House is a fusillade on the brain cells and a smorgasbord of filmic delights, which is apt given that it’s about a house that devours schoolgirls.
Described as ‘unhinged extreme’, House (AKA Hausu) is an experimental horror film that amalgamates 1970s pop culture with mysterious phenomenology. The late auteur Nobuhiko Ōbayashi had his 11-year-old daughter help with many of the story ideas, lending to the film’s dreamy, phantasmagorical sensibilities.
House employs unrealistic special effects, stylised sets and a storyline where literally anything can happen to a group of teenyboppers vacationing at a mysterious aunt’s isolated mansion for the summer. As the bizarre narrative unfolds, outlandishly gruesome attacks on the girls occur in rapid succession – all closely observed by the pet cat.
House was Ōbayashi’s first feature film after he pioneered Japanese experimental shorts through the 1960s. Along with his background in commercials, the filmmaker’s spirit of radical invention diverged dramatically from Japanese filmmaking at the time, leading to the film's cult status.
1978 Blue Ribbon Award,
Winner, Best New Director – Nobuhiko Ōbayashi
Image © 1977 Toho Co., Ltd
See more films in the Season: JFF Classics 2020 program
A Japanese Film Festival event presented by The Japan Foundation, Sydney and the NFSA