Hausu – Official Winnipeg Premiere of Lysergic Japanese Cult Horror Film!

Big Smash! + CineMuerte present
Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Hausu
Friday March 12 at 8pm
Ellice Theatre (587 Ellice)
Admission $8

with Alice Cooper (the all-female alice cooper tribute band) Live!

LSD, thy name is House! One part glossy teen hijinx, one part horror movie and one part whacked out whatzit, this long-lost head trip from Japan can’t be described, it can only be experienced. We’re extremely proud to bring this movie to audiences on the big screen with this restored digital master, featuring a video introduction from the director, the inimitable Nobuhiko Obayashi – or OB as he’s known – OB didn’t follow the traditional route to becoming a filmmaker, choosing to carve his own path, releasing a bevy of mind-bending 8mm movies in the Japanese film underground. By the mid-’70s he’d become a famous director of commercials, shooting the infamous Charles Bronson Mandom commercials on the Toho lot. While there, Toho invited him to make a feature film. The industry was crashing so hard that they were willing to give the keys to the studio to just about anyone at the time. Thank god they did, otherwise we wouldn’t have House.

With a feature in his future, OB did the only thing you could do when faced with the daunting task of coming up with the story for your first film: he consulted his 11-year-old daughter. What they came up with is the horror film House, a singular movie that is the unholy spawn of a lava lamp and a haunted house that somehow leaves a fresh minty taste in your mouth and a monsoon in your mind. Combining all the best visual effects trickery that he’d picked up from his extensive commercial work and chock full of the bizarre non-sequiturs you’d expect from the mind of a seven-year-old, House features a half-dozen or so ‘Morning Musume’ (pop idol)-type teenage girls who would bop around the screen and eventually get knocked off by an evil moptop witch and her white Himalayan cat. It can safely be said, that you’ve never experienced a film like HOUSE before. While OB went on to a very successful directing career (he’s still going today), none of his films have quite reached the giddy psychedelic heights of this debut. In fact, no one’s films have. So come on out and bow down to the strange ’70s sorcery of… HOOUUUUUUUUUUUUSSSSSSE.

– New York Asian Film Festival


From Uptown Magazine March 11, 2010:

For committed cult cinema fans only
Late-’70s Japanese horror flick Hausu has plenty of so-bad-it’s-funny appeal, but the whole thing gets a tad wearisome after a while

Is this movie actually any good? God knows it’s something – I can’t remember seeing another quite like it.

To be honest, I’m grateful for that. Hausu is an example of a one-of-a-kind film but that designation doesn’t necessarily equal praise. There are things to admire about the film, and things that can be enjoyed only by entertaining one’s sense of the ridiculous. And then there’s stuff that would have been better off being in no movie at all.

This long-lost, late-’70s Japanese horror flick features some of the cheesiest visuals ever committed to celluloid. Seriously, some of the mise-en-scene has to be seen to be believed – such as a guy’s slapstick pratfall down a flight of stairs and ass-first into a bucket.

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there: through stop-motion animation, the gag continues with the dumb bastard sliding down the street and into traffic. Then there are the oversaturated colours and phony sets that make some scenes look like Saturday-morning kiddie fare.

And that’s not even mentioning the female character nicknamed Kung Fu, who does battle with evil forces on more than one occasion; her scenes play out like parodies of the already overwrought martial-arts flicks Tarantino was channeling in Kill Bill.

I could go on. But what the hell does any of this have to do with Japanese horror, you ask? Well, yeah, no shit. It’s that very incongruity that’s part of the movie’s camp factor. And it’s fun, to a point.

The slight story concerns a group of Japanese schoolgirls who are summering at the seaside residence of one girl’s aunt. It doesn’t take long to discover the joint is haunted by malevolent forces that hunger for jailbait.

When the horror elements finally do kick in, Hausu gives us some genuine shocks – such as a severed head in a well, or a staring eyeball peeking out of a character’s mouth. The understated, straightforward fashion in which some visuals are presented foreshadows the likes of Ringu and Suicide Club, two staples of contemporary Japanese horror.

Other imaginative bits include a sea of blood welling up from under the floor, leaving characters frantically floating about on tatami mats. There are also some outrageous moments of surrealism, such as a bunch of severed fingers dancing on a piano’s keyboard. It’s the kind of shot Sam Raimi would have used if he’d thought of it first.

In the end, this movie is what it is. Whether it ‘works’ or not is still a valid question, however, and Hausu certainly doesn’t work as what it seems to want to be: a hybrid of high-spirited teen bubblegum comedy and supernatural horror.

Yes, the film’s “it’s-so-bad-it’s-funny-OMFG-I-can’t-believe-what-I’m-seeing” quality is supposed to be part of the attraction, like so many Japanese game shows. But a little Hausu goes a long way; the sheer absurdity of the movie actually gets wearisome the longer it plays out.

Nonetheless, fans of preposterous cult cinema will probably consider this movie a late valentine. You know who you are. Enjoy.

– Kenton Smith


~ by cineflyer on February 27, 2010.

5 Responses to “Hausu – Official Winnipeg Premiere of Lysergic Japanese Cult Horror Film!”

  1. I’m so there!!!

  2. Is this the 35mm print that Janus has been screening?

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