Friday, October 29, 2010

HAUSU (1977)

More madness from the Orient, but although VAMPIRE GIRL was wacky and off-the-wall, it at least stuck stubbornly to one genre. HAUSU is essentially not that different from MAS NEGRO QUE LA NOCHE: a bunch of girls trip away to a haunted house and encounter all sorts of crazy goings-on. But, despite the plot similarities, HAUSU and MAS NEGRO couldn't be more different in ambition, tone, and execution. MAS was mas dull and professional; HAUSU is like someone recorded the dreams of insane people through coaxial cables in the lower brain. It jumps from horror to comedy to animation to martial arts and every single frame bubbles with garish weirdness.
So, these girls all have names which reference character traits, like in Pilgrim's Progress. Kung Fu is a martial artist, Mac derives from "Stomach" b/c she eats a lot, Melody is musically-inclined, etc. Oshare ("gorgeous") is sort of the lever that puts the plot into motion, since it's her aunt's house that they visit. Said aunt is (initially) wheelchair-bound, a spinster still pining over a love lost in WWII. There's also a beautiful fluffy white cat named Snowflake who ends up being central to the story. But what else happens?
A flying head bites a girl in the ass. A piano eats someone. A melon vendor is so offended by someone enjoying bananas that he turns into a skeleton. A girl is attacked by sheets and mattresses. A bear in clothes helps to make noodles at a restaurant. Lamps bite people.
And all of this is conveyed through rapid-fire editing, brassy colors, and wonky shifts in mood and tempo. This is probably the most crazed film ever. Yeah, you could pull a Lynch and throw a bunch of psycho BS together into a crazy quilt of incoherence, but (as far as maintaining a comprehensible storyline) you're not going to get much more outlandish than this. Highest recommendations.
#28 of 31.

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