Rewatch on a restored 40th-anniversary DCP. To be admired for its narrative construction (based almost entirely on Obayashi's then ten-year-old daughter's ideas of what scared her) and as a technical tour-de-force. Obayashi has always been highly experimental regarding film assembly and here he is almost in a contest with himself to see how much mixed media he can put into one film. There is a lot to appreciate.
Obayashi’s eye-poppingly demented, jaw-droppingly inventive House is 1970s Japanese pop culture at its most delightfully unhinged extreme - a perfect warm up for Halloween. Or, in other words, le cinéma du WTF?!
2 1/3 or 3/5 stars. House is the closest thing to a live-action anime movie I can imagine. Some of what goes on in House is flat-out brilliant (namely when Gorgeous recounts her aunt's history & would-be marriage) but is then followed by overstimulating ridiculousness. The Mario Bava directing Scooby-Doo description isn't far off, but a live-action adaptation of a Sailor Moon episode on PCP feels more accurate.
At its heart this is liberation, a filmmaker free from all constraint, but paradoxically putting every scene and every movement under specific terms (one camera movement for this shot, another coloring for the next). Rad.
Singularly bizarre Japanese horror film about 6 schoolgirls, with names like Fantasy and Gorgeous, who travel to an aunt's secluded mansion where they are bombarded by evil spirits. Visually inventive, this delirious fever dream of a film plays out with a surreal adherence to dream logic, combining nonsensical imagery and idiosyncratic music. It's like the strangest nightmare you've ever had.
I gave it one star because after all it did help me go to sleep in a timely manner. That said....Criterion unfortunately gave it a royal DVD packaging treatment fit for Andrei Rublev or Battleship Potemkin when it could have spent that time and money on films vastly superior such as The Three Colours Trilogy or... you know...absolutely anything else.