04 March 2010

ハウス (Hausu / House) *

Yeah, man, I don't even know what to say about this. I knew very little going in -- 1977 Japanese cult horror film, described as "like Evil Dead on acid." But well before we get to the part that might remind someone of Evil Dead it felt like Japanese television, like Happiness of the Katakuris, like Twin Peaks, like a weird episode of The Muppets, and ultimately a lot like The Room. Most notable was its Japanese TV influence/style, and I spent the first 30 minutes or so trying to tell if we were laughing at a cultural gap or if the filmmakers were in on the joke. I'm leaning strongly toward the latter, but it's entirely possible I'm wrong.

I think the only easy comparison is The Room, although that has a distinctly made-by-aliens feel whereas this has more of a made-by-weirdos feel. That is to say, I firmly believe The Room doesn't know how unusual it is, but whether or not they're laughing with us Hausu knows it's something different from the rest. It's bizarre editing, pace, and script do not belie someone thinking they are perfectly normal. (An easy example, the seven girls are Gorgeous the pretty one, Fantasy the dreamer, Melody the musician, Prof the logical nerd, Mac the "fat" one, Sweet the sweet one, and Kung Fu the asskickingest one who doesn't even need a skirt she's so bad-ass.) I don't know when I'll ever see it again, but I think like Twin Peaks, like The Room, like Katakuris, until I can it's hard to form a final opinion. The film is its own language, and I don't speak it well enough on one viewing to go very deep, or even to tell you how deep it goes. Definitely interesting. Certainly unpredictable. Never boring.

Seen at Cinema 21.

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