REVIEW: "Hausu" or "House" – A Japanese Haunted House Film on Acid

What the Alamo Drafthouse is to Austin, The New Beverly Cinema is to Los Angeles: a gem of a revival movie theater that’s been going strong since 1978 and with a little help from Mr. Quentin Tarantino, hopefully way into the future.  Thanks to a tip from Brian Collins of Horror Movie A Day fame, last night I went to see a 1977 film called House (or Hausu) there.

No relation to the 1986 Steve Miner directed, William Katt starrer film of the same name, House could simply be defined as a “Japanese haunted house horror picture.”
That simple definition would be given if you had a gun to my head and said “You need to define this film in 5 words so that any idiot will know what it’s about!”  The real story is that this film defies explanation.

Take Evil Dead, add in copious amounts of nonsensical Anime dialogue and late 70s special effects, shake in some Terry Gilliam-esque animation, wind it up to Run Lola Run speed and put it all on a burner set to “explode.”
You will see things you’ve never seen.

You will see a man turn into a pile of bananas.
You will see a piano eat a person.
You will see a freaky cat painting vomit blood.
You will see a lampshade kill a girl.
You will see a bear wear a uniform.
You will see a witch disappear into a refrigerator.
You will see a disembodied head bite a girl in the butt.
You will see more than that.

The film is certainly a fun watch and at 87 minutes will be over before you know what hit you.  Film buffs will see where other directors from De Palma to Raimi got some of their ideas.  (I’m now convinced the Evil Dead franchise was influenced by this film.)

I really don’t know what else to say except SEE IT.  It’ll be an experience you can brag about to your other film aficionado and horror fan friends.
Don’t believe me?  Check out the trailer HERE or in the embed below:

As it’s not available on DVD in the U.S. (though numerous fan sites have predicted its release this year) your best bet to check it out is on Janus’s brand new print theatrical tour.  See the list HERE and certainly go see it should it hit your city.  Got a region free DVD player and can’t wait?  Then go to the Amazon link below to snag the UK Region 2 import.  

If you have seen it, lived to tell the tale and want the merch to display as your badge of honor, check out the Criterion store for men’s and women’s t-shirts or the glorious demonic cat-visage poster HERE