20100115

HAUSU.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
One of my favorite movies ever is starting it's traveling engagement across America today in NY at the IFC Film Center. If you are in NY : GO. I promise it is unlike any movie you may see or have seen. It's got an uncanny detachment that sinks you directly into it's rhythm, almost immediately. Look here at the Janus site, it has all kinds of informational info and there is a link for playdates so you can plan accordingly in your non-NY city.
Below is a small thing I wrote about the film 2 and half years ago. It's a little awkward as most of my write-before-think work can be, but whatever.
HAUSU - An Appreciation (June/7/07)
The idea of a creaky old Victorian, ripe with the ectoplasmic spurts of hateful ghouls pulsing around it's wood grain and gables is a theme that stretches my mind into an excited lather........and with that being said, in theory, the haunted house movie should be my favorite slice of the horror genre. But, I am very rarely excited about the films that the genre has in it's full wardrobe. Sure there are the cold standards like POLTERGEIST or THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (and more "obscure" gems like HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY or in a fantastic stretch of the idea : CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING), but those are hardly the ones I want to cite when I am foaming about the joys of a spectrely swimming home caught on film. So, to me, THE greatest haunted house film is Nobuhiko Obayashi's 1977 opus of color coded females, people chomping pianos & cat paintings vomiting blood : HAUSU (or HOUSE..........not to be confused with the 80's Miner/Katt film...blah).
I first heard about HAUSU in Tom Weisser's (reportedly)(terribly researched?) Japanese Cinema: The Essential Handbook in the mid 90's. At that point in my youngish life, I was going goofy for any transgressively slanted, odd or outer spaced take on the "horror" film I could find. I found that Europe had it in fingers and toes, but Japan's rich cinematic history seemed to have it in 360 points of articulation, and HAUSU sounded like my CITIZEN KANE. And then it became our MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS due to an ominous availability on the grey market, mixed with it not having English subtitles on any dupey copy I tried to find. A few years ago, I ran into one of those infamous 8th generation tapes of HAUSU for rent at MONDO KIM's, and the excitement swelled heavily in the jeans of my mind.
And like waiting for marriage : finally having it, watching it and rewatching it, melted my mind in every possible way I had imagined it would ten years earlier. It excited me even more, because it was the film I had always been wishing to see : one that deftly mixed plutonian horror, stagey spectacle & rainbow lit meltdowns in the same way I had/have been trying to tackle those fluorescent themes with Steak Mtn. It was amazing. I must have re-rented a billion times before I found a fan-subbed bootleg of the Toho DVD (and now, it is playing the country and probably getting a DVD release very soon.)
Below is a clip someone put on Youtube. If my verbal buttering wasn't good enough, then feast your eyes on this totally bananas trailer for the film.

LOOK AT THIS STILL!!!!!