House (1977) Review

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The term “cult film” is thrown around a lot. Mainly used to describe a movie that is so bizarre, crazy or just plain absurd that to put it in any other category just wouldn’t suit it. If we’re going by those standards, then yes House would be considered a cult film. But calling it one doesn’t really do this movie justice. It’s in a category all its own.

I tried long and hard to come up with just the right description of this movie. I guess I could say that House is like if Suspiria and Evil Dead had a baby, and then that baby took a hit of acid after falling down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. Close. Except that it’s far, far stranger than that.

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The story starts out simple enough. Gorgeous, a pretty Japanese school girl, resents her Father’s new bride, so she contacts an Aunt she has never met and she, along with her schoolgirl chums, go to visit her house for the summer. All of the girls are named after their respective character traits: Gorgeous is gorgeous, Fantasy daydreams, Professor is the smart one, Sweet is well…sweet, Melody plays music, Kung Fu is a martial arts master, and finally there’s Mac, who eats a lot.

At first all seems idyllic in the large country home, but as the girls start vanishing one by one, the Aunt seems to appear younger and younger. Were the girls brought here for something other than a nice vacation?

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If you like your stories to be linear and the plot to make sense, you should avoid this movie at all cost. However, if you’re looking for something you’ve never seen before and more than likely will never see again, then by all means enjoy. House is a wonderful feast for the senses with brightly colored images and some of the most surrealistic scenes you will ever see on celluloid. Just when you think things couldn’t get any crazier they do. So much so that you may be tempted to ask what drugs the director was on, and how you may be able to procure some. Actually most of the ideas came from director Nobuhiko Obayash’s 10-year old daughter, which lends a bit of a fractured fairy tale element to the whole film. Because as we all know, nothing can be more colorful, or more dangerous, than a child’s imagination.

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Although it’s from 1977, there’s not much to date this movie. The clothing is timeless, the film images are crisp and clean, the sound is clear and the beautiful matte paintings are more interesting and vivid than any CGI. Apart from some crude animation, this movie could have been made in any era. The theme music is quite pretty too, although a tad bit over-used.

To discuss any specific scenes would be giving away too much. House is something that must be experienced rather than discussed. Whether you end up loving it or hating it, guaranteed you will never, ever forget it.

Rating: 8 out of 10

About the Author

Cheryl thinks this House seems like a nice place to visit but isn’t sure she wants to live there. Hit her up on Twitter at @FeralCherylZ

9 thoughts on “House (1977) Review

  1. Looks great… just my cup of (acid-laced) tea! 🙂

    And after a quick search I’ve discovered that not only is the film available on DVD here in the UK, but the disc comes with a bunch of interviews and essays too! Well worth a punt…

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