Nippon Nights: HAUSU (35mm)

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August 16 only

How to describe Nobuhiko Obayashi’s indescribable 1977 movie House (Hausu)? As a psychedelic ghost tale? A stream-of-consciousness bedtime story? An episode of Scooby-Doo as directed by Mario Bava? Any of the above will do for this hallucinatory head trip about a schoolgirl who travels with six classmates to her ailing aunt’s creaky country home and comes face-to-face with evil spirits, a demonic house cat, a bloodthirsty piano, and other ghoulish visions, all realized by Obayashi via mattes, animation, and collage effects. Equally absurd and nightmarish, House might have been beamed to Earth from some other planet.

In an effort to avoid spending time with her father and his creepy new lover, young Gorgeous (Kimiko Ikegami) resolves to visit her aunt’s remote mansion. With six of her closest friends in tow, including the musically inclined Melody (Eriko Tanaka) and the geeky Prof (Ai Matsubara), Gorgeous arrives at the estate, where supernatural events occur almost immediately. A severed head takes flight, household appliances come to life and a portrait of a cat seems to contain an evil spirit.

Directed by Nobuhiko Ôbayashi. 1977. Japan. 88 min. 35mm

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