Hausu - Quite Possibly The Most Insane Japanese Horror Movie Ever Made! House!
by: Dr. Boogie


The girls press on without Togo, confident that he will eventually meet up with them so long as he doesn't Benny Hill himself too badly. Aboard the train, Gorgeous notices her cat has beat her to their seats, and the other girls briefly comment on how odd it is that the cat is not so much following them around as showing up exactly where they're going before they get there. Even stranger: the cat doesn't need to be crated while riding the train!

In order to pass the time, Gorgeous tells her friends all about her aunt. Realistically, that should only take around ten minutes since she only met the woman once when she was six, but her story quickly turns into an audio/visual presentation.

What I initially took to be a strange way of presenting Gorgeous' flashback is evidently a series of tightly-edited home movies, complete with title cards to illustrate the dialog, of her aunt as a young woman. It's not really clear if the movie is being shown to everyone on the train, or if they're all such a tight knit group of friends that they're able to psychically intuit Gorgeous' memories, but they comment on them all the same. Even the spot where the filmstrip burns up. And look, a cat that looks a lot like Blanche! What are the odds?

Then things start to get a little weirder (weird, in the context of everything we've seen up until this point): the filmstrip shows Gorgeous' aunt's fiance being called off to fight in WWII. Not an unusual thing in and of itself, but it's accompanied by shots that the family documentarian should not have been able to get, like this one of her fiance's plane going down.

"Oh, I'm being shot down. How droll."

Years later, the war comes to a close, but her aunt's stoic fiance never returned. The film wraps up with some shots of the aunt attending her sister's wedding, followed by some shots of nuclear bombs exploding. The girls remark that the mushroom clouds look like cotton candy whatthefuckisgoingoninthismovie!?

No doubt the girls are wondering how the conversation went from, "what's your aunt like?" to, "nuclear weapons are cool!" However, there's no time for questions like that. A bus drops them off at an isolated stop, at which point they begin a trek through the wilderness not seen since the Lord the Rings trilogy. The journey is so long that the director has to show a montage of all the characters since you've no doubt forgotten them all by now.

About halfway through their inordinately long journey, they meet a merchant at an isolated watermelon stand. He does a little schtick for them, and then points them in the direction of the mansion, i.e. the lone building in the middle of the otherwise endless forest.

Hours later, the girls arrive at the mansion. I have to hand it to this group of Japanese schoolgirls: I don't like camping when I'm only a few miles from the nearest town, but not one of these seven girls has uttered a single complaint about having to take a train, then a bus, and then hike for miles into the deep woods so they could stay in a run-down mansion.

Anyway, Gorgeous' strangely docile cat is the first in the door.

Gorgeous' wheelchair-bound aunt answers the door after being summoned by the shrill tittering of the group. A red flag pops up when she greets Gorgeous by saying, "I've been waiting for you only." Gorgeous asks her aunt what happened to leave her in a wheelchair, and she remarks, "Don't worry, I have you now." Again, not the sort of thing you want to hear from a person you barely know. Neverheless, the girls gather for a photo with their creepy new friend.

Have you gathered that there's something up with that cat, yet? In case you hadn't, Blanche exerts her telekinesis to smash the camera. The girls are crestfallen at the thought of not being able to take any pictures of hovel they'll be staying in, but Mac (aka, the fat one) shows up with a watermelon she bought from the watermelon stand. Summer vacation saved!

Inside, we see that you can judge a book by its cover. The one saving grace is that the mansion has electricity. Gorgeous' aunt... you know, now that she's a part of their circle of friends, I feel like she needs a simple nickname that sums up her character. I think I'll call her "Auntie".

So Auntie flips on a chandelier and, hey, it's been a couple minutes since something really weird happened. I think we're due for another scene.

The chandelier starts dropping glass on Sweet, causing her hat to fly off. Then, both Kung Fu and Blanche jump through the air. Kung Fu deflects a piece of glass headed for Sweet while Blanche investigates a lizard that was impaled on the floor by another piece. Sweet's hat returns to its ready position, and everything is back to normal.

Before we go any further, I should point out that trying to illustrate every bizarre thing that happens in this movie is like wading into a cranberry marsh to count each individual cranberry. Just know that for every instance of a man scooting around with a bucket on his ass, there's about two dozen weird things that seem normal by comparison.

Melody quickly locates the piano and starts cranking out the tunes. Say what you will about Auntie living in a dilapidated, gray mansion filled with cobwebs and overgrowth; the woman keeps an immaculately-tuned piano. On the other side of that same room, the girls discover a remarkably fake-looking skeleton. Also, they find quite a few pictures of Blanche. Old pictures.

Anyway, the girls decide to split up the housework. Sweet volunteers for cleaning duty and asks for a broom, which made me laugh. The other girls seek out less futile tasks, like finding a place to store Mac's watermelon. The refrigerator is broken, but Auntie suggests using the well outside. As if the woman wasn't creepy enough, she grins evilly into the camera after sending Mac to the well:

Never trust a paralyzed woman living in a house full of stairs.

The girls drop the melon in the well and prepare for dinner. Auntie can't even control her creepiness at this point, telling Mac that, "you sure look tasty, being round and all." Just a reminder: the only thing the girls have found creepy so far is the fake skeleton in the piano room. How soon can we expect Auntie to start killing these girls?

Not soon enough. Dinner goes by uneventfully, apart from Blanche taking her meal directly under yet another painting of herself. Auntie doesn't join them because the sunlight frightens her. Perfectly normal. You know how old people are when it comes to celestial bodies that are visible for more than twelve hours a day.

Mac goes to retrieve the watermelon from the well, but doesn't return. Given the condition of the house (I'm sorry, the condition of the hausu), I'd say she stepped on a rusty nail and got lockjaw before she could scream for help. Whatever the reason, Fantasy is the only one who cares enough to go check on her.

There's no sign of Mac at the well, but Fantasy does have a great view of the sunset. I wonder how long it took to paint...

Fantasy's concern for her missing friend quickly erodes once she spots the watermelon at the bottom of the well. She pulls the rope tied to the watermelon all the way up, taking care not to actually look at the watermelon as it comes up. Once it's completely out, she notices something unusual about this particular watermelon:


And you thought the Japanese were clever when they created the cube-shaped watermelon!

The severed head of hungry girl Mac laughs at Fantasy before taking flight. But that's not that weird. You want weird? Let's get weird:

Mac's head makes a beeline for Fantasy's ass and takes a bite. Luckily, Fantasy has a terminal case of wallass. Taking a bite does not sit well with Mac.

Looks like Mac isn't feeling... well.

Fantasy runs all of ten feet back into the kitchen and collapses into the arms of her friends. Auntie rolls in just in time to hear Fantasy relate the story of her dead friend's flying head. Auntie, of all people, volunteers to check it out. I don't see how she's going to get her wheelchair down the three-foot ledge at the end of the kitchen without he...

"You can walk?" the girls ask. "You've given me the energy," Auntie replies. So she's not paralyzed at all; she just suffers from crippling laziness. Maybe all the girls are just so terrified of Gorgeous' insane aunt that they don't want to ask any obvious questions about her odd behavior. Or maybe they're just so keyed up about eating watermelon that they literally can think of nothing else!

I'm leaning towards the latter, as once they retrieve the real watermelon from the well, concern for their missing friend immediately vanishes. Prof rationalizes that Mac probably just went to "a potato farm down the road," to which I would respond, "what road?"

Anyway, Fantasy can't enjoy her melon wedge with Auntie giving her the ol' malocchio:

Fantasy is entranced by thoughts of how difficult it must be for Auntie to floss when Gorgeous buts in: "I'm really sweaty," she says. "Let's take a bath." Well all right! Now I feel like I'm watching a regular horror movie again. But no: in her most evil move yet, Auntie insists that they not bathe before the others. Spoilsport.

There's still plenty more Hausu madness to see!
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Reader Comments

Slacking Enthusiast
Sep 20th, 2012, 07:22 AM
I've stumbled upon written and video reviews of Hausu before, and every time I am amazed at the sheer mindfuckery going on in this movie. Here's hoping for more great pieces like this one popping up over the next weeks.

(Interesting side note: the English word for piano is "piano". Which is Italian.)
I hate this hacker crap!
Sep 20th, 2012, 10:37 AM
This may be one of my new favourite articles on I-Mockery. Ton of little digs on a very bizarre film. I've yet to see Hausu, but this has made me pretty sure I need to get some guys together and watch it.
Forum Virgin
Sep 20th, 2012, 01:42 PM
A Hell of an article from the good Dr. I love the fire graphic trailing off of Hausu title, it makes the white cat look like such a bad ass! And as for Mr. Togo...Damn tht dude can break dance!!!
Shinobi Hero
Sep 20th, 2012, 01:43 PM
I actually had the pleasure of watching this movie a few months ago when they showed it on TCM. It was an interesting and creative experience, and pretty surreal at times, but that's what drew me into it. And although a couple of the girls got on my nerves a few times, I loved it anyway.
Forum Virgin
Sep 20th, 2012, 10:09 PM
WOW This film looks bat shit insane!!!
Cranberry Everything
Sep 20th, 2012, 11:39 PM
Hey, glad to see you guys finally trying to make some sense out of this bizarre gem. Fantastic job, Dr. Boogie.
I shot Wilhelm.
Sep 21st, 2012, 03:37 AM
Yesss! I fucking love the movie. And I made sure to spread it like a virus to everyone I know.
teacup of sunshine
Sep 21st, 2012, 12:23 PM
It was one of the WTFiest of the J-cinema WTF classics.

A few years back (let's say, between the American release of The Grudge and The Grudge 2...*shudder*) there was a dvd called "Dark Tales From Japan". I don't know if it's still in stores, but I'm sure you could order it from Amazon. Anyway, nestled among diversions like "The Turbo Hag" is a sort of send-up of Hausu, only it's like the girls actually got to the Inn after all and it's the inn that's haunted. Similar annoying characters. No Roger Rabbit cats, though.

Edit: apparently there's more than one, and apparently I've seen both somehow :/
Sep 21st, 2012, 03:31 PM
Hausu: the only horror movie that can easily be mistaken for an episode of The Monkees.
Pickled Patriarch
Sep 23rd, 2012, 02:35 PM
Yup, I totally remember that episode of The Monkees where a floating severed head of Davy Jones bit some girl in the ass.

In all seriousness though, I really want everybody I know to watch this movie, because there's simply nothing even remotely like it. Pure madness.
Comic Artist in Training
Sep 24th, 2012, 11:07 AM
Lately I've begun contemplating the serious possibility of being a comic artist. Who knows? If this really as crazed as you say--I also saw a video from Mike Mattei of Cinemassacre--this may help me learn to draw total mind-freaks.
4 Eyes, No Brain.
Sep 29th, 2012, 05:27 PM
Think my brain got raped by the sheer mind-fuckery going on here
Superior Electric Sheep
Dec 14th, 2012, 04:28 PM
The movie was hilarious the only thing that would make it amazing is if it the pacing was better. The pacing is what makes a difficult watch.

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