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 somebodyâ€™s toe and you donâ€™t always have to sit next to a crying baby on a cell phone. Itâ€™s as if the people who go to the movies in New York actually have a desire to watch the film theyâ€™ve paid to see. I think itâ€™s kind of fun to go to the movies when itâ€™s not the most aggravating experience imaginable and I donâ€™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 Iâ€™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 laptopâ€¦
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, Iâ€™ll always pick the later. The choice was clear I had to see HOUSE; it had a floating decapitated head in it! I know Iâ€™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, itâ€™s that frothy feeling that everything doesnâ€™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 daughterâ€™s head for the filmâ€™s bonkers content and boy did he find a wellspring. HOUSE has the same type of exuberant, logic-defying power as a kidâ€™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, itâ€™s pretty much like playing â€œlight as a feather, stiff as a boardâ€ with a very high HELLO KITTY. I canâ€™t tell you itâ€™s scary though, the scariest part of this movie is having to return to the real world when itâ€™s done.
In HOUSE youâ€™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 canâ€™t stop eating.) The sassy lasses take a super fake train ride under cotton candy clouds to Gorgeousâ€™ mysterious Auntâ€™s house. Following them wherever they go is Blanche, a white Persian cat who apparently bought her own train ticket and steals every scene sheâ€™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 itâ€™s nearly overwhelming and Iâ€™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. Itâ€™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, Iâ€™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.
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”…
I really regret having missed this when it rolled through Portland a few months ago.
What the Hell?Â How have I never heard of this before?Â Very, very interesting.
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.
Next time you’re rolling through NYC, Unk, you should inform us in advance! Â That way we tri-state denizens could ply you with exquisite food and even better movies.
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 phillyÂ you should check them,Â they do double and triple features of obscure horror films on a fairly regular basis. http://www.exhumedfilms.com
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.
William, thanks for the link and suggestion, I’ll have to keep that in mind next time I’m in the area.
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.
Maybe this screening schedule link will work?
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.