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Better Late than Never: Hausu (1977)


The Guys from {FILM} is a discussion on movies and films from all eras and genres

Better Late than Never: Hausu (1977)

Shaun Cordingley

Longtime listeners to the {PODCAST} will invariably recognize the title Hausu as a film that I talk about a fair amount, especially when it comes to horror films (and weird...surreal movies). This was one of those surprise films that I just randomly thought "hey, that sounds like it could be alright" and PVR'd off of Turner Classic Movies. Well it was more than alright, and to me, makes a tonne of sense to me to be our first ever 'Better Late than Never movie.

Essentially our goal with the BLtN series is to recommend and/or introduce our audience to older, or more obscure, cult films that they may have missed. There is a term in gaming called 'Cult of the New' which I think applies very well to the modern film audience; with so many films coming out, it seems that there is a hesitancy to go back and watch classics (beyond the standout few that everyone knows *cough* Wizard of Oz *cough*). This is a crazy concept to me, as I cannot understand why people are willing to watch the latest 3 hour Michael Bay explosion porn that no one seems to actually like, yet not watch a piano eat a Japanese girl...

Look, I had to segue back to Hausu somehow, no one said it had to be pretty.

Originally, Toho studios approached Producer/Director Nobuhiko Obayashi with the idea of producing a movie like Jaws, so Obayashi began developing what would eventually become Hausu. Which when you think about it, makes total sense if you replace the shark with a house, an aunt, and a cat, and replace the sheriff one...and put a bunch of school girls on holiday in it.

Yep, They all seem nice and completely normal after that cartoon that happened...

Yep, They all seem nice and completely normal after that cartoon that happened...

Right, so briefly, Hausu is about a girl nicknamed Gorgeous (Kimiko Ikegami) who, angered by her father remarrying, decides to forgo going to Italy for summer, and decides to go visit her aunt at her house in the country, with six of her school friends. School friends named Kung Fu, Fantasy, Prof, Mac, Melody and Sweet. The seven girls arrive at Gorgeous' aunt's house with a present (a watermelon, obviously) and set about on a tour. Everything seems fine until Melody heads out to go and retrieve the watermelon (being kept cool in the well in the courtyard) and she does not return...Soon the girls are beset by a variety of strange, supernatural traps as the house looks to devour them all.

At no point do I want to spoil anything for you in this film, because it is one that really must be seen to be believed, and to I hope you can be as surprised by it as I was, as Hausu is one of the strangest, funniest, weirdest movies ever made. However, there are a few things to know going in:

1) Stick with it--the first 20 minutes or so are not the easiest, but you have to basically accept it and get to the house. The first time I watched it I almost stopped after the sequence on the bus, but I stuck with it, and was then confused and delighted for the next hour. 

2) Right frame of mind/right group of people--do not watch Hausu with someone who is not into horror movies, gore or surrealism. Surrealist fantasy is very easy for an overtly cynical viewer to complain it into oblivion. If you have to, watch it alone, or plan a film buff movie night. Then, if like me, you grow ridiculously fond of this insane gem, you can be the person in your friend group to introduce it to others.

3) Be ready and accepting of anything--if the trailer below, or the idea of a weird hybridized cartoon/live action piano eating a girl is not your thing, do not bother.  But if you are a fan of horror movies, Japanese films, surrealism, fantasy, or even something like Army of Darkness, then watch Hausu the next opportunity you get.

I promised a trailer, here you go:

Honestly, Hausu is not for everyone, however if you are looking for an absolutely crazy, gory fun time for a Halloween movie night this week, track down Hausu if you can: it is one of my top 15 horror films of all time, and worth a shot for any true fan of the genre.

-S (@Shauncord)