Toho Horror Film HOUSE on IFC
Source: Independent Film Channel
Special Thanks to Doran Gaston
This weekend, the Independent Film Channel will air Toho’s 1977 horror movie HOUSE (Hausu). While the film did have a few scattered theatrical screenings in the United States courtesy of Toho International, HOUSE has never received any kind of wide release in America and is not available on R1 DVD.
HOUSE is a satirical take on the classic haunted house story. A teenager named Oshare (Kimiko Ikegami) struggles to deal with the recent death of her mother. Hoping to get away from her problems (and her father’s new girlfriend), Oshare invites six female classmates to join her on a visit to her aunt’s secluded mansion. Upon their arrival, the girls fall prey to the dark, supernatural power infesting the home; each experiences bizarre hallucinations before they are picked off one by one and literally devoured by the haunted house.
Packed with over-top-visuals and odd touches of comedy, HOUSE has become a cult classic in Japan and abroad. It was the feature film debut of commercial director Nobuhiko Obayashi. Born in Onomichi, Hiroshima, in 1938, Obayashi made a number of 16mm films in the 1960s, including the 1963 Belgian International Experimental Film Festival Jury Prize winner THE PERSON WHO ATE (1963) and EMOTION (Emotion: Densetsu no Gogo = Itsukamita Dracula, 1968). He also directed more than 2,000 television commercials, many of which featured foreign celebrities such as Sophia Loren, Charles Bronson, and Catherine Deneuve.
In addition to directing HOUSE, Obayashi also co-wrote the film’s screenplay and supervised the special effects (which won the award for “Best Visual Effects” at the 23rd Asian Film Festival). Obayashi has gone on to direct, write, and produce a number of commercial hits and art-house faves, including the detective thriller THE ADVENTURES OF KOSUKE KINDAICHI (Kindaichi Kosuke no Boken, 1980), the gender-bending TRANSFER STUDENT (Tenkosai, 1982), the science fiction tale THE DRIFTING CLASSROOM (Hyoryu Koshitsu, 1987), the ghost story THE DISCARNATES (Ijintachi Tono Natsu, 1988), the aspiring rock band drama THE ROCKING HORSEMEN (Seishun Dendekedekedeke, 1992), the family film SAMURAI KIDS (Mizu no Tabibito: Samurai Kids, 1996), SADA (1998), and THE MOTIVE (Riyu, 2005), a murder mystery adapted from Miyuki Miyabe’s best-selling novel. Obayashi has also directed two film trilogies based on his hometown of Onomichi.
The Independent Film Channel will show HOUSE twice late this upcoming Friday night/early Saturday morning, November 22 at 12:00 am and 3:00 am EDT. For further details see the film’s listing on the IFC website.
1977, 87 minutes, TVMA
Starring: Kimiko Ikegami, Kumiko Oba, Ai Matsubara, Miki Jinbo, Yoko Minamida, Saho Sasazawa, Haruko Wanibuchi, Eriko Tanaka, Masayo Miyako, Mitsutoshi Ishigami
Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi
Writers: Chiho Katsura, Nobuhiko Obayashi
Cinematographer: Yoshitaka Sakamoto
Music: Asei Kobayashi, Micky Yoshino
Editor: Nobuo Ogawa
Special Effects Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi
Producers: Nobuhiko Obayashi, Yarihiko Yamada