No, this is not a review of a new box set
of the Hugh Laurie medical drama but a welcome UK premiere release of
the famous Japanese horror spectacular by renowned director Obayashi. A
smash hit on its original Japanese release in 1977, the film has
garnered a cult audience over the years and been a huge influence on
the careers of Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson, whose calling cards 'Evil
Dead' and 'Braindead' respectively.
Inventive with its cinema style, we see the first moment after 35
minutes when we see a close up of a girl closing her eyes, first her
left, then her right; the audience then seeing the reverse shot, so we
see a girl at a slightly different angle each time is harking back to
your school days. And moments before that we have a girl standing
by a well, and the camerea crash zooms as it zooms in the scenery comes
t is quite startling to see such invention in such a film, whose
premise starts off so melodramatically. A group of girls go to a
girl's relatives house in the country during the summer, where upon
strange things begin to happen; odd, scary, fantastic, horrific things.
The film does have a feel of taking all the scary moments they could
think of and putting it all into one film; an all or nothing approach
which can be most closely seen in 'Evil Dead' when it was everything
and the kitchen sink at times.
At times both spellbinding, mind-boggling, startling and authentically
startling; the influence here on the J-horror genre 'The Ring' and
'Dark Water' as well as strands of Takeshi Miike's oeurve are more
thatn apparent. There are genuine moments of humour, something
that would not make something like 'Evil Dead' even plausible if it was
not for its sense of humour; that is why the role of Obasan (Yoko
Minamida), the Aunty in the film is so important, she is that weird,
eccentric character who is allowed to wink at the camera whilst she
laughs at the nubile girls as they deal with severed heads, flying body
parts and hungry pianos.
That is another influence on the American horror genre so strong and
vital in the late 1970s around the same time as House was released is
that of the last girl; here with have group of girls, fighting
mystical and mysterious forces and one by one, a girl disappears so
therefore we have a precursor to the 'last girl' theory of that
American staple, did this film really influence the American horror
cinema cycle from 1978-1992, ending in the final part of the Evil Dead
trilogy, Army of Darkness.
Well worth a watch for all cult fans and Japanese horror fans, and
people who like directors who take chances and risks with film stock
and breaks boundaries of the film language.
The chapter headings have a wicked sense of humour also:
Also available on the DVD are interviews with the director about the
genesis of the storyline, the production and release of the picture as
well as the abiding legacy of the film.
HAUSU/HOUSE is available now on DVD from Eureka! entertainment