What is it with me talking about horror movies lately? I don’t know. I guess I’ve had my head stuck in science fiction so long (reading it, writing it), I want to talk about anything but at the moment.
Yesterday someone asked, “What’s the most absurd horror film you’ve ever seen?” I was surprised how quickly the answer came to me. Usually you have to think about “the most” of anything. This was not the case. The answer was obviously Hausu, which I’ll get to in a moment.
I remember reading an article in Fangoria about Japanese horror and how it sometimes mashes genres together, seemingly at random. That article alone is probably one of the reasons I became a fan of Japanese horror and offbeat movies in general; when the Troma movies on USA’s Up All Night! were severely edited and most of us didn’t have access to the Internet yet, you really had to educate yourself with niche magazines if you wanted any chance of finding the most bizarre stuff your local video store had to offer. For me, that was Critic’s Choice Video (oh, how I miss thee). Much later, I discovered the supermarket video store had some amazingly weird stuff that was so obscure, it never even developed the cult following it deserved.
Take, for instance, Satan’s Cheerleaders, the cover of which read: “RATED PG.” This was obviously a typo.
At one time in the days of AOL, I belonged to a group in which the members traded bootlegs in VHS and the then new DVD. My first DVD player was not only DRM-free, it could play any region in the world. Unfortunately, that marked the beginning of the end of my glory days. After you spend a childhood and much of your teenage years actively seeking out stuff like that, you get a little burned out. At least I did. I got bored wading through a dozen or so boring horror films just to find a Cannibal Holocaust or a Blood Feast… which weren’t even good enough to live up to the hype. The fact of the matter was I had grown out of horror… no, not grown up. There was a period of time in which I grew out of science fiction, too; now look at this blog—it’s chock full of it.
The point: I was no stranger to the absurd. I spent many years of my life chasing it. So when I was informed Hausu was so balls-to-the-wall crazy I had to see it before I died, I was dubious. I should have known better. The guy who gave me the bootleg was so hardcore about horror his bedroom wall was plastered in autographed movie merchandise. One day, many months later, I finally got around to plugging the DVD into my entertainment center. Within minutes I had turned it off. Not because it was bad, but because I knew right away: I had to watch this movie with someone else.
Hausu is one of the best times I’ve ever had watching a movie. To this day I still don’t know what it’s about and it surprises the hell out of me I haven’t written about it here before now. To avoid confusing this Japanese masterpiece with the many other movies called House, I refer to it as Hausu. Yes, I just called Hausu a masterpiece. No, that’s not fluff. Whereas Cannibal Holocaust, Blood Feast, and the original Last House on the Left can only appeal to horror aficionados, Hausu should appeal to anyone with a pulse and a sense of humor.
Typically I’d mention something about the plot by now. What’s the point? There’s a house. It’s haunted. There’s a cat. It’s crazy. Heads will fly—literally. ‘Nuff said. It’s just not a movie you can analyze. It’s less of a traditional movie experience and more of something that just happens to you. Let it have its way.