Tuesday, September 14, 2010

1977 - HAUSU, Japanese haunted house spoof or complete put on

It is difficult to understand what the director Nobuhiko Obayashi exactly had in mind with what I believe is some kind of haunted house horror spoof.

The film starts out when a group of comely Japanese schoolgirls vacationing in the Japanese countryside at the home of an Aunt of one of the girls.  Once in the house the girls are attacked by the  house itself.  It turns out the Aunt is actually a ghost waiting for the return of her fiancee from World War II.  But really the plot has nothing to do with the film, its an excuse for Nobuhiko Obayashi to try out a lot of stylish tricks with the camera and particularly the optical printer.

This film has an oddball collection of scenes in it:
  • A linen room where a girl is attacked by sheets and pillows.
  • A well containing a head that bites one of the girls on the butt.
  • A piano that bites the fingers off of another girl then proceeds to either eat her or sexually assault her.
  • A man that turns into a bunch of bananas.
  • A dancing skeleton that shows up for no particular reason.  
  • A movie soundtrack that at times breaks into a mainstream jazz score.
Realism never appeared to be a consideration, every scene seems to contain some sort of stylistic trick, even the walk in the countryside to the house is a background of obviously painted mountains.

Whatever  Nobuhiko Obayashi had in mind for Hausu will probably be a mystery that only he can explain.  It does appear to me that the schoolgirls being assaulted by the house and literally dismembered with their body parts dancing around would tend to suggest a deeper impulse.

88 weird minutes.

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