In writing about this week’s second installment of the Reel Weird Brattle series – Nobuhiko Ôbayashi’s gonzo 1977 HAUSU – I considered a number of introductory paragraphs. I considered musing on the inscrutability of the Criterion Collection, who ushered the film to Western attention some five years ago. Perhaps I could detail Ôbayashi’s unconventional marketing strategy, which included recording and releasing the soundtrack before preproduction had even begun. Maybe a laundry list of cultural touchstones, from the color-saturated horror of Dario Argento to the slapstick cartoons of Tex Avery. As a critic, there’s no shortage of angles.
But you know what? Fuck it. This is a movie where a group of Japanese schoolgirls are attacked by a cat painting which vomits blood. Where a girl gets eaten by a piano, and then her fingers float out of the piano and continue playing the movie’s love theme. The ostensible hero of the film gets stuck in traffic for much of the running time, then stops for ramen noodles, and ultimately turns into a pile of bananas (oh, and did I mention the bear? There’s a bear at the ramen shop). Even simple expository scenes are filled with split screens and ironic musical cues. To describe HAUSU to someone is to do it a disservice, because they’ll assume you’re exaggerating. In fact, it is impossible to exaggerate HAUSU.
So instead of writing any further, I’m just going to go ahead and link to the #hausu tag on Tumblr. To those who haven’t seen it: those gifs are not doctored. Something like that happens roughly every five minutes. And even if you have seen it, you know someone who hasn’t. Take the time tonight and indoctrinate them.
HAUSU (aka HOUSE) (1977) dir. Nobuhiko Ôbayashi
Saturday, July 26, 11:30 PM
Part of the REEL WEIRD BRATTLE series
Brattle Theatre (40 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138)