Thursday, October 28, 2010

HOUSE (Japan, 1977)

"House" is a 70's horror movie from Japan. I say horror, but that hardly means anything with this film. It is about seven teenage girls vacationing at the home of an aunt. The aunt is a ghost, of course, looking for some redemption.

Here'e the thing - the seven girls remind me of something like the Goonies, but not really - there is not a great analogy to any American film I can think of. Each one goes by a nickname: Gorgeous, Fantasy, Sweet, Kung Fu, Prof, Mac and Melody.

The House comes to life in very strange ways as it picks them off, one by one (sort of a slasher flick M.O., but the slasher is any number of household items). There is also some odd Japanese humor - not all of it translates well, which is part of the charm here, maybe.

I believe it is basically about girls growing up, relating to each other and their mothers - somehow. There is a scene in the middle in which Melody plays a haunting - ah, melody - on a haunted piano, while Gorgeous comes to terms with mirror images of herself, her late mother and her ghostly aunt. It is fascinating, and works as ghostly cinema. At least it did for me. You might just groan and shut the DVD player off.

It is one of the strangest films I've ever seen. It left me shaking my head, but smiling. It was just released in the Criterion Collection, and is available on Netflix.

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