Sunday, November 14, 2010


HOUSE (Hausu) (1977)
Directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi

Kimiko Ikegami - Gorgeous/ Gorgeous' mother
Miki Jinbo - Kung Fu
Yoko Minamida - Auntie

Gorgeous' plans for the summer to spend time with her father are ruined when he returns home with a new bride. So she invites 6 of her friends to join her at her Aunt's house for the summer. When they arrive the girls start disappearing one by one as the remaining girls find out the truth about the house.

I must say I was completely impressed by this movie. No, scratch that. I love this movie!

It's as if a child's fantasy came to life and met Sam Raimi during his Evil Dead days but actually predates it. The colors are striking as is the use of the camera as not one shot feels wasted and when it does it's for a reason. There was so many different types of style used in this movie from stop motion, animation, and even musical, but not one bit of it seems out of place. The use of backgrounds are truly different as well, as what seems like a background is actually only panel on a wall or a bus stop. Even when the director shoots the scene through a  multi panel glass door it just adds to the scene and the feel of it. A good example of this is right before Gorgeous' father tells her that she's about to get a new mother, you can tell her heart will be in pieces just from the shot. Another shot in the movie that stands out is when the director uses what I guess is a time lapse during one scene. The best way to describe it is you got up to quickly and the blood drains from your head or how you feel when you are really sick. I've watched directors try to pull this off in different movies but none has done it as well as it is done here.

As for the script, it should be said that sometimes simpler is sometimes better for some movies but it doesn't have to be dumb as the same time. The characters' names are based on what they're good at or their personality or quirks (Prof, Melody, Kung'll get the point after they are all introduced).  The whole story has a playful attitude throughout even the ending has a happy feeling despite what has happened and will happen. There is always something going on in the script even if it is minor, it still plays into the whole story.

The sounds and music are also well used and placed in the movie. From simple piano notes being played to a girl laughing then screaming within a couple of seconds of each other (by Melody, but I'll get to that later). I will say that the only drawback to the sound was the use of basically what is 60's stoner music throughout by Godiago. This was my only true annoyance with this movie, but thankfully it didn't take anything away from the whole experience of it. 

The special effects in the movie were quick, fun and playful throughout as there were plenty and I would say almost every scene has one of some type or another. From a giant Gorgeous head coming through a door to a clock running on blood. It's quite easy to see where Sam Raimi  and to some extent Peter Jackson got some of their influence from in their earlier works. A good example of this is when the house starts filling up with gushing blood (even though it's just red lights in the water, it is used to great effect). you can even see the beginnings of modern Japanese ghost movies in a bath tub scene which was well done.

I must say I would recommend this movie to anyone, especially anybody that likes horror or fantasy. The best way I can really describe it is that it's as if a fever dream has come to life through a child's eyes that just watched a Raimi movie then a classic Bugs Bunny cartoon while being sick.  

This has to be be when Melody is eaten by the piano she was playing and then afterward her body parts start moving again at different times and places in and around the piano.

The girls will wake up........when they're hungry.

No directors at Toho were interested in directing the film as they felt it would end their career.

Nobuhiko recalled that his producer told him that Toho was tired of losing money on comprehensible films and were ready to let Nobuhiko direct the House script which they felt was incomprehensible.

The giant dismembered, lipsticked mouth is a direct reference to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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