Hello, dear readers, this week I bring you a horror-comedy in the vain of Evil Dead, with bizarre deaths, whacky villains, and a whole lot of fun in between. House or Hausu is a 1977 Japanese film that brings a group of young girls in to a whole mess of trouble with a nasty witch that has a taste for young flesh…in the eating sense, you perverts. A classic that stands the test of time incredibly well, Hausu is definitely a must see for any horror fiend.

The Breakdown

Plot:

The movie begins with our main girls, Angel (Kimiko Ikegami) and Fanta (Kumiko Ohba) discussing their plans for the summer. Angel intends to go on vacation with her father, who is part of a film studio and constantly out of town for work, to a small village. Fanta and their other friends are all heading to some kind of camp with their teacher, Keisuke (Kiyohiko Ozaki), who Fanta has a major crush on. When Angel arrives home that night, she finds her father back in town. However, he’s not alone. He introduces Angel to his new wife and her stepmother.

Destroyed by the idea that her father could ever re-marry after her mother’s death, Angel decides to write her Aunt, whom she has not spoken to in many years, and ask if she could stay with her for the summer. Her Aunt responds quickly saying that she would be more than delighted to have her and her friends stay. The message did not arrive by itself, however. A strange, white cat came along with it, which Angel adopts quickly as her own. Angel’s friends all agree that they want to go with Angel to her Aunt’s in the countryside. Even their teacher says he will accompany them, though having a super goofy accident involving a bucket getting stuck to his backend holds him back from joining the girls right away. Angel and her friends take a train out to the middle of nowhere and have to hike at least another day before reaching her Aunt’s house. When they arrive they find the house is ill kept and her Aunt is bound to a wheelchair. She welcomes them in and they promptly decide that they are going to clean up the whole house and prepare dinner for Angel’s gracious Aunt.

It doesn’t take long for things to start getting weird, though.

One of the friend’s goes out to a well after dinner, having placed a watermelon in there to keep it cool, and disappears. After some time Fanta goes in search of her, only to find her severed head flying out of the well and attacking her. Yeah, things go from 0 – 100 real fast. She runs back to her other friends, but no one believes her strange story. As the night goes on, Fanta begins to suspect Angel’s Aunt is a witch due to witnessing several strange incidents. The girls begin to disappear one by one, the house gobbling them up in very bizarre ways. For example, one of the girls in musically inclined and plays an old piano in the sitting room. She suddenly becomes entranced by it and plays it until it begins to smash her up and eat her. The whole scene is done in a strange sort of green screen way, which actually looks very impressive for being made in the 70s.

Meanwhile, Angel becomes possessed by her Aunt and we find out that she was once engaged to a man who was sent off to war. She loved the man so much she vowed to wait for his return. The Aunt then turned to the dark arts to keep her soul on this plain until he came back, but she needs young flesh to keep her going. Fanta and two of the other girls attempt to go for help, but are locked inside of the house. The house begins to flood and attack the girls, killing everyone except for Fanta. Possessed Angel reunites with Fanta and Fanta believes everything to be okay, but possessed Angel takes this young girl’s life as well. It definitely ends on a downer of a note, but it’s one hell of a ride.

Acting:

Each of the girls embodies a specific trait. Angel is the beautiful one, Fanta is the dreamer, one girl is a musician, the other a genius, etc. For these sort of characters and the atmosphere of the movie to work well, the girls needed to overact their parts just enough to exemplify that trait, but not make it ridiculous. Each one does so perfectly. It’s great to see them interact and become one sort of complicated person by adding in each of their quirks. Angel particularly has this sort of dreamy way of moving and behaving that really pulls you in to this wistful universe.

Visuals:

As I mentioned before, green screen is used in some of the scenes and, for it’s time, it’s very impressive. The cinematography is excellent as well. The director took some creative risks that really worked out, such as having an image on the screen of a scene that was going to happen a few moments after what was happening in front of us and the two meld together. Again, it’s always building up this feeling of being in a dream.

What Say I:

Hausu, is definitely a horror classic that I recommend anyone in to the genre should see. I also suggest anyone that likes the Evil Dead series to check it out as well, as it has a lot of similarities. There are so many interesting aspects of this movie I really do think anyone can find something to take away from it. If nothing else, the piano scene is absolutely hilarious and most certainly memorable. Put on your seatbelts and hang on, cause this movie is going to take you on quite the trip.

Credits & Other Stuff:

Writer(s): Chiho Katsura & Chigumi Ôbayashi
Director: Nobuhiko Ôbayashi

Trailer for, Hausu.

About The Author

A graduate in Creative Writing, I love horror, scifi, action, and revenge movies, but b-movies hold a special place in my heart.

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