Monday, January 25, 2010

"Leone says my music is better than Morricone's!"

Janus Films has acquired Nobuhiko Obayashi's 1977 cult horror/supernatural/teenage girl coming-of-age tale Hausu and it's playing theatrical engagements before the inevitable Criterion DVD. However, if at all possible, I urge you to see this one in a theater with an audience. One of the raves for this film says something to the effect of impressing even those most jaded filmgoers who think they have seen it all. By no means do I think I have seen it all, but I have seen a lot and this movie is like nothing else I've ever seen--I do admit to being a neophyte when it comes to Japanese genre and horror films of the '70s. It's best to go in with little to no knowledge of what's to come so I won't spoil things here, but on a technical level I was really impressed with all of the pre-CGI optical effects used throughout the film and some of the most gorgeous painted studio backgrounds outside of Technicolor Hollywood musicals. It goes without saying that a ride like this one is best enjoyed in the company of other appreciative filmgoers so do try to see this one in 35mm if you can.

FYI, if you're in the Chicago area, you're in luck because my friend Mimi who programs the calendar at the Block Museum of Art has included Hausu in her super cool "The Teen Screen" retrospective. This includes some great new titles like Fish Tank and some extremely rare films such as Seventeen. And, I must credit Mimi with alerting me to Hausu in the first place.


Joseph B. said...

I've been tempted to purchase a rare VHS or DVD copy I stumbled across this week after hearing a few blogs write about this weird movie around Halloween last year. Glad to hear it may be getting a proper release.

Just discovered your blog by the way... great reading.

Ned Merrill said...

Joseph B.,

Thanks for visiting. Really appreciate your compliments. Definitely seek out HOUSE on the big screen. You need to see this with a crowd and with the best possible visuals. A bootleg VHS or DVD just won't cut it. There will be a Criterion eventually, but the film is traveling so there is a chance it will show up at a venue near you. I understand that Janus struck another print to meet the demand after continual sell-outs at the IFC Center in NY.