There was once a time in my life when I thought nothing was better than eating a delicious sandwich. After watching House or Hausu as some like to call it (i.e. Japanese people) I have since amended that statement. The statement now reads: There is nothing better than eating a delicious sandwich while watching House. Actually that's a lie, there is simply nothing better than House. Nothing. Not even my cat. Or potato chips. Let's put it this way, if I was stranded on a island and could only bring three things with me, I would pick House, House and House.
House is what is referred to as an experimental horror/comedy film from the crazy mind of Nobuhiko Obayashi. It centers around a young girl named Gorgeous and her 6 friends, Fantasy, Sweet, Mac, Kung Fu, Melody and Prof, who go to stay with Gorgeous' Aunt.
One by one the girls go missing and....stuff happens. There is a cat with green eyes
and....stuff happens. Crazy stuff. Stuff you wouldn't believe even if I showed you.
Since this is one of those experimental movies you shouldn't be surprised to find out that this movie is bat shit crazy. We're talking, things you have never seen in your entire existence. Things you could never even dream up because it's all too surrealistically bizarre and impossibly kooky. The film is very 70s in its appeal yet it's extremely watchable throughout every decade that passes it by. Crazy colors explode on the screen, large heads appear in rooms, skeletons dance, pianos eat people, cat blood spews out of paintings, bananas eat people, weird Japanese men eat noodles, old ladies walk through refrigerators and dance on rafters, mattresses attack girls, clothes come off with a gentle breeze, logs start fights with people---have you heard enough? Of course not.
There have been very few instances in my horror movie watching career where the movie that I am watching causes a gigantic smile to appear upon my face. House is one of those instances. I cannot even begin to describe how gleeful I became for example when a watermelon turned into a girls head and then began biting another girl on the butt. Things like that just happen in House. These images, these scenes, they just happen and we can do little but take them in and stare wide eyed in wonder and awe. You should also be warned that House causes spontaneous and really quick bursts of laughter. I lost count of the number of times something ridiculous happened (read: awesome) which would then force me to go HA! It was like a reflex.
The best thing perhaps about House is that it knows it is being ridiculous. It's not one of those kooky Japanese flicks where the translation seems a little off and Japanese people make funny expressions that aren't suppose to be funny. This is suppose to be funny and the sooner you realize that, the sooner its genius will affect you. You should also realize that it's fucking weird, which you should have already picked up on by my list of things that happen. Is it art? Yeah maybe I guess. But to me it seems more like a creative mind blowing explosion of awesome. It seems like the product of dropping acid while wearing Moon Shoes and bouncing around in a a funhouse. There is no explanation for how this film was ever conceived and I refuse to believe one if you tell me.
It's mind numbingly awesome, hilarious and even at times--a little bit creepy. Well, maybe a lot bit creepy in certain places. The entire film feels like an episode of Sesame Street derived from a nightmare. There is a single melody that plays repeatedly, a sick, sweet tinkling of the piano keys. This melody will come to represent a strange hybrid of terror, happiness and annoyance.
Just note that if anyone has something negative to say about House, I will never speak to you again. Just kidding, I love differing opinions! But in all seriousness, our friendship will be greatly wounded. House is being specially re-released on DVD and Bluray on October 26th, I suggest you buy it immediately. For BOSTON peeps don't forget House is being screened at the Coolidge Corner Theater on Halloween during their Horror Marathon.
If for some unexplained reason you remain unconvinced of its eternal greatness, here are some screen shots to change that. I promise that you have never seen a Japanese ghost story quite like this. Or even just any ghost story. OR actually....you have never really seen a movie like this ever. Yeah. That's right.