When Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Hausu (English title: House) opened in Japan in 1977, it proved to be a surprise hit with audiences but not Japanese film critics and it didn’t attract any attention in the U.S. until it was rediscovered in 2009 as possibly the weirdest WFT cult movie since El Topo (1970), Eraserhead (1977) or Repo Man (1984). Originally intended for teenagers, particularly girls, House pits a bunch of young female schoolgirls against a demonic entity and the result is a frenzy of nightmarish images including flying decapitated heads, a cannibalistic piano, a satanic cat, and laughing watermelons to name a few. Obayashi’s subsequent film, Hitomi no naka no houmonsha (English title: The Visitor in the Eye, 1977) isn’t nearly as wild and raucous but it shares the same demented fairy tale ambiance of House and was overshadowed by its predecessor.Continue reading
Tag Archives: Vertigo
It’s not unusual for pre-production publicity on a new film to revolve around the star or the director but it’s particularly rare when it focuses on a construction site. In the case of the glossy 1960 soap opera, Strangers When We Meet, directed by Richard Quine, the real star of the movie was the cliff top Bel Air home that was constructed especially for the film by architect Carl Anderson and art director Ross Bellah. Continue reading
What Triggers an Obsession?
One of Spain’s best known and critically acclaimed filmmakers in his own country, Carlos Saura is less well known in the U.S. where his mentor Luis Bunuel and his predecessor Pedro Almodovar are more famous. Yet, Saura was one of the guiding lights of the Spanish New Wave movement in the early sixties, beginning with his neorealistic social drama The Delinquents (1960). Saura would hit his stride with his two subsequent features, La Caza (1966, aka The Hunt) and Peppermint Frappe (1967), both of which explored the political, social and sexual repression of the Franco regime through the guise of allegory and psychological melodrama, respectively. Continue reading