Tuesday, December 1, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 39
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
BEST WISHES, WARMEST REGARDS: A SCHITT’S CREEK FAREWELL
BINGABLE: ABANDONED (2016)
BINGEABLE: Barry
BINGEABLE: CASA DE LAS FLORES
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG
BINGEABLE: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARIES
BINGEABLE: OUTLANDER (2014-present)
BINGEABLE: STRANGER THINGS 3
BINGEABLE: THE SINNER (SEASON 2)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: COOL RUNNINGS (1993)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: FISH TANK (2009)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: HOUSE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: OLDBOY
BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART (1990)
BLOW THE MAN DOWN
BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
DA 5 BLOODS
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: A LIFE ON OUR PLANET
FIRST COW
GREYHOUND
GUILTY PLEASURES: CHEER (2020)
HAVE A GOOD TRIP: ADVENTURES IN PSYCHEDELICS
HE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
LYING AND STEALING
SHUT UP LITTLE MAN! AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE (2011)
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
THE OPERATIVE
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO SEVEN
THE VAST OF NIGHT
TREAD
TV REVIEW: BOSCH
TV REVIEW: CATCH-22
TV REVIEW: COBRA KAI
TV REVIEW: DEFENDING JACOB
TV REVIEW: FEAR CITY
TV REVIEW: GENERATION KILL (2008)
TV REVIEW: HANNIBAL (2013-2015)
TV REVIEW: HELL ON WHEELS (2011-2016)
TV REVIEW: HOMECOMING
TV REVIEW: I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE
TV REVIEW: I MAY DESTROY YOU
TV REVIEW: I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK
TV REVIEW: JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS
TV REVIEW: LENOX HILL
TV REVIEW: LITTLE AMERICA
TV REVIEW: LOVE ON THE SPECTRUM
TV REVIEW: LOVECRAFT COUNTRY
TV REVIEW: MRS. AMERICA
TV REVIEW: PANDEMIC: HOW TO PREVENT AN OUTBREAK (2020)
TV REVIEW: RAISED BY WOLVES
TV REVIEW: RAMY
TV REVIEW: RUN
TV REVIEW: SPACE FORCE
TV REVIEW: TABOO
TV REVIEW: THE BOYS
TV REVIEW: THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD
TV REVIEW: THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR
TV REVIEW: THE LAST KINGDOM
TV REVIEW: THE MIDNIGHT GOSPEL
TV REVIEW: THE MORNING SHOW
TV REVIEW: THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL OF ALL
TV REVIEW: THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA
TV REVIEW: THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT
TV REVIEW: THE THIRD DAY
TV REVIEW: THE VOW
TV REVIEW: TREADSTONE (2019)
TV REVIEW: TRIAL 4 (2020)
TV REVIEW: UNDONE
TV REVIEW: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
TV REVIEW: ZEROZEROZERO
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
[UN]WELL

BLAST FROM THE PAST: HOUSE

PHOTO BY PHOTO COURTESY OF TOHO CO. LTD.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: HOUSE


Where is it playing?: Amazon Prime, iTunes

What's it rated?: Not rated

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

You know how sometimes dreams, even the craziest ones, make total sense while you’re in them, but when you try to explain them to another person you realize they were completely incomprehensible?

Well that’s how it feels watching and then trying to write about House, a Japanese horror-comedy released in 1977 that I think is both an amazing masterpiece and also almost unwatchable.

The movie revolves around a group of young girls who are excitedly making plans for the upcoming summer vacation away from school. Normal, right? One, who is known as “Gorgeous” (Kimiko Ikegami) to her friends because of her beauty and style—a very reasonable nickname—plans a trip to see her long-lost aunt in an attempt to avoid her father and his overbearing new girlfriend.

Gorgeous’ mom died when she was younger, and Gorgeous wants to find out more about her mother’s sister, who lives in an empty mansion in a mostly unpopulated village. Uh oh.

Gorgeous invites six of her closest friends to join her on this family reunion, which is not an event my friends would be excited to go to, but hers are pumped. The friends also have nicknames inspired by their hobbies and basic characteristics: Mac loves to eat (lol same), Melody loves music, Sweet is really nice, Fantasy is always daydreaming, Prof is smart, and Kung Fu is great at, you guessed it, Kung Fu.

At this point we’re getting into a weird Japanese horror version of the seven dwarves, which is generally pretty unsettling on its own. Then throw in a clearly malicious aunt living in a very obviously haunted house with a noticeably evil cat, and we’ve got ourselves a classic witch plot.

One after another, the girls go missing. Others start seeing things—a severed head in a well, furniture moving on its own, a grandfather clock overflowing with blood—and some become possessed by items in the house.

As things spiral into chaos and special effects become more prominent, the surreal aspects of House totally engulf everything else. These effects—monsters creeping through windows and crevasses, rooms flooding with blood, a magical cat in different forms—are cartoonish, giving the film a fever-dream vibe similar to that of Fantasia (1940) or Alice in Wonderland (1951), both movies that thoroughly freaked me out as a kid. According to Wikipedia, the most reliable source of information on the internet, director Nobuhiko Ôbayashi made the film purposely unrealistic; it was not at all due to a low budget or his own total lack of directing experience.

Whatever the reason, I’m glad House is the way it is. Some moments, like when one friend gets beaten to death by flying pillows or every time Kung Fu karate chops ghosts, are funny. Others, including a death by drowning in blood and a creepy hairy bath, are quite disturbing, even several decades later.

So whether you like dreams, nightmares, comedies, horrors, or just plain total originality, House is worth a watch. 

—Kasey Bubnash










Weekly Poll
How should Santa Barbara County enforce the state-imposed COVID-19 restrictions?

Make sure businesses are compliant, but let individuals make the choice for themselves,
Ticket people who break the mask order and increase business enforcement.
Take an educational approach.
Do nothing—this is a free country!

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