A review of this coming up as soon as I…get eaten by a Piano?
It’s all to easy to think “Crazy Japanese” when we see their game shows, or their commercials or weird sexual videogames. But Japanese Cinema is a different beast. There’s a tradition not to just do weird for the sake of it, but as an active rebellion not just against perceived up-tightness of authority, but against Cinema itself. The films of Takeshi Miike come across as an assault on the senses, and good taste. Look no further than Dead or Alive, which is standard gangster fare until we get to the insane Apocalyptic ending. Japanese cinema sometimes takes a left turn where it should take a right.
Nobuhiko Obayashi didn’t adhere to such paths when making his film, instead preferring to just run around in some haphazard fashion until he gets to the end. This is to say that House (Or Hausu to give it it’s correct name) is fucking insane.
A group of friends go to a house (One would assume the titular house) that’s owned by our lead’s Aunt. The house turns out to be haunted, and the girls start to vanish one by one.
First thing to note is that no one actually has names in this film, like some kind of ancient Spice Girls they’re instead given names based on their character traits, so we have characters called Gorgeous (For obvious reasons), Melody (She likes Music) and most amusingly of all; Kung Fu (Presumably based on her love of Topiary) amongst others.
It’s hard to know what to write about this film, except that you have literally never seen anything like it before. I’m almost struggling for words because it’s just so hard to describe. Things seemingly happen without rhyme or reason, and it all adds up to some sort of fever dream. That’s the closest to a description I could really muster – A fever dream. On drugs.
Before House I had never seen a girl get eaten by a Piano. Just think about that for a moment. She gets eaten by a Piano. Eaten! And it continues to play while she’s inside it. Here’s the thing though, it’s not even the craziest part of the film. The climax especially is off the rails. You know how sometimes you walk into a room and a film is playing, how you sit down and realise you have no idea what’s happening? This is like 90 minutes of that.
But what a glorious 90 minutes it was.
Up Next: Clownhouse