Oshare (Gorgeous) is excited about spending summer vacation with her father, until she finds out that his beautiful, freakishly serene girlfriend Ryouko would be going as well. Oshare decides she will be going to her aunt's house in the country instead. She brings with her her friends from school - Fanta (who likes to take pictures, and daydreams a lot), KunFuu (who has very good reflexes), Gari/Prof (who is a major nerd), Sweet (who likes to clean), Mac (who eats a lot), and Melody (a musician). However, the girls are unaware that Oshare's aunt is actually dead and the house is actually haunted. When they arrive at the house, crazy events take place and the girls disappear one by one while slowly discovering the secret behind all the madness. Written by
One of those once in a life-time moments, when you will laugh so hard you p*#s yourself, and then c*&p your pants from being stunned by sheer cinematic prowess.
I had sat down expecting a cruel and mildly atmospheric J-horror ghost story, and I got a tornado of avant garde stylistic explosions married to tongue so deep in cheek characters and scenarios, my head was spinning was like "The Exorcist". If Dario Argento, Richard Lester, Vera Chytilova, Seijun Suzuki, and Takashi Miike, conspired secretly made to re-make Star-Wars, and privately screened it for you, while you were hung upside down over a tank of piranha's, it would be about half as remarkable as this movie.
7 Japanese school girls, and stock teen movie characters, who have names like "Prof" for the smart one, "Gorgeus" for the prettiest one, "Mac" for the overweight one, "Fantasy" for the stylish one, and my personal favorite "Kung-Fu"...cus she knows Kung-Fu. They are all in some sort of group together, a team of some kind, though I'm not sure what exactly and they need a place to train for the summer, as they do every year. Gorgeous' father is getting re-married to a woman who only appears with a breeze blowing, in super slow mo, to the accompaniment of etheric string music, and as you can imagine, that slo-mo s*&t all the time, can get kind of irritating, and she wants to get away from it all. She writes a letter to an estranged Aunt of hers, that she has never met, asking if her and her friends can spend the summer doing whatever it is they do. The aunt agrees, and they are off.
The bus trip is like a day-glo version of Willy Wonka's psychedelic boat ride, only through an artificial rainbow streaked countryside. The girls arrive but soon discover that the house is actually possessed by a ghost/demon who likes to eat virgins, and so it does. Girls are devoured by mattresses and pillows, turned to glass, eaten by piano's(one of the funniest and truly most disturbing things I've ever watched), attacked by severed floating heads, plagued by horrible visions of banana's, etc. While the phrase, "I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation for this" becomes an all purpose punch-line.
"Hausu" is horror-comedy-coming of age tale, par excellence. Every scene has some kind of cinematic interjection and manipulation, from the shifting color filters, to deranged collage and montage of events and images, to wildly eclectic animations, mattes, props(the wall paper in the rooms of the house match the print on some of the girls dresses), mini-movies stylized as beautiful and heart felt silent films and WW2 era romances, and of course whirlwind obligatory action scenes, "save us Kung-Fu!". Not to mention music, Gorgeous' dad is a composer, he is mentioned to have auditioned for Segio Leone, who said he was better than Ennio Marriconne, and the spaghetti western's emphasis on music is heavy here. It's wall to wall, full of eerie horror themes, cartoonish comedy sections, pop songs, strings, and sounds which are just generally unclassifiable, possibly because two songs might be played at the same time, or against a scene that is completely inappropriate.
It occurred to me a day after I watched this movie that I had seen a film by Nobuhiko Obayashi before, the campy kaleidoscopic "Sada"(a true story about a woman who castrated her lover and became an overnight celebrity in WW2), and though that is a mere hint of the full on onslaught of this movie, it makes me want to see more. Obayashi was apparently most famous for directing Japanese game shows, and it only adds, to the kitchen sink showman dynamic that he brings to the table here.
What is least important is plot, there is so much happening in literally every scene (the only other film as unrelenting in terms of visual excess is maybe Jorodowsky's "The Holy Mountain", maybe...), that's it's easy to forget what the girls are doing, at all, until a cat's eyes start glowing, or dolls walk around by themselves again. I've never laughed so much at a film that was so dazzling to watch. It's skyrocketed into my favorites instantly. "It's like were trapped in a b-movie.", "An out of date of one too..." See this movie and share it with those you love.
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