directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi
Not to be confused with Steve Miner’s crappily awesome 80’s horror comedy, House, or Ethan Wiley’s even more ridiculous House 2, Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 haunted house film is one of the most bizarre and righteous of its kind. Hauso (its proper title) tells the tale of a bunch of girlfriends who head up to Oshare’s (apparently, the English translation is “Gorgeous”) Aunt’s house to hang out and make some art(?) with their dreamy teacher. Turns out, Auntie’s house has an appetite of its own, and as it picks off the young ladies one by one, the surviving girls find themselves fighting for their lives. House is filled with such absurd, tangential and inexplicable sequences as to render the film nearly incoherent. I will highlight a sequence in which said art teacher asks a watermelon salesman if he has any bananas, causing the watermelon salesman to turn into some sort of radioactive skeleton that crumbles to pieces, and then turns the art teacher into a pile of bananas. I’m sure some crazy ass, high as a kite “expert” on the film could provide me with some convoluted explanation of the previously mentioned sequence, but I’m sure it would make about as much sense as a UFO conspiracy nut illustrating the validity of the Gulf Breeze sightings. Even if they could, it couldn’t explain the rest of the film, which, considering the date of its release, appears to be the primary inspiration for nearly every music video made during the first half of the 1980s. I am so happy that Obayashi’s bonkers masterpiece is a part of my history, part of what comprises me, and I would be totally happy to revisit this film with any interested party, but is not of the same magical stuff as Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, or Troll 2. It makes it no less spectacular, however. It is playing at The Burton Theatre in Detroit this week for a limited engagement, so haul those asses down there to feast your eyes on this treasure and support those excellent indie film lovers.
Sub-Review: If I had a million hats, I would tip them all to the absolutely tremendous commercial for the cologne dubbed Mandom, playing before the film and starring a magnificent Charles Bronson in all of his mustached, Death Wish era glory. A commercial that answers the age old question, “How does a man as manly as Bronson bathe?”, Mandom explores the awesome realm of existence that us regular guys can only hope to glimpse through vicarious filmic portholes. Everyone loves a lover, and everyone loves Mandom. FYI, I posted the commercial below, but viewer beware. The subsequent quivering in your loins is a phenomenon for which I take no responsibility.