Filmmaker Nobuhiko Obayashi was assigned a simple project: Make a movie like the popular American Jaws for Japanese audiences. This is what the production company got. Inspired by the nightmares of his pre-teen daughter, House (1977) is a fundamentally unnerving but altogether cheerful combo of evil cats that project blood, reanimated severed heads, and pianos that eat little girls. When the protagonist, a peppy tween named Gorgeous, goes off to visit her aunt with her six best girlfriends, the gals quickly begin to be picked off by the old home’s supernatural pitfalls. All predictability in terms of plot ends right there. Part gore fest, part bubblegum after-school special, Obayashi never seems to have decided whether he was making a kitschy B-movie or a lofty art film about adolescent-female psychology. It has been hailed as the cult film for people who think they’ve seen every cult film. Go if you like your felines murderous and your horror with a pound of sugar on top.
Fri., June 1, 11:59 p.m.; Sat., June 2, 11:59 p.m., 2012
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 23, 2012