File this one under “domestic disturbance,” which is a pun that will only make sense after you’ve seen this psychedelic, metaphor-laden blood sport of a film. A team of naive Japanese schoolgirls take a summer vacation, expecting an idyllic and romantic stay. Instead, they are ravished and devoured by their bewitched lodging. Sweetness, imagination, athleticism, and musicianship are among the girl’s admirable traits smothered and then eaten alive by the instruments of this domicile, whose hunger for Flesh-o-the-Debutante seems to have gone too rarely satisfied.
Despite the weighty theme of oppression through domesticity and marriage, Obayashi manages a light-hearted and frequently hilarious frolic through his house’s horrifying hallways. Edited to pieces and then self-referentially reconstructed, House goes about being heavy-handed the right way: by first being a thrilling entertainment.
- House (Nobuhiko Obayashi 1977) @ Castro Theater