far weirder than average haunted house movie from Japan.
Yes, I (and probably you) am sick to death of haunted house flicks, but
this one is different. A heavily
stylized film dealing with issues of sexuality and femininity, I don't know
that it's all that good, but again, it's definitely different.
director Nobuhiko Obayashi is quite a cult figure in his native Japan.
This 1977 film was his first, and he's gone on to make at least a
dozen more, including cult classics like SUMMER WITH GHOSTS (1989) and DRIFTING
CLASSROOM (1991), most of them dealing, as this film does, with the
complexities of adolescence. So
highly regarded is Obayashi that he's widely referred to by a nickname, Obi,
and has much of his work classified as "Ominichi," the name of the resort
town where "Obi" grew up, and where HOUSE and many other of his films were
a teenage girl, is unable to come to terms with the untimely death of her
mother and her father's new mistress. Together
with several school friends, Oshare decides to visit the secluded country house
of a distant aunt.
All Oshare's friends get devoured in one way or another by the house, which seems to have taken on its owner's pent-up sexuality (or something) and is all too eager to consume these nubile virgins.
I definitely haven't heard that
call this film bizarre would be an understatement.
Obayashi's ultra-stylized approach takes some getting used to; the
whole thing is deliberately artificial and decked out with stylistic quirks
(irises, superimpositions, etc.) that serve no apparent purpose.
The tone is pretty much set by the opening credits, with the title
"HOUSE" imprinting itself in lurid, cartoony style, and the O becoming a
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