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Local Event: ‘Hausu’

Mind-Blowing Japanese Film Screens at UCSD’s Price Center

The 1977 Japanese film

Credit: Janus Films

Above: The 1977 Japanese film "Hausu."

I'm not sure I can describe 'Hausu' (screening October 13 at 8pm at UCSD's Price Center) because it's a surreal visual acid trip and words seem too mundane to even begin to convey the experience.

I only discovered "Hausu/House" about a year ago, even though it was made in 1977. How could I have missed this? The first thing I saw of the film was a clip of a piano devouring a young girl. The clip was so original and fresh that it made me smile with glee. Sure the effects are tacky but there's a do-it-yourself inventiveness and energy that's totally engaging. Here's the clip that won me over and I hope it does the same for you.

Hausu-Piano Death

Web movie: Hausu-piano death

The story involves a teenage girl named Oshare who along with some girlfriends goes off to the secluded country house of a relative. The house is dark and creepy. It casts an odd spell on the girls and prompts bizarre hallucinations. The house then attacks the girls. Beside a piano that eats virgins, there's also a killer lampshade, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Sure the effects are cheesy and extremely low budget but there is such clever innovation in how the medium is used and such sheer delight in the potential of the film has that I couldn't help but fall in love with this film. I haven't seen something this wacky or fresh in years.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Janus Films


Director Nobuhiko Obayashi, now in his seventies, was still making movies as recently as 2008. "Hausu" was early in his career, his third film as director. It reveals a newcomer's unwillingness to play by any rules. Whatever Obayashi could think of, he just did regardless of whether or not it made sense or was acceptable or even feasible.

I feel that words have failed me here. But I hope you will be inspired nonetheless to sample this amazing, delightfully mind-blowing film and I commend Rebecca Webb and ArtPower for bringing it to San Diego on the big screen.

Companion viewing: "The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T," "Goke: Body Snatcher from Hell," "Princess Raccoon"

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