Hausu / House (1977)

Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi.
Starring: Kimiko Ikegami, Kumiko Ohba, Kumiko Oba, Mitshtoshi Ishigami, Miki Jinbo, Reiko Sato. Japan. 1h 27m.

Every now and then I have the urge to watch something completely off the wall, and I’ve seen and heard so much about House over the years and deemed that most of it couldn’t be true..  but finally managed to find a copy at a semi reasonable price so I relaxed into it a few nights ago… then panicked a lot, but there is a lot going on in this cartoon style fairy story.

Beauty (Kimiko Ikegami) is a popular school girl who discovers that her father has a new creepy girlfriend who he insists should join them on summer vacation, she’s pretty heartbroken about the decision but a fluffy white cat arrives and suggests that she takes her ass and the asses of her best friends over to her aunt’s house. Taking advice from a talking cat is only the beginning of their adventure.

After travelling into the country and stealing a watermelon from a local market the girls eventually arrive at the spine chilling mansion in the hills her wheelchair bound aunt greets them, the cat is very much at home here and slowly becomes apparent that strange things are rife here.

The girls all have their own specialty, Professor is a thinker, there is a keen musician, a fighter and protector but one by one they become the attention of the haunted house and demonic kitty and the episodes become more outrageous.

It’s a crazy hellride but done in such a way that the creepiness remains even with the slapstick style comedy elements thrown in. There is something going on constantly, it’s not always anything to do with the plot but there are many treats for the eyes. The story is simple but the the implications are unusual to say the least.

If the comedy element was removed the film would be quite terrifying, but instead there are disembodied heads jumping out of wells and biting people on the ass and while a girl is being eaten alive by a comedy piano she’s giggling, the “humor” is pretty dark, but the girls reactions are bizarrely comical and often high pitched.

The house itself is straight out of the spooky carnival attraction, when the girls break into song (thankfully it’s not often) skeletons start dancing, and furniture bounces with the beat, some items like the piano are a bit more sinister

 

 

Rating 7/10

RFantastic Planet (1973), Kuroneko (1968), Onibaba (1964)
L – WTF films, A-Z of Japanese Cinema Volume 1, Haunted House Films,
Vs – Hausu Vs House
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