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It's really, really not lupus.
October 26, 2010 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Nobuhiko Obayashi's House (also called Hausu) has been a cult film legend pretty much since its 1977 release in Japan. As director, Obayashi alchemizes the usual horror trappings (seven pretty young girls, each defined by one personality trait, visit a mysterious aunt who lives in a creepy house in the middle of nowhere) into a glorious, barely coherent, eminently watchable fever dream. The film has been discussed by those in the know for some time, but unless one knew who to ask, or lucked into the right festival, actually seeing the movie outside of the trailer or scenes on Youtube has been a bit of a difficult task. This particular injustice has officially been remedied, in a move for which very few people were calling out, but more might have if they'd known about it: House has been released on region 1 DVD and Blu-Ray by no less an entity than the Criterion Collection, finally taking its rightful place in cinematic history alongside such films as Rashomon, The Seventh Seal, and Olivier's Hamlet. Just in time for that Halloween party! Provided you not only want your guests to be entertained but also thoroughly bewildered and maybe slightly shellshocked.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER (40 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

 
(eyes glow green, twinkling sound)
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:30 AM on October 26, 2010


I am really excited to be seeing House this Friday, on the big screen, at the New York Japan Society's OBAKE! Halloween event; I would suggest any Mefis who are interested check it out. I've seen it once before, when it was playing at IFC, and it is GLORIOUS.
posted by 235w103 at 8:35 AM on October 26, 2010


More Obayashi: Nerawareta Gakuen, The Drifting Classroom (go to 1:50 for a real trip)
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:37 AM on October 26, 2010


finally taking its rightful place in cinematic history alongside such films as Rashomon, The Seventh Seal, and Olivier's Hamlet.

Not to mention Armageddon!
posted by brundlefly at 8:39 AM on October 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm waiting for the sequel, Hausu II: the Second Story.
posted by kmz at 8:45 AM on October 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


Saw this for the first time at the E Street in DC as a midnight movie last week and was dumbfounded. Obayashi mashes up thirty years' worth of TV and film conventions at breakneck speed, mocking and riffing on the underlying, unintentional creepiness of some of them, and paying delirious, obsessed fanboy homage to the rest. It lived up to every bit of the hype.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:48 AM on October 26, 2010


Awesome post title FAMOUS MONSTER.
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:49 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


YES
posted by mykescipark at 8:50 AM on October 26, 2010


And if you live in Minnesota, it will be showing on Halloween.

I showed Hausu to some friends earlier this year. It is a truly bewildering movie. Well worth seeing.
posted by iwhitney at 8:53 AM on October 26, 2010


I remember one time I turned into a cartoon skeleton and collapsed to the ground and that sucked.
posted by nanojath at 8:54 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh thank god for Criterion. I have said that sentence so many times it's redundant by now, but really.

I saw this at the IFC center earlier this year. And bought the tee shirt! The movie was basically like being shaken upside down by the ankles over a bucket of fake blood.
posted by hermitosis at 8:59 AM on October 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Aaaaaand my fantastic local videostore announced in the weekly newsletter that they've got it!
posted by Elsa at 9:04 AM on October 26, 2010


It's showing at the Galaxy in Cary, NC this Friday. It's the first of a double feature with Death Bed. The Galaxy is even showing the premiere of The Walking Dead on Halloween night. Cool.
posted by NoMich at 9:06 AM on October 26, 2010


Creepy house in the middle of nowhere, glorious and eminently watchable fever dream, cult movie, only available on YouTube... ah yes, it's called Wake In Fright!
posted by crapmatic at 9:09 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


The movie was basically like being shaken upside down by the ankles over a bucket of fake blood.

Well shit. That just happened to me last week. I was going to order the DVD, now it feels...redundant.
posted by jalexei at 9:16 AM on October 26, 2010


I've been hearing so much about this movie for years. Instant purchase!
posted by naju at 9:21 AM on October 26, 2010


I saw this at IFC too. It really is awesome - somehow hilarious and touching at the same time. And what other movie has a killer piano?
posted by mdn at 9:25 AM on October 26, 2010


Queued! Thanks for the heads-up.
posted by heatvision at 10:44 AM on October 26, 2010


Not to mention Armageddon!

And the Beastie Boys Video Anthology.
posted by baf at 10:50 AM on October 26, 2010


I wish I'd seen this at IFC, instead I saw it in 8 jumbled parts on a blog. To this day I don't know if the parts were in correct sequence or not. Or if it mattered.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:53 AM on October 26, 2010


And what other movie has a killer piano?

Well, there's Sakura and the Dangerous Piano, but (a) that's an episode of a TV show, not a movie and (b) (spoilers!) the piano was arguably not really going to kill anybody, having been animated to just to create the appearance of danger and make Sakura transform another of the Clow Cards. Really, it was all to help her come into her full power.
posted by baf at 10:56 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nice first post.
posted by HumanComplex at 11:00 AM on October 26, 2010


glorious, barely coherent, eminently watchable fever dream

Exactly. We saw it on screen here in Pittsburgh last Friday, and didn't really research it much beyond the theater's description that it was Dario Argento meets Scooby Doo. So without any expectations we were blown away. The dancing skeleton, the pile of bananas, every potential special effect possible but not explained... I am fairly certain this is going to be a Christmas gift for many in our book.
posted by librarianamy at 11:20 AM on October 26, 2010


Don't forget that it's also hilarious.
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 11:28 AM on October 26, 2010


And it is available on Netflix!
posted by munchingzombie at 11:55 AM on October 26, 2010


I saw Hausu a few years ago after it started to get a reputation based on the Youtube clips.

Having seen those genuinely insane Youtube clips, and having heard about how batshit crazy it was, the rapid-fire genre conventions, the crazy production design -- I was shocked at how slow-paced and conventional it was when I actually sat down and watched the movie in context. I had already experienced all of the crazy fun in those few minutes of clips and rapturous reviews, and so it was like seeing one of those dull comedies where they've squeezed all of the brilliant jokes in the movie into a single, really hilarious 2-minute trailer.

This isn't The Holy Mountain or Putney Swope or Mister Freedom or Southland Tales where you think you're watching one kind of crazy but then the movie goes off and keeps doing different kinds of crazy in different crazy ways until you're completely overwhelmed by whatever it is the movie is doing. Hausu sounds like it might be all sorts of crazy, but it's ultimately just one kind of crazy.

So, let me be the one to assist in the lowering of expectations and advise you: if this sounds interesting, stop reading about it. Don't watch the clips. It's not bad film -- it's a wonderful cult movie that's worth 90 minutes of your time. But seriously, take it down off the pedestal and just watch the damn thing without spoiling the nuggets of greatness contained within.
posted by eschatfische at 11:58 AM on October 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


If this is Criterion, hopefully it'll show up on Netflix streaming soon.
posted by mkultra at 1:03 PM on October 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Heads up - if you want tickets for the Minneapolis screenings, get them soon, like now. The microcinema name is no joke - the theater is very small. It is also on of my favorite places in the city, and I can't recommend it highly enough.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:49 PM on October 26, 2010


And what other movie has a killer piano?

The 1967 anthology flick Torture Garden, with Burgess Meredith and Barbara Ewing.
posted by Iridic at 1:54 PM on October 26, 2010


From the director of:

MANDOM
MANDOM
MANDOM
posted by louche mustachio at 1:59 PM on October 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


What's really amazing about this thing is how far ahead of its time it was. When I managed to download procure a copy last year, I went to IMDb to try and get some background on the thing I was seeing. I was baffled, because the only Japanese movie called Hausu listed at IMDb was dated 1977, and of course that couldn't have been the thing I was watching, which seemed obviously a product of the 1980s or even 1990s, including some picture-in-picture shots that aped Greenaway. I was legitimately shocked to realize that, yes, the movie I was watching dated to 1977. This is well worth a look — but yes, if you preview the film via crappy YouTube clips, it's likely to spoil the delirium-inducing effect of a first viewing.

Just got the Criterion Blu-ray today. Looking forward to it.
posted by Joey Bagels at 3:24 PM on October 26, 2010


How the hell did I not hear of this? I'm a Criterion junky yo...I eat, sleep and crap Criterion, and now, suddenly out of nowhere, THIS??

I feel betrayed. Someone will pay for this. I swear it...

What else you holdin' out on, "Meta-filter"?


(Obligatory pretense: This sounds like Michaelangelo Antonioni making a horror movie. Hoo-ray.)
posted by Skygazer at 5:40 PM on October 26, 2010


What else you holdin' out on, "Meta-filter"? "Meta-filter?"
posted by Skygazer at 5:42 PM on October 26, 2010


Saw it at IFC.. a bit long. Well worth it though. Great music. Nice colors. Lots of fun!
posted by ReeMonster at 7:26 PM on October 26, 2010


The 1967 anthology flick Torture Garden yt , with Burgess Meredith and Barbara Ewing.

Heh. I knew someone would be able to answer that...

Having seen those genuinely insane Youtube clips, and having heard about how batshit crazy it was, the rapid-fire genre conventions, the crazy production design -- I was shocked at how slow-paced and conventional it was when I actually sat down and watched the movie in context.

Yeah, I imagine if you saw all the crazy parts in youtube clips there's a lot of regular movie stuff to sit through, but I actually like that about it, that it's sort of a sweet movie as well as being kind of insane. The idea that much of it was written by/ inspired by a 7 year old (or something like that, Obayashi's daughter) makes a lot of sense to me - it seems to reflect the crazy non-logical but emotionally resonant mentality of a smart kid.

I also like the fact that there's an American 80's "scary movie" called House that is pretty silly too, but nowhere near as random...
posted by mdn at 7:54 AM on October 27, 2010


baf: "And what other movie has a killer piano?

Well, there's Sakura and the Dangerous Piano, but (a) that's an episode of a TV show, not a movie and (b) (spoilers!) the piano was arguably not really going to kill anybody, having been animated to just to create the appearance of danger and make Sakura transform another of the Clow Cards. Really, it was all to help her come into her full power
"

...This is probably the last place on the internet I would have expected to find a CCS reference.


I'm not sure what to do with my life now.
posted by Memo at 10:56 AM on October 27, 2010


Thanks for posting this; I have been looking for something cool to show this weekend, and Netflix is cooperating! Have never heard of it before and am looking forward to it.
posted by OolooKitty at 5:08 PM on October 27, 2010


Just got home from seeing. What. The. Fuck! I want the main theme to be my girl's lullaby. Plus, I got to finally discover Godiego.
posted by NoMich at 7:39 PM on October 29, 2010


Just bought this on Criterion, watched it last night. I'm still kind of in shock but in general I think it's one of the best movie watching experiences of my life. If you get a chance to see it, do NOT pass it up.
posted by Menomena at 8:02 AM on October 31, 2010


Okay, that was a blast. I have never seen anything like it. Hysterically funny at times, it occasionally made me wonder if I had accidentally ingested some acid before viewing. The production design was amazing and chaotic, the music was just... weird, and the use of color in the backgrounds was gorgeous. I also loved the hopeful stepmom, and how she seemed to carry around her own gentle breeze. Also, the many sudden cuts to the face of the clearly bewildered cat. Very funny, and definitely unique.
posted by OolooKitty at 3:39 PM on November 1, 2010


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