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House aka Hausu (1977)

May 13th, 2010 by unkle lancifer · 13 Comments

I took a trip away from Kindertrauma Castle last weekend and landed in New York. Cops stood on every corner but I also witnessed DEBBIE HARRY on a stroll. Last time I was in this strange city it was not quite as windy and I saw JEFF GOLDBLUM sneeze and JENNIFER JASON LEIGH taking in ALICE NEEL. In other words, every time I go to New York I see someone who has starred in a DAVID CRONENBERG movie. What does it mean? My theory is that New York does not really exist. It is only a dream that I have every time I step onto a Peter Pan bus. The bus driver is my hypnotist. How else can you explain ten dollar beers?

One nice thing about New York is that, unlike post-apocalyptic Philadelphia, they have decent movie theaters. Another plus is that you are less likely to be shot for stepping on somebody’s toe and you don’t always have to sit next to a crying baby on a cell phone. It’s as if the people who go to the movies in New York actually have a desire to watch the film they’ve paid to see. I think it’s kind of fun to go to the movies when it’s not the most aggravating experience imaginable and I don’t mind spending a few extra dollars on tickets if it means that when I leave the theater my will to live is not in shreds.

Being in New York was my big chance to see THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE, a much ballyhooed movie about a mad German who wants to sew together a butt-to-mouth choo-choo train out of understandably reluctant victims. But wait, the pal I’m visiting tells me of another film playing in the same theater called HOUSE a.k.a. HAUSU (1977) and shows me this trailer on his laptop…

HUMAN CENTI-WHO? Contrary to what you may have read on the bathroom stall, when it comes to choosing between forced butt munching and portraits of Persians who spew blood, I’ll always pick the later. The choice was clear I had to see HOUSE; it had a floating decapitated head in it! I know I’m not usually the biggest fan of J-horror but from what I could tell from the trailer this movie had nothing to do with haunted hand-held technology. I could catch up with that crazy German guy later; after the dour NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET remake it was high time your rapidly aging Unk had some G.D. fun. You remember fun, it’s that frothy feeling that everything doesn’t suck.

One thing is for sure, I would have had a much easier time explaining the CENTIPEDE movie to you. HOUSE is about as unexplainable as they come. Director NOBUHIKO OBAYOSHI tapped his young daughter’s head for the film’s bonkers content and boy did he find a wellspring. HOUSE has the same type of exuberant, logic-defying power as a kid’s drawing. If DARIO ARGENTO took ten tabs of acid and filmed an episode of JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS starring SHONEN KIFE and sporting a soundtrack by ELO it would come out only half as insane as this. HOUSE makes a kaleidoscope look like a monocle. It funnels its giddy cartoon dogma directly into your eyeballs. I promise you, it’s pretty much like playing “light as a feather, stiff as a board” with a very high HELLO KITTY. I can’t tell you it’s scary though, the scariest part of this movie is having to return to the real world when it’s done.

In HOUSE you’ll meet a teen girl named Gorgeous and her friends Prof (the smart one with glasses), Kung-fu (Sporty Spice), Sweet (the sweet one), Melody (musically inclined) and Mac (the girl who can’t stop eating.) The sassy lasses take a super fake train ride under cotton candy clouds to Gorgeous’ mysterious Aunt’s house. Following them wherever they go is Blanche, a white Persian cat who apparently bought her own train ticket and steals every scene she’s in. The Aunt is some kind of crazy witch with a hidden agenda and the house is as alive as the cabin in EVIL DEAD 2.

There is so much going on that it’s nearly overwhelming and I’m sure that one viewing will never be enough for most. This is the type of perfect cult movie that you should have on hand to subject your friends to. It’s strange and twisted enough to be embraced by horror fans and goofy and weird enough for anybody sick of the usual. Even if my entire trip to New York was not a hallucination, I’ll never be completely convinced that my viewing of HOUSE was real. If movies are drugs, this is a potent one and I may never look at my cat the same way again.

NOTE: HOUSE will be released on DVD by Criterion in September and it looks like THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE is currently on IFC pay-per- view (at least here.) Looks like I made the right decision for sure, I can have my possessed cat and eat my HUMAN CENTIPEDE too.

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Tags: General Horror

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 LaDraculNo Gravatar // May 13, 2010 at 8:57 am

    This reminds me somewhat of “Happiness of the Katakuris”…only the zombies of the people that die at their ryokan (inn) are the supernatural element in the movie…though they might just be figments of their imagination…. But the movie is about a family who opens a ryokan, but their first few customers either commit suicide or die accidentally. (Like the sumo’s GF who is unfortunate to be under him after he dies of a heart attack.)
    But WOW, this looks crazy…it does look like some unholy cross of “Ringu” and “Kamikaze Girls”…

  • 2 PinchyNo Gravatar // May 13, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I really regret having missed this when it rolled through Portland a few months ago.

  • 3 lottie_of_millhavenNo Gravatar // May 13, 2010 at 11:38 am


  • 4 Chuckles72No Gravatar // May 13, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    What the Hell?  How have I never heard of this before?  Very, very interesting.

  • 5 CringeBotNo Gravatar // May 13, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Excellent post. Hausu looks absolutely amazing, will have to check that out! Funny that you mention Philadelphia’s deadly movie theaters…last time I visited I couldn’t even find one within walking distance. Seems any of the fairly “decent” ones that I remember from when I used to live there have shut down…shame.

  • 6 HorrorCatNo Gravatar // May 13, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Next time you’re rolling through NYC, Unk, you should inform us in advance!  That way we tri-state denizens could ply you with exquisite food and even better movies.

  • 7 WilliamNavidsonNo Gravatar // May 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Even more irony, june 5th Exhumed Films in philly is showing House! Im not sure if your aware of Exhumed Films, but if you live in or around philly you should check them, they do double and triple features of obscure horror films on a fairly regular basis. http://www.exhumedfilms.com

  • 8 theverysmallarrayNo Gravatar // May 15, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    JESUS CHRISTOS! It was like the Kittehs raspy little tongue was licking the crevices of mah Brain. I thought T. Hark’s early stuph was inspired.

  • 9 CringeBotNo Gravatar // May 16, 2010 at 9:58 am

    William, thanks for the link and suggestion, I’ll have to keep that in mind next time I’m in the area.

  • 10 stexeNo Gravatar // May 16, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Here’s the screening schedule, in case it’s coming to your town:
    Saw it here in LA a few months ago. Very glad we got to experience it in a theater rather than at home; the audience was giddy with laughter throughout. I very much doubt that “human centipede” would have the same effect.

  • 11 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // May 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    I gotta start keeping better tabs on what’s going on with exhumed films here in Philly. Thanks to those guys, in the past I got to see F13th 3 in 3-D and the prowler on the big screen. I may just drag some folks to go see Hausu once again in June.

  • 12 CringeBotNo Gravatar // May 17, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Maybe this screening schedule link will work?

  • 13 LaDraculNo Gravatar // Aug 12, 2010 at 9:54 am

    I finally saw it a few weeks ago, and man, I have this comparison-
    It’s an episode of “Azumanga Daioh” gone horribly, horribly wrong.
    Although Kung Fu may have been the inspiration for Lita/Sailor Jupiter from “Sailor Moon”…though Lita didn’t have kickass theme music.

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