Saturday, November 6, 2010

Welcome to My Surreal Nightmare: House (1977) in Images

Being a (belated) Film #12 in Hail Horror 5.

I actually watched HOUSE, the 1977 Japanese freak-fest by Nobuhiko Obayashi before either HABIT or SOMBRE, picking it up the day it was released in a typically gorgeous Criterion edition.  The back of the DVD describes the film, a truly inventive visual tour de force by Obayashi (who after a series of similar in aesthetic short films got his start in crazy commercials like the infamous MANDOM spots with Charles Bronson) as "An episode of Scooby-Doo as directed by Mario Bava" and that's not too far off the mark.  Seven quirky school girls travel into the country to stay with lead girl Gorgeous's aunt, who has been alone in her house with just her cat ever for years.  Turns out Auntie is more than just an eccentric spinster, and the trip turns into a surreal nightmare complete with man-eating pianos, flying decapitated heads, musical numbers, animation, some terrific matte painting and martial arts.

The best comparison I can make is to Sam Raimi's EVIL DEAD 2, a "horror" film that was so exuberant and fun you were smiling more than you were screaming.  So rather than go into more detail, here are a few shots to whet your appetite:

Seriously deranged and delightful, if you haven't caught up to HOUSE yet, do yourself a favor and check it out, if only to see a man transform into a bunch of bananas.

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