Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hausu (House) (1977) On Further Review


Completely over-the-top legendary Japanese horror film, written by the director's young daughter, concerns a house that eats people.

The film was pretty much rediscovered by the New York Asian Film Festival in 2009 where it played multiple midnight shows (they kept adding screenings), before getting a special Masters Of Cinema release at the start of this year, and an October 2010 DVD release from Criterion. It has also gotten a regular theatrical release and is now playing around the country. Until recently it had been playing at the IFC Center in Manhattan, a run that was several months long.

Clips from, and the trailer for, the film can be found on You Tube.

The plot of the film has a young girl deciding to go to her aunt's house for the summer instead of visiting with her father. Once there weird things transpire and the house is found to be haunted and the aunt dead.

It's a mindbending film that was made on the cheap and can be a great deal of fun if you are in the right mind. If you're in the wrong mind it comes off as incredibly stupid.

Personally I like the movie. I think it'as s fun, however I'm at a loss to explain why the film is getting the attention it is. Yes it has some psychotronic moments, but in all honesty it isn't that good...or even that bad. (And full disclosure: I do have the Criterion edition on order)

Anyone who has been reading this blog for any amount of time knows that I can bounce between high art and utter trash with the greatest of ease. I know the spectrum of film but I don't know what has been making House (or Hausu) stand out. I mean the effects are awful, the story is okay and outside of the odd moment there are these long stretches of dullness.

What is it that has attracted people, nay what has attracted the likes of Criterion and Masters Of Cinema? Okay Criterion I can understand since their mandate is to show a wide range of films, but Masters Of Cinema? Master? No.

Yes I know killer lampshades and pianos are fun, but they don't make a film that should be in a Masters Of Cinema release. If you want to see the best parts of the movie, there is a ten minute clip reel at You Tube that shows all the good parts. If it wasn't for the fact that you can condense the film down like that I would never have considered writing this piece.

You know I should point out that had Criterion and Masters Of Cinema not picked the film out for release, and had the film not been picked by several critics as a lost treasure, I would have reviewed the film here as an Unseen Film. It deserves to be seen, but come on, this is not a great film by any stretch of the imagination. All I can think is that the same thinking (or laziness) that continually lists Ed Wood's Plan Nine From Outer Space as the worst film of all time is at work. I'm guessing it's people taking the easy way out; crazy Japanese film? House.

Don't get me wrong; if you see Hausu, and you should, you'll have a good time. At the same time I think I've highlighted better mind blowing films here at Unseen...just look at the WTF tag in the sidebar.

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