12 February 2018

MASTERS OF CINEMA PRESENTS: HOUSE. (1977) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




HOUSE (HAUSU). (1977) A JAPANESE HORROR COMEDY DIRECTED BY NOBUHIKU OBAYASHI.
STARRING KIMIKO IKEGAMI AND YOKO MINAMIDA.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

'Movies as original as this one don't come along very often.'
NEW YORK POST
'Its trippy energy and surreal unpredictability make it a film that takes up long-term residence in your consciousness.'
LITTLE WHITE LIES
'Delirious, deranged, gonzo or just gone, baby, gone- no single adjective or even a pileup does justice to HOUSE.'
THE NEW YORK TIMES
'If you crashed a teenage girls' pyjama party after necking some bad acid, this is probably what it'd feel like.'
SFX MAGAZINE

'An unforgettable mixture of bubblegum teen melodrama and grisly phantasmagoria.'
EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT

'Well well, seven pretty girls...'

Wow. I thought that THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN was the maddest, most bonkers film I'd ever seen until I watched this one. It's a wildly surreal Japanese horror comedy that some critics have deemed unwatchable, while others simply think it's a freakin' masterpiece. Personally, I'm on the fence somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

Certainly the film is intriguing, unique, extraordinary and totally baffling in places. It's fun and terrifically psychedelic though, and if you're willing to open yourself up to the full experience that HOUSE has to offer, then you're in for one hell of a roller-coaster ride. Strap yourself in though, it's gonna be a bumpy ride...

So, there's this cutesie-pie Japanese schoolgirl nicknamed Angel, although in some versions she's known as Gorgeous. Either way, she certainly loves herself, lol. She's the beloved only child of a widower who composes music alongside Ennio Morricone and Sergio Leone, so we know that the director of HOUSE is a big film fan, for starters.

Angel is hugely looking forward to spending the six blissful weeks of the school summer holidays with her father, but then Daddy goes and does the unthinkable. He brings home a beautiful new Step-Mother, Ryoko, for Angel to get to know and love. He intends to bring Ryoko away with himself and Angel on holiday. That's some pretty lousy timing there, Pops...

Angel goes ballistic and decides to spend the summer at her Aunt's house instead, even though she hasn't seen the woman in years and doesn't know her from a hole in a prophylactic. Eeeee, that's dead clever, i'n't it? I came up with that one meself, lol.

The Aunt, Angel's deceased mother's sister, is thrilled with the idea, even though Angel has also decided to bring her six bestest friends along: Fantasy, Melody, Sweetie, Kung Fu, Prof and Mac. Teenage girls always travel in packs, in case you hadn't noticed. Blocking the footpath from decent citizens while they giggle and take annoying selfies, even though they know their friends' mugshots as well as they know their own. Irritating teeny-boppers, grumble grumble grumble...

The clue to all the girls' characters lie in their nicknames. Angel is sweet and angelic-looking, Melody can play the piano, Kung Fu knows martial arts and Prof (short for Professor) is a brainiac who wears glasses. Fantasy, I presume, has a good imagination.

Sweetie loves to clean up after everyone, which would make her an instant 'Sweetie' in anyones' book, and Mac is so-called because she loves her food. I thought she was named after the McDonalds' 'Big Mac' but it's the 'mach' part of the English word 'stomach' she's actually named for, believe it or not. I thought my own guess was better, actually...!

Anyway, the Aunt's house is a big, rambling spooky affair in an isolated part of the
countryside and the Aunt herself is grey-haired, wheelchair-bound and so graciously welcoming that the seven girls immediately feel very much at home. Which is just as well because, very soon, they're all going to become part of the furniture, cue evil laugh, mwa-hahahahahahahaha, etc...

Um, in case you didn't follow me there, the house is actually going to eat the seven girls, although it's really the Aunt's evil spirit that will be devouring them. Angel's real Aunt is dead, see? She died pining away for the man she loved who went off to World War Two and never returned. Thus she died without ever having been a bride, the thing most girls are supposed to want more than anything else on this Earth. Meh. Me personally, I could've died a happy woman the day they invented Emmental Cheese Pringles.

Now, however, the Aunt's lingering spirit chows down on the flesh and blood of any unmarried girls who are unfortunate enough to cross her path, and her very own niece Angel has very kindly ensured that Auntie's house is now filled to the brim with giggly pubescent girls. Thanks very much, thinks the blood-sucking Auntie. These are all for me...

What happens next is mad and bloody. There will be buckets and buckets of blood, in fact, as well as some nudie bathing, some involuntary stripping, some Japanese schoolgirls wearing tight little knickers, some Japanese schoolgirls wearing no little knickers at all and some Japanese schoolgirls even sniffing each others' knickers. Yes, I know. Eeuw...!

There's a certain amount of perviness in any Japanese film involving schoolgirls. Even the most ordinary of Japanese films involving schoolgirls will show you an obscene amount of long schoolgirl thigh, and the up-skirt camera will be on standby to bring you many, many shots of tight little schoolgirl knickers. It's just the way it is in Japan, so don't blame me for commenting on something that's been a tradition with the Japanese for donkeys' years, lol...!

Anyway, it's quite funny the way the girls get killed according to their nicknames, for example, Mac is bumped off while grubbing around for food, haha, and Melody gets eaten up by the piano, lol. Sweetie the bed-maker gets attacked by the futons in the house, and round and round and round it goes in a big chaotic whirl until, suddenly, it's a brand-new day and a very special visitor indeed is coming up Auntie's garden path...

Just one of the many interesting things about the film is that the six schoolgirl friends of Angel's are all played by amateurs and not professional actresses at all. They're just ordinary loud happy boisterous schoolgirls playing ordinary loud happy boisterous schoolgirls and they do a brilliant job of it. The surreal antics in the chaotic fun-house are all the rowdier for their tightly-knickered presence...!

EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT TO RELEASE 'HOUSE,' A SELF-AWARE, POST-MODERN JAPANESE FAIRY TALE FROM ONE OF CINEMA'S GREAT SURREALISTS, AS PART OF THE MASTERS OF CINEMA RANGE ON BLU-RAY ON 12TH FEBRUARY 2018.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







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