Often incomprehensible, constantly jarring and unexplainably insane.
Issa good time.
House is one of those movies where it doesn’t matter what it’s about. It’s a movie not to be so much watched, but experienced. Made by the good ole Godzilla Factory Toho in 1977, House‘s plot is as basic as its name. Seven girls go to visit a distant aunt in a big, creepy house and spooky shenanigans begin to occur. What the film lacks in narrative originality it makes up for in its outlandish presentation. Erratic editing, nonsensical scenes and less-than-convincing special effects are the film’s defining characteristics. Usually this would be detrimental to a film, but it all plays into the motives of director Nobuhiko Obayashi. Saddled with a script for a film no one would direct, Obayashi spent two years personally backing the film before finally stepping in to direct it himself. Obayashi was inspired by his daughter and other children’s imaginations; how they perceived the world and saw things that may not be there. Teamed with a crew of inexperienced actors, Obayashi set out to harness the bizarre and ethereal nature of imagination and dreams.
The film is a masterclass in the absurd, producing insane visuals that have a charm that’s impossible to ignore. The practical effects are cheaply made and the green screen and chroma key is laughably bad. Yet, you’re so entertained by the manic movie that you don’t even care. You accept it as part of the movie’s reality. The visuals are childlike for a reason; it doesn’t all make sense for a reason. More or less, it’s a film about seeing the world’s whimsicality and horrors through a child’s eye. It’s not a movie to dissect and study, but to appreciate and admire. While it’s a horror film by design, it’s a comedy at heart. From a man turning into a pile of bananas to our main characters being named after their personalities (Gorgeous is the pretty one, Kung Fu knows kung fu, Sweet is nice, etc.) the film never takes itself too seriously and is fully aware of its experimental nature. Many of the scenes were developed on the spot and it shows. It’s a film where the fun of filmmaking was never lost. The outcome of the film was just as important as the production itself, and you can see the enjoyment of the cast shine through absurd story.
Don’t watch this film expecting it to make sense or be compelling because you’ll just be disappointed. Get together with friends, maybe have a few drinks and laugh along to this absolute trip of a film. It’s an admirable example of seeing a project through despite working with next to nothing, and can be admired in the same vein as some of cinema’s greatest films.