Hello there mortals! As per our pact, during this month where humanity is closer to the realm of the spirits and monsters than any other month this year.. I have swore to provide you with the strangest Horror movies I could find. The dictionary defines strange as Surprising, Difficult To Understand or Explain. Something not Previously visited, seen or encountered, something unfamiliar or alien. All these ring through when I watched.. what might be the weirdest movie I ever watch! Join me today as I review 1977’s: House!
House is a 1977 movie of Japanese origins and was directed by Nobuhiko Ôbayashi! With the story written by Chigumi Ôbayashi and adapted into a screenplay by Chiho Katsura. It stars Kimiko Ikegami, Miki Jinbo, Kumiko Obha and Ai Matsubara. It is labeled a horror comedy and has a runtime of 88 minutes. It’s IMDB score is a very nice 7,4 and on Rotten Tomatoes it even has a 90% critic approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an 80% audience appreciation. So it seems like we are dealing with a good movie here for once! Do I agree?! I don’t really know to be honest! This movie is really out there! A part of that probably has to do with the fact that it is written by a 13 year old! That is right Chigumi the writer is a 13 year old girl and while she had help from a sort of professional screenwriter, the entire acting cast of the movie, which also includes Chigumi in a minor role, had no experience acting. Only the “old lady” has some real prior acting experience. Funnily the old lady is not played by an old lady! Do I notice?! I don’t know.. characters in this movie are weird I can’t exactly tell if acting slips up! I can tell they act abnormal but in everything this movie leaves me puzzled.
The plot revolves around a girl the sub calls Gorgeous or Oshare in Japanese..but she and her friends don’t really have a real name; they all get nicknames. There is Fanta, the best friend of Gorgeous, who tends to be the girl who cried wolf. She sees stuff and fantasises a lot. The subtitle names her Fantasy. Then there is Kung-Fu.. the girl whose life attitude is.. if at first you don’t succeed.. Kick it! Then there is Prof.. the smart one she is called Gari in Japanese. Melody is the musical one of the group and Sweet is the always helpful one. Finally there is Mac.. who is the fat one. And yes she is actively called the Fat one of the group .. her friends call her fat all the time! Different times 1977! These friends go on a vacation together to visit Gorgeous aunt. Reason for this is a training camp. Gorgeous would have gone with her father on a vacation but he has a new gorgeous girlfriend and she found it disrespectful to her mother who has been dead for 8 years. So instead she goes to her mother’s sister and provides her friends a training camp..after the original location became unavailable.. however it turns out that this house might hold more than the girls have bargained for. This time we do not face a tire or a condom.. this time our villain is a house…..kind off.
Difficult to Understand or Explain
There is no way for me to describe the weirdness that is this movie without going into detail about the plot so be warned, for spoilers! That being said, this movie is so weird that I don’t know what actually happened! I can only describe what I see and if that is real or some sort of allegory. This movie is so nonsensical and filled with weird events that I doubt my spoilers are even called spoilers. Still you have been warned! This movie is weird in every single sense of the word. Straight from the beginning we see weird things like a painted set.. standing in front of that actual scenery. For example when we see the girls arrive in the country we see a painted set of a mountain in the back.. however when the shot pans out we see that set standing in front of the actual sight.. in a blink and you missed it moment! Yet straight away it is clear this movie is not your average movie. The new step mother of Gorgeous is filmed in an angelic light, her clothes are always billowing in the wind.. even indoors. When the name Gorgeous is said we hear some sort of echo. There are parts of the movie that are shot in limited frames per second, we drop in and out of colour filters and visuals are often extremely confusing. In a way it at times feels like Jojo’s Bizarre adventures with it’s shifting colours text posing and with certain characters having their own musical themes. If two characters shine at the same time their musical themes ALSO both play. It oftenly reminded me of the PlayStation game LSD Dream Emulator and it has the same appeal that game has.
The movie is hyper stylised but doesn’t really follow a three act structure, it kind of does.. but the whole “We are in trouble now let’s fight off evil” discovery doesn’t really come until the very last minutes of the movie. So we get a very strange flow. The movie does begin with two high school girls being the best friends in the world. Fanta and Oshare are seen walking out of school together. When they are shot from afar and in the distance rather than zooming into them the movie instead blacks out everything else on the screen. They talk about a teacher getting married.. which shows us these girls know the gossip around town! We also discover Fanta has a crush on her coach.. I do not know what he coaches.. but we never see them train for anything either.. nor pack any form of sports outfit so it doesn’t really matter. The coach tells the girls training camp will be cancelled because his sister is rebuilding her inn so this summer it is not available. Gorgeous wouldn’t even go anyway because she has a vacation planned with her dad as mentioned before. But the billowing stepmother shows up and it pisses off Gorgeous so she finds a location for the training camp instead so she doesn’t have to be with the new happy couple.
She writes her aunt that she hasn’t seen in 8 years for this and that woman agrees and sends a postcard and her cat! That is right! The cat her auntie has is sent along with the mail for some reason and it seems to have delivered the mail as it barely got stuck in the mailbox! Now Gorgeous has to bring the cat back so she HAS to go to her auntie! Not wondering how a cat she knew as mature already is still perfectly the same cat as it was 8 years ago. Oshare is from money and their house is super shiny, she wears pretty white dresses and constantly fixes her make-up, which causes her to almost be late for the train to her aunt’s house which will function as the new location for their training camp. Well that and she lost the cat.. the cat however boarded the train by itself and found a seat it is on and everyone thinks that is super cute. Disaster strikes when their coach has an accident at the shoe store. He falls off some stairs and gets his butt stuck in a bucket! He has to get that out before he can travel! So he decides he will join them by car later. As the train sets off Oshare begins to tell the story of her aunt. This is shown as an old silent Black and White movie.. that the girls react to as if they can see it. They are on a train.. but somehow they can see the black and white silent movie the director plays to us. Once they are done with this.. we see a cartoon train zip through the lands.. and we end up in the countryside.
Auntie.. who also doesn’t have another name except for that lives up a hill. She has one helper it seems as he calls her Mistress or Master and of course an old Wheelchair bound lady has no use for help in the house.. so instead this help/minion is a melon farmer and seller. Mac , the fat girl really wants to buy a big melon because she is hungry. She was also hungry on the train and she wants to head to the house quickly so she can eat! The girls travel to the house where the gates open magically and an not so old lady..with a very fake white wig is sitting in a wheelchair. The cat is returned to her and she tells the girls she is happy to see them. A sentimental music theme plays as well as the movie’s theme song…which almost always is playing. It has a very simple quality. A bit Zelda’s Lullaby esque or something youn find in one of those “my first piano book” things. It plays constantly! During scary moments, during heartfelt moments and during frolicking moments. And frolicking is something these girls like to do a lot. The old lady invites them in and for some reason everyone claps for her as she flicks a light switch!
Sweet is almost killed by a chandelier but Kungfu kicks a lizard into the spikey piece of glass instead so Sweet is saved and the cat begins to eat the lizard..which the girls think is cute. Then everyone goes do their own thing and get settled in. Sweet offers Auntie that she will clean, while Mac wants to chill her mellon, for which she has to use a well. Melody goes to the piano room and Gorgeous hangs out a bit with her aunt. Prof , Kungfu and Fanta think about starting to make dinner. Auntie seems to go sick from being in the sunlight to much so the girls have dinner on their own! Having a lot of fun and calling Mac fat again. Being called fat makes Mac hungry so she goes to find her Mellon.. but she doesn’t return. Fanta goes to find her so they can have the melon as desert and when she goes to the well she is mesmerised by the sunlight! She is so mesmerised that when she is fishing up the Melon she doesn’t notice the Melon has been replaced by Mac’s head! The head flies and bites her in the butt then vomits a bit.. and Fanta flees. Prof and Kungfu go check it out but they only find a Melon so they decide Fanta had another daydream and they fish out the Melon.
Auntie joins them to come eat the Melon but Fanta feels uneasy and rightfully so it seems as auntie shows her the melon she is eating has eyeballs in them.. just to Fanta though! Who still believes she is stressed and making this up! The group saves a big part of the melon for when Mac returns and abandons the search for her to go do other things. Gorgeous goes to take a bath, Sweet starts cleaning and Melody plays some more piano… the other three don’t have traits that allow actions so they just show up when something goes wrong.. Which quickly it does. Sweet while cleaning encounters the cat named Shiro.. or Blanche in the subtitle and when her eyes glow green Sweet is attacked and seemingly killed by mattresses and blankets. Fanta of course notices this.. as Sweet calls for help. Melody however is also crying for help so Prof and Kungfu go to her instead.. only to find out Melody broke a nail!
When Fanta tells her she just saw Sweet get killed by feather filled objects no one believes her. When they search they search the store room together, they do find all of Sweet her clothes laying around a naked doll that has the same ribbon in the hair as she did! So they draw the conclusion that Sweet must have gone to take a bath several doors ahead in the house.
Melody cries out for help again… so Fanta goes to investigate.. it turns out Melody needed toilet paper. This quest allows no one to notice that Gorgeous has gone upstairs to do her makeup after a bath! Shiro the cat shows up and uses his magic on the mirror that Gorgeous is using.. this results in her seeing her aunt taking over her body.. but she thinks that is just a figment of her imagination. So she continues to do her makeup! Even when the cat casts a second batch of magic and the mirror begins to shatter she doesn’t seem to react. As she stares into the shattered mirror suddenly her skin comes off in shards.. only leaving a red glowing presence… which apparently kills her.. We are reminded the coach is on his way by a very weird jumpcut that shows him stuck in traffic. Since traffic is so busy he decides to go eat noodles instead. Fanta goes to search for Gorgeous and she discovers her in full bridal makeup in her aunties room. She acts very strange and when Fanta tells her she isn’t feeling safe here, Gorgeous says she will call for help. She uses the phone and then says it is out of order. No one questions this and to calm Fanta down they decide to let Melody play the piano again to calm her down. Gorgeous goes outside and juggles with some orbs of light which apparently takes her so long that Kungfu and Prof go to find her. Prof now suspects something is wrong but doesn’t want to share it because it would scare Fanta too much! So Fanta is left with Melody alone!
This of course leads to Melody being killed. The piano glows in all sorts of colours of the rainbow and Melody notices she can not stop playing anymore. With a wild and trippy shock effect we notice some of her fingers have gone missing. She giggles a bit when she sees this and tries to play the piano again and this causes the piano to eat her. She gets sucked in and ensnared by the wires while the little hatch in front of the keys chops bits off her. Her arm is flung inside a fishbowl and as Fanta tries to process what she sees she grabs the arm.. and faints by the sight..pulling the fishbowl with her to the floor. Prof and Kungfu could not find Gorgeous so they try to punch a door open before returning to Fanta and Melody now missing. They worry about the fish in Fanta’s dress more than their missing friend..but now do conclude something is wrong. This time Kungfu decides to phone for help.. not trusting Gorgeous realising that she too has become a “ghost” But Kungfu is attacked by the telephone and defeats it in a fight. This however leads her to be kicked into the garden by Gorgeous where they have an anime fight!
Kungfu ends up being kicked back into the piano room, where through a journal they found earlier Prof realises the way to fight off this evil is to beat up the painting of the cat. As Kungfu wants to kick it she is eaten by a lamp! All hope seems lost as we see trippy visuals of all the dead girls and their body parts floating around an abstract background.. we also get Visuals of Sweet’s body.. being in a clock being grinded into just blood by the gears..so she might not have been a naked doll killed by mattresses after all? Luckily the girls once again can see these animations meant for the crowd and they react to it. This causes Kungfu to return from the afterlife…. well partially.. just her legs return.. she kicks the cat painting and with lighting the painting vanishes along with Kungu! The evil seems vanquished.
We cut back to the coach who has arrived at the plot of land and the Melon guy tells him the girls are dead! Showing his true colors as an evil minion of the woman! He wants to prevent the coach from going up the hill and he does this by……. trying to sell him Melons. Coach Togo says he doesn’t want to buy a melon! This upsets the farmer guy and he asks what fruit the coach likes! The coach says he only likes bananas. The farmer is so shocked by this that he is defeated and her turns into a pile of skulls and bones… however.. for defeating this evil coach Togo has to pay the ultimate price… he says bananas are everywhere.. and he turns into a pile of bananas.
Back inside the cat painting is now back on the wall having recovered because something in the diary was misinterpreted and the cat painting begins to vomit. The room begins to fill with blood like cat vomit and Prof and Fanta now on a raft try to paddle away from it , trying to get to safety. Prof however falls in the cat vomit/blood because she lost her glasses and can no longer see. This makes her clothes disappear and she suddenly begins to smile widely as she happily lets herself drown in the red liquid.Fanta paddles into another room and encounters Gorgeous who helps her off her raft. Tired Fanta cuddles up to her best friend and says she wants to rest. Just giving up and allowing herself to be eaten.. or well that is the term used for those who died. They all got “eaten”.
The movie ends up with the billowing step mother showing up to befriend her new daughter in a tranquil environment. We get an explanation for what has been going on that I am not going to spoil .. you can discover what this was about by yourself.. but of course it does not make that much sense either. That plot has no resolution as everyone dies. Gorgeous tells her billowing stepmother that her friends will be awake soon and that they will be hungry..hinting that her friends are ghosts now as well and that the billowing stepmother will be fed to them.. but no! Gorgeous eyes glow like the cat and the head of her fathers new girlfriend catches fire and sort of melts off. Which cuts off to a character/credit roll featuring the girls frolicking in the mountains.
Something not Previously visited
I haven’t even come close to capture all the weirdness. There is an odd dancing scene where Auntie zooms around like a witch on the ceiling! Auntie stops existing at one point as she becomes more interwoven with the house and so does the cat. It goes so weird that one point Gorgeous as a ghost can manifest as a mouth or eyes inside the house just showing random body parts. There is a dancing skeleton as well and so much more! There is so much random stuff happening all the time that it feels as if we are watching a story that is free from the restraints of sanity itself. Dialogue flows odd, people can break the fourth wall but sometimes can also not. There is a scene where Kungu is attacked by random burning objects that she just kicks away and then wonders… well that was weird.. Anyway I wonder where the rest of the group is. Nothing follows common logic, it is a combination of bizarre scenes mixed with a very thing overarching narrative.
By going through the plot in the way I did I will admit I omitted the one link with the sane world it still has to make it even seem more odd.. but to be honest..even knowing of what this ghost actually is relates in any way to what is happening. In a way it’s a story about eternal despair and the girls are just nourishment for the suffering of the entity to go on longer. While Auntie sort of is the ghost.. the cat is also a part of the ghost..but it can travel and he is also established as a Witch’s cat implying auntie is also a witch.. but she is not. Also what we see as auntie might not be auntie it might actually be the entire house.. but it is all very unclear. Even when all the answers are given to you! Yet strangely that is this movie’s strength.
This movie is like a fever dream, they are impossible to explain to people yet we can not help but be entertained by our own strange dreams. Rhyme and reason are cast aside for entertainment and it does result in both hilarious as well as kind of spooky scenarios. The comedy in this movie is genuinely funny, the silliness, the bizarre choices to play several soundtracks trough each other, the pink filter that comes across the screen. The fact that the old lady isn’t even an old lady it all is super light! The guy turning into bananas had me in stiches! He did NOTHING in that movie but it was amazing. Yet at the same time I can still see the horror part of it! We aged out of that but for the time that movie had some very spooky visuals and without knowing what is going to happen.. not even having a clue, there a lot to like. There is no real movie like this in all it’s strangeness.
So how do we rate this?! I do not know! I really liked the movie but there is also SO much wrong with it. The characters are more 2 dimensional than most of our Waifus. There is no real plot and dialogue can seem more random than your random Lucky Star episode. The movie is written by a thirteen year old girl and by Arceus it shows! This movie in a way feels like one of those meme things where a comic book artist or a painter or whatever draws their children’s drawings as proper cartoon characters but leaves the nonsensical in it. Is it a good drawing?! Sure?! Is it a good creature?! Uhm.. tricky! I loved watching this.. but do I love it as a movie? Do I love the experience?! Once more I compare it to having a dream! There are very weird dreams and I love telling people about them and that my brain can work in that way, do I love the actual dream?! I am not sure.
There truly is nothing to compare this movie to, the acting is very uniquely directed, the sound design that is a mix of weird 70’s music with classic tunes and character music playing trough one another is also not something I have really experienced and as for the story… <Mind Explosion>. Giving this movie a grade feels about as right as grading a super market customer or a shopping cart as a grocery store product after it fell into a fridge or was accidentally labeled with a price. Sure it is there in the same realm and you MIGHT be able to enjoy the customer like you enjoy your chicken fillet..but would you?! I would be super entertained by seeing a kid fall into one of the fridges at my super market but after facebook ask me to leave a review I will never say 10/10 kid fell in the fridge! Worth a watch.. but extreme weirdness warning!