Comedy Reviews Film Reviews Horror Reviews

Get Your Experimental Horror Fix With Haunted HAUSU

Ever participated in a scavenger hunt of horror films during the countdown to Halloween? If this is intriguing, Hooptober may be the challenge you’re looking for. It’s an annual event for participants to create their own watchlist of 31 films according to the organizer’s rules. The event takes place via a film-lovers app, Letterboxd. The app is a social media avenue where users can see other users’ lists, follow one another, post and like reviews, etc. This year is the eighth annual Hooptober event by user, Cinemonster. The name is inspired by his favorite Horror director, Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974), and the dates of the challenge run from September 15th through October 31st. 

Some of the 13 rules from this year’s scavenger hunt include:

  • 6 countries
  • 8 decades
  • 2 haunted house films
  • 3 Asian horror films
  • 1 Tobe Hooper film (always a rule each year)

One of the films from my list that ticks four of the above rule boxes is the Japanese horror classic Hausu (1977), or House, directed by Nobuhiko Ôbayashi. It falls into the Comedy Horror genre if not its own experimental category. Ôbayashi shows a visual masterpiece of a haunted house as Oshare (AKA Gorgeous) invites six of her girlfriends to her aunt’s house in the country during summer vacation. Her friends include Fantasy (hopeless romantic), Kung Fu (self-explanatory), Mac (the “fat” friend), Melody (musically talented), Prof (the smart one), and Sweet (your go-to girl).

A kitschy character list never seems to fail. Each girlfriend is loveable and their personalities shine, ultimately allowing the audience to care for the girls. When hijinks ensue in the house, comedic aspects seem to decrease and the film takes a turn into an ultimate thriller as they battle the hauntings. The imagery is impressive and a true spectacle. It’s hard to describe the bizarre scenes as it feels like a lucid dream.

Overall it’s worth a watch. The meaning is unclear and appears to be a simple ghost story delivered with complex visuals. If it’s girls’ night and you’re looking for a spooky film this would be a crowd-pleaser across all horror preferences. Okay, maybe not a crowd-pleaser due to the weird imagery, but definitely a conversation starter. There are scenes of nudity and the schoolgirls seem to be teenagers which is questionable. Also, the focus on the “fat” friend eating all the time makes you pause to reflect on whether or not the media has progressed in regards to the portrayal of body image and bullying. Nevertheless, it is a memorable experience and seems influential in establishing few boundaries in the horror universe.

Hausu is available on HBO Max


This article was written by a guest contributor

Catherine Ann

Catherine became a member of the Chicago-based Music Box Theatre, which opened up her world to unexpected interests in horror and obscure classics, particularly ones with practical effects. She attended the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival and was fully captivated by the film community.
Follow her on Instagram | Letterboxd

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