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House (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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|Format||Blu-ray, Color, Subtitled, NTSC|
|Contributor||Kumiko Ohba, Yoko Minamida, Nobuhiko Obayashi, Kimiko Ikegami|
|Runtime||1 hour and 28 minutes|
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House (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
How to describe Nobuhiko Obayashi’s indescribable 1977 movie House (Hausu)? As a psychedelic ghost tale? A stream-of-consciousness bedtime story? An episode of Scooby-Doo as directed by Mario Bava? Any of the above will do for this hallucinatory head trip about a schoolgirl who travels with six classmates to her ailing aunt’s creaky country home and comes face-to-face with evil spirits, a demonic house cat, a bloodthirsty piano, and other ghoulish visions, all realized by Obayashi via mattes, animation, and collage effects. Equally absurd and nightmarish, House might have been beamed to Earth from some other planet.
How to describe Nobuhiko Obayashi’s indescribable 1977 movie HOUSE (Hausu)? As a psychedelic ghost tale? A stream of consciousness bedtime story? An episode of Scooby Doo as directed by Mario Bava? Any of the above will do for this hallucinatory head trip about a schoolgirl who travels with six classmates to her ailing aunt’s creaky country home and comes face to face with evil spirits, a demonic house cat, a bloodthirsty piano, and other ghoulish visions, all realized by Obayashi via a series of mattes, animation, and collage effects. Equal parts absurd and nightmarish, HOUSE might have been beamed to Earth from some other planet. Never before available on home video in the United States, it’s one of the most exciting cult discoveries in years.
- Aspect Ratio : 1.33:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 0.7 x 7.5 x 5.4 inches; 3.21 Ounces
- Item model number : Relay time: 89min
- Director : Nobuhiko Obayashi
- Media Format : Blu-ray, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
- Run time : 1 hour and 28 minutes
- Release date : October 26, 2010
- Actors : Kimiko Ikegami, Kumiko Ohba, Yoko Minamida
- Subtitles: : English
- Studio : Criterion Collection
- ASIN : B003WKL6X0
- Country of Origin : USA
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,885 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Reviewed in the United States on June 16, 2017
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The only major criticism I have is that the characters are honestly pretty ridiculous, but it's possible that this is more an issue of the translation from Japanese. For instance there is a character called "Prof" (short for "professor"), there's just no way that would be a real nickname. The attempt to give each of the characters a unique personality feels forced and there is really almost no character development. That said, it really doesn't matter anyway as the film is still a joy to watch. I've seen it 5 times and even went to a screening at a local theater.
When a film is hyped up to be 'all that', my expectations lead me to be only one thing - let down. When you read the Amazon product details as well as the dvd cover description, the promise sounds far too brilliant to be realized, so I decided to do a little research. After reading several website reviews, I felt I was getting farther from the truth instead of closer, so I decided to watch the bonus features before I sat through the actual movie. This is one of the few times when doing so proved to be absolutely essential to my overall viewing experience and ultimate enjoyment of this minor yet remarkable movie. There aren't many spoilers, at least none that would detract from your gratification, and to hear the way the film evolved directly from the mouth of director Nobuhiko Obayashi added the necessary seasonings to appreciate the film for what it is, what it isn't and what the hype tells us it should be. "An episode of 'Scooby-Doo' as directed by Mario Bava"? Puh-leese... I've seen every Bava flick there is and there's no such similarity - maybe Seijun Suzuki is who they meant. (By way of Tim Burton, but now I'm adding to the hype...).
By the time I actually sat through the film itself, I had a better understanding of what this film actually was, and could judge it on its own merits, budgetary and special effect restraints, constraints and sheer brilliance in execution and concept alone. As a result, I was able to thoroughly enjoy this anomaly in film from the 70's without reserve and would strongly suggest to anyone remotely interested in this film to do likewise - you won't be sorry you did.
(PS- The bonus 1966 experimental film is another added treat of sorts, and viewing it in advance will also increase your appreciation of the main feature).
A solid four star film I'm adding one star to for its sheer originality, and to make up for some of its unwarranted detractors here on Amazon. You want different? You got it!
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Let me start by saying this: I’m not quite sure I have laughed so much at a film both for the right reasons and the wrong ones, simultaneously.
House is best described as Scooby Doo meets Suspiria—in Japan. It’s part grim fairytale, part children’s TV, part horror spectacle. Everything is designed to appear ludicrous, from the flower-power hippy soundtrack to the 70’s era, acid-trip advertisement style editing. Colour abounds, and the sickly sweet journey of the protagonist to her lonely, beautiful aunt constantly surprises the viewer with vistas both real and painted. The film doesn’t seek to conceal this however— more often than not it’s very clear that what you see is absurd, but frequently lovely, illusion.
From the moment Beauty and her plucky stock character school-friends arrive at the titular ‘House’, we quickly nosedive into potent surrealism: Cupboards are karate kicked; rats fly through the air; a cat magically winks and spears a lizard. In one of the best scenes, the aunt waltzes into the fridge, closing herself inside. It’s almost too much to process. There’s a balletic quality to the preposterousness that never fails to enthral.
Fundamentally however, underneath all of the absurdity lies a surprisingly magical experience. There’s more under the surface than it might appear, and House manages to capture something of a Miyazaki-esque nostalgia, a relentlessly cheerful, untroubled depiction of childhood friendship and adventures abroad.
I won’t divulge much more about the film, because it really must be witnessed, and felt, to be believed.
Highly recommended, especially for fans of anime and Japanese cinema.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on October 5, 2020