fu"...cus she knows Kung-Fu. They are all in some sort of group together, a team of some kind, though I'm not sure what exactly and they need a place to train for the summer, as they do every year. Gorgeous' father is getting re-married to a woman who only appears with a breeze blowing, in super slow mo, to the accompaniment of etheric string music, and as you can imagine, that slo-mo s*&t all the time, can get kind of irritating, and she wants to get away from it all. She writes a letter to an estranged Aunt of hers, that she has never met, asking if her and her friends can spend the summer doing whatever it is they do. The aunt agrees, and they are off.

The bus trip is like a day-glo version of Willy Wonka's psychedelic boat ride, only through an artificial rainbow streaked countryside. The girls arrive but soon discover that the house is actually possessed by a ghost/demon who likes to eat virgins, and so it does. Girls are devoured by mattresses and pillows, turned to glass, eaten by piano's(one of the funniest and truly most disturbing things I've ever watched), attacked by severed floating heads, plagued by horrible visions of banana's, etc. While the phrase, "I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation for this" becomes an all purpose punch-line.

"Hausu" is horror-comedy-coming of age tale, par excellence. Every scene has some kind of cinematic interjection and manipulation, from the shifting color filters, to deranged collage and montage of events and images, to wildly eclectic animations, mattes, props(the wall paper in the rooms of the house match the print on some of the girls dresses), mini-movies stylized as beautiful and heart felt silent films and WW2 era romances, and of course whirlwind obligatory action scenes, "save us Kung-Fu!". Not to mention music, Gorgeous' dad is a composer, he is mentioned to have auditioned for Segio Leone, who said he was better than Ennio Marriconne, and the spaghetti western's emphasis on music is heavy here. It's wall to wall, full of eerie horror themes, cartoonish comedy sections, pop songs, strings, and sounds which are just generally unclassifiable, possibly because two songs might be played at the same time, or against a scene that is completely inappropriate.

It occurred to me a day after I watched this movie that I had seen a film by Nobuhiko Obayashi before, the campy kaleidoscopic "Sada"(a true story about a woman who castrated her lover and became an overnight celebrity in WW2), and though that is a mere hint of the full on onslaught of this movie, it makes me want to see more. Obayashi was apparently most famous for directing Japanese game shows, and it only adds, to the kitchen sink showman dynamic that he brings to the table here.

What is least important is plot, there is so much happening in literally every scene (the only other film as unrelenting in terms of visual excess is maybe Jorodowsky's "The Holy Mountain", maybe...), that's it's easy to forget what the girls are doing, at all, until a cat's eyes start glowing, or dolls walk around by themselves again. I've never laughed so much at a film that was so dazzling to watch. It's skyrocketed into my favorites instantly. "It's like were trapped in a b-movie.", "An out of date of one too..." See this movie and share it with those you love.
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Don't Go In The House
druid333-29 April 2010
No...that's another film,all together. What I am talking about is a silly,goofy,surreal,fever dream of a (so called)"horror" film from Japan about a group of Japanese school girls who are invited to spend the Summer with their good friend,Gorgeous (the girls in this clique all have names that align with their personalities). When Gorgeous finds out that her father is about to re-marry,she balks at the very idea that she is going to have to share her father with a stranger,so Gorgeous & her best friends,Fantasy,Prof,Kung Fu,Sweet & Melody opt to spend the Summer at Gorgeous's auntie,who lives in a creepy old house in the middle of nowhere. Things start out fine,but get weirder & weirder as they go along (a human head is found in an old well,a piano has a malevolent life of it's own,blood pours out of pictures on the wall,and other elements). From here on, the film spins out of control(in the good way,of course),and suggests the effects of the partaking of magic mushrooms,washed down with Codine based cough syrup,with a side order of some of the brown acid left over from Woodstock (in other words,blow your mind on the psychedelic,surreal images that look something like Anime or Manga designed by the British artist,Savage Pencil,or perhaps Gerald Scarfe (Pink Floyd:The Wall--either the artwork for the record album,or the animation segments for the film),directed by (either)David Lynch, or Jean Cocteau (or even both). The cast (all very easy on the eyes)includes Kimiko Ikegami,as Gorgeous (the name truly fits),Kumiko Ohba,as Fantasy,Ai Matsubana as Prof (obviously short for professor,as she seems to be the smartest of the bunch),Miki Jinbo as Kung Fu (three guesses for what her talent is,but I bet you can get it in just one),Matsayo Miyako as Sweet,Eriko Tanaka as Melody,and Yoko Minamida as Obasan (auntie),who just explodes with creepiness from the first frame she appears in (check out her weird cat,who is almost always just within frame shot). Nobuhiko Obayashi directs from a screenplay written by Chiho Katsura,from a story by Chigumi Obayashi. The film's somewhat glitzy,cheesy,colour saturated cinematography is by Yoshitaka Sakamoto,with cross cut editing,designed to f**k with your brain,by Nobuo Ogawa. This is perfect late night film fare for those with a taste for the lovers truly bizarre or the outright deranged cinema. Spoken in Japanese with English subtitles. Not rated by the MPAA,this film serves up some nudity & some really fake looking blood & gore effects. Sit back & laugh yourself silly.
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Only Last 20 Minutes Is Fun
ccthemovieman-13 December 2010
I can't say the hype for this movie came anywhere close to matching what it turned out to be - a very amateurish and, for the first two-thirds - boring film. I mean, let's me honest about this. The last 20 minutes is wild, no doubt, and fun to watch, even with super-primitive special-effects, but it doesn't make up for the root-canal-painfully slow and inane first 65 minutes.

A bunch of high school girls wind up at "Auntie's house" for the night. En route, we get an hour of giggles and each one calling each other "Gorgeous," "Fantasy," "Professor," "Melody," "Kung Fu" and other assorted corny names. The fun doesn't really start until the last part when all hell breaks loose and the girls start fighting for their lives as the goofy house, led by the big white cat and the "lonely" evil aunt, seem to want to kill them all. That's after one or two of the girls had disappeared.

Maybe 30 years ago, the FX looked cool, but they are so bad now if almost my advice to to rent the film and keep your expectations low, grind your way through the first hour and then you'll be sufficiently entertained at the end.

Just because the overpriced Criterion line put this out, it doesn't mean it is some arty "masterpiece." It is anything but that.
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A boring nightmare as told by a toddler with ADD on LSD.
tlooknbill16 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The movie plays out much like a toddler desperately trying to tell you its nightmare it had from just waking from a nap with nothing making any sense. It's a dream that plays out in the head better than seeing it fleshed out in a movie...referencing Seinfeld's "Flaming Globes of Sigmund".

It's like the folks who made "My LIttle Pony" went on an acid induced, impulse driven rampage. One moment you have a bunch of impish, nubile squirrel voiced Japanese school girls giggling and squakin' about settling into a sprawling multi-roomed rice paper tiki house, the next moment has one of them going out to get a watermelon from a well where suddenly a severed head from one of the girls shows up to bite the other girl on the butt. The next scene has the severed head vomiting blood with no build up, no suspense or reason why or how the girls head got cut off in the first place all while a sappy children's melody plays constantly over and over in the background.

I wanted to shoot my TV. Though reading back what I just wrote does make this movie sound interesting, doesn't it? Like "Flaming Globes of Sigmund".

You're left asking yourself WTF IS THIS CRAP?!

But for some reason I couldn't turn away and watched the entire movie on TCM mainly because I was intrigued by what the Japanese culture considered scary back in 1977. Or was this a comedy or children's movie? It certainly looked like a child made it.

I can tell you this with certainty. It's definitely the oddest, weirdest and most irritating movie you'll ever see.
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"All of us will disappear, I'm sure of it."
classicsoncall27 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The one thing I will grant the picture is that it's a unique and strange visual experience. It starts out interestingly enough in a creatively stylized manner, but then gets too clever by half, much too gimmicky, and ultimately incoherent as the story progresses. Well, maybe not incoherent entirely, because you can follow the story well enough, as a group of Japanese teenage girls falls victim to a demonic house in the countryside of Satoyama Village.

In checking the credits page, it appears that the version I caught on Turner Classics changed the name of all the principal characters, so that the main character named 'Angel' on the IMDb title page became 'Gorgeous' in the film I saw. In no particular order, the remaining six girls went by the names of Fantasy, Sweet, Mac, Kung-Fu, Prof and Melody. Their English names in general referenced a character trait, so that 'Melody' was accomplished as a musician, and 'Kung-Fu' was a martial artist. Even the cat's name was changed, another reviewer called it 'Snowflake', while in the story I watched it had the very non-Japanese name of 'Blanche' - how they came up with that one I'll never know.

Although it seems that the director's take on this movie was to produce something resembling horror, there's just too much goofy stuff occurring that takes the horror element right out of it. I'll refer to just two of the deaths in the story - one by a piano eating Melody (how appropriate!), the other involving Kung-Fu getting chomped by a ceiling light. After a while, one's interest in the story wanes because it's all just a bit too bizarre.

As for the main protagonist, Angel/Gorgeous winds up being 'consumed' by the Auntie the girls originally intended to visit. Gorgeous was upset that her widowed father was going to remarry after eight years, so a change in vacation plans brought Gorgeous and her friends to Auntie's home in the country. In an effort to make friends with Gorgeous, the fiancé Ryoko Ema set out for Auntie's home, and upon arriving, the picture somehow totally disconnects from the comic/horror element, dissolving to a message about how the 'spirit of love can live forever'. Maybe it all had to do with the translation, but whatever it was, any message the director was attempting to convey was simply lost on this viewer. And I don't get lost too easily.
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This movie is... bizarre.
Java_Joe21 January 2019
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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Memorable, if nothing else
Vartiainen17 November 2018
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.
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Messy and Annoying Japanese Ghost Story
claudio_carvalho22 March 2017
The high-school vacation is coming and the student Oshare intends to spend the period with her father in his villa; however she finds that his girlfriend Kyouko will be with him and Oshare gives up going. Meanwhile her best friends will be camping with Keisuke Tôgôbut, but he has a problem and calls off the camping. Oshare writes a letter to her estranged aunt that lives in the country asking whether she could go with her friends Kunfû, Fanta, Gari, Makku, Merodî and Suîto to spend the summer vacation at her house. They are welcomed by Oshare's aunt but soon weird things happen since the aunt is a ghost and the house is haunted.

"Hausu" is a messy and annoying Japanese ghost story. The silly screenplay is irritating and the music score is awful. Hard to understand why some people consider this garbage cult. My vote is one (awful).

Title (Brazil): "Hausu"
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Experimental Is An Understatement, But The Subtle Incorporation Of Bigger Themes Was Fantastic.
GeorgeRoots16 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"Hausu" (House) is a mess, both a glorious and devastating one. Maybe I was left a little underwhelmed after hearing so much about it. But to actually sit down, be enthralled and then be pulled out of the movie so many times is sad. Because ultimately, the level of quality the movie successfully builds drops considerably. But when this movie shines, it really does.

Directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi. A schoolgirl travels with her six classmates to her ailing aunt's country home for the summertime vacation. When they arrive the atmosphere is strangely off putting, yet they are all welcomed with open arms. Upon the first night however, they come face to face with supernatural events as the girls are one by one, devoured by the home. Will they be able to solve the mystery of the house, and hopefully leave with their lives?

The first feature length movie for Obayashi, who was well known for directing many commercials with surreal visual styles at the time. Film company Toho wanted him to create a movie similar to "Jaws" (1975), as he then began writing the script based on the ideas his pre-teen daughter Chigumi Obayashi gave him. The script was green-lit but put on hold for two years, until Toho eventually yet Obayashi himself direct it. No one at Toho had faith in the production as they felt it would destroy their careers, and at the time they were tired of losing money. It was a box office success in Japan, yet received negative criticism and has only recently seen wide released in 2009. The film now enjoys a much more cult status, and is part of the prestigious "Criterion Collection".

Before I state what I truly love about this movie, I feel it best to explain the obvious shortcomings. The first 45 minutes are awful, and the actors do not convince (Only two of them had little to no acting experience). There's a lot of fun and energy to each of the girls, who are cleverly nicknamed after their unique quirks such as "Melody" and "Kung-Fu" etc. But the dialogue remains something to be desired, and definitely wasn't the aim of the production. What I do love about this movie is how largely experimental it remains through Chigumi's ideas such as being eaten by a piano, and crush by many futons. The special effect work is great, and was kept "rustic" enough to preserve the idea that a child made them. Extensive use of stop motion, blue screen, chroma effect, superimposing, painted skies and backgrounds all work to the films advantage and surprisingly great soundtrack.

Finally, the reason "Hausu" gets my seal of approval is the subtle incorporation of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. For a Japanese film-maker to even attempt such a feat would have been career suicide. Obayashi lost many of his childhood friends to the bomb, and wanted to create something for the next generation to reflect the chaos and macabre of it all. We see this new generation and a girl discuss how her aunt lost her fiancé to the War, as the image of the bomb appears on screen for 2 seconds (Described as "cotton candy"). A family picture is taken and the flash of a camera leads to destruction, becoming a reoccurring motif throughout the movie when light flashes from the eyes of a "fluffy" white cat "Snow-flake" (The codename for the bomb was "Little-boy"). You can see images of the bombs presence throughout the picture, but it's subtle inclusion is rather ingenious.

Final Verdict: "Hausu" is a difficult film to love. I didn't want to compare it to the later and greater haunted house movies such as "The Evil Dead" (1981), and a lot is definitely left to be desired. I do respect how well Nobuhiko Obayashi did so well when the odds where against him, but unfortunately the only reason to keep coming back is to see how frenetic the 2nd half of the movie is and nothing more. 7/10.
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A Cinematic Conundrum
egrochowski-1520828 November 2018
From all traditional film and storytelling perspectives, this film lacks severe quality. I was confused almost the entire duration of the movie, though that enhanced the cinematic experience all the more. The movie is clearly it's own genre. I don't know what the point of the movie was, but I know I genuinely had a blast while watching this film. I don't know why I did-I almost feel guilty for admitting it-but I belched laughing in almost each scene. Maybe I am missing the point, or maybe I'm not or, perhaps, neither. But, for what it's worth, the film is great for forgetting about the world for 90 some minutes and indulging in the euphoria of pure confusion from beginning to end.
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Michael_Elliott2 December 2008
House (1977)

** (out of 4)

aka Hausu

Extremely bizarre Japanese film about seven schoolgirls going to see one of their aunts in a creepy house, which has all sorts of strange things going for it. Soon the girls start to be killed off one by one but what's the reason behind the murders? The murders which also include one getting eaten by a piano. This film is basically another version of Ten Little Indians but it mixes a certain visual style that could only be compared to Dario Argento's Suspiria, which was released the same year. I'm really not sure who to recommend this film to but I'm going to guess fans of the bizarre and surreal will most likely enjoy this as there's really not too much of a plot but there is a lot of strange visuals. The entire movie is pretty much strange from start to finish and I must admit that if there was a story going on, and I'm sure there is as the young girl is going to her aunt to learn more about her dead mother, then it went right over my head. The characters themselves are all rather interesting because they are named after their "specialty" with one being Kung-Fu and she gets some of the better moments in the film. The surreal nature and the mixture of the living and the dead makes one wonder if Tim Burton didn't watch this before making Beetlejuice. The film contains a lot of special effects but they all look very good and you can't help but think most of them would be done today with the use of CGI. These effects add to the campy nature of the film but it was the jokes that really didn't work too well with me. Perhaps my sense of humor is just too dry but the over the top camp just rubbed me the wrong way. I guess some might say I didn't get the film and that's probably true but I do respect what the director was going for here. This is certainly one of the most unique looking films I've ever seen and it's doubtful I'll ever forget it but at the same time I can't say I look forward to watching it again.
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Wacky funhouse of a movie!
saronix12 July 2014
When I first saw House (1977), I had seen it without subtitles. Despite not understanding any of the dialogue, I enjoyed it thoroughly. When House (1977) was finally given a release outside of Japan in 2010 I was able to watch it with the dialogue and appreciate it even more.

Nobuhiko Ôbayashi is a director that made his mark in Japan for making odd, but captivating advertisements with unique special effects that grabbed the audience's attention. He also had released numerous short films that were very unique and wacky.

House (1977) is a movie like no other, it is an experience. It would be best compared to a dream-like state with many of the scenes filmed with a soft-focus and the events and dialogue being quite surreal.

Japanese culture often gets dismissed as odd at times. However, this film is genuinely odd and does not feel like the director purposefully sought to create an odd film but is merely expressing himself.

Furthermore, the original screenplay is written by Chigumi Ôbayashi, Nobuhiko's daughter, and is indicative of what she feared while visiting her grandparent's home. The movie retains this childlike wonder and fear throughout the film.

The plot of House (1977) is straightforward and involves a girl that invites her friends to accompany her to her aunt's home for summer vacation. However, unbeknownst to them, the house is either haunted or an entity that wishes to consume them. It's like a wacky version of the Overlook hotel in The Shining (1980).

Nobuhiko Ôbayashi utilizes many special effects in this film, some of which look really dated - but never-the-less manage to be interesting to this day as I have not seen many of these effects replicated since. For instance, there is a couple scenes where it looks like they drew upon the film with markers or crayons.

It is worth noting that the musical score in House (1977) is excellent. The band, Godaigo, was utilized by Nobuhiko to create the soundtrack for House (1977). The music is quirky and playful suiting the films mood. The soundtrack was released in Japan prior to the movie and was partly responsible for much of the initial interest in the movie.

The acting of the girls that star in the film is not the best acting as they were amateurs that Nobuhiko Ôbayashi had picked. However, their genuine naivety translates on the screen well for this particular film and you can tell that the entire cast had a blast making this film.

This movie cannot be replicated or re-made in anyway and is a one of a kind experience. I highly recommend giving it a watch and enjoying the ride. It's not a cerebral film, that is not the intended product. This film is meant to entertain and it does exactly as advertised.
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