House (“Hausu”)

What Jesse said:

Have you seen Hoozoo, Hauzoo, Hosso, uh, whatever it’s called – it means House?  It’s a crazy 70s Japanese flick. There isn’t even anything else I can say about it. It’s  crazy. There’s a piano scene. That’s all I can say.

Mike’s verdict:

Wow. There definitely is a piano scene. A ridiculously absurd piano scene. You see it coming like a train wreck in slow motion and it’s fantastic in its absurdity. The whole movie is.

I haven’t seen too many other Japanese movies from the 70s (or any at all), so I don’t know if House is typical or something completely different. It’s a lot like the classic American horror movies of the time; at least it has the same basic format – a group of friends in an unfamiliar environment are killed-off one at a time in increasingly gruesome ways. But where American horror takes itself seriously (even if the audience doesn’t), House almost feels like a spoof. It’s so over the top ridiculous that it’s hard to believe it’s not intentional. It feels like a caricature right from the beginning with a bizarre music montage that goes on so long you’ll start to wonder if you’ve been tricked into watching a musical. Plus, the seven girls all have silly nick-names that are clearly intended to reflect their character’s individual theme. Melody, for example, plays the piano. Even the dialog seems intentionally goofy at times, and not just in the way that asian movies always get goofy when they are translated. This feels like it would still be goofy even if I understood Japanese.

My favourite thing about the movie? Kung Fu. She’s sort of a hero – in an Adam-West-Batman meets Hit Girl kind of way.

The only thing that bothers me about House is the fact that it has subtitles. I don’t mind having to read once in a while, but this movie is very visual and I can’t properly appreciate it because I have to focus on the very bottom of the screen. That’s not really the movies fault but it’s still an issue.

Overall, I liked it and this one will probably stay in my collection so that I can share it with others.

9/10

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