It's been a bit of a challenge to track down, but lots of folks including me know this film from torrents that have made the rounds online. More recently, it was shown at a number of film festivals in the Fall of 2009. HOUSE is an insane and retarded piece of perfection- a visual distillation of most everything we at Same Hat hold dear aesthetically. Flying heads a la Bali Mystics? CHECK. Hand-drawn trippy backdrops and bursts of anachronystic, analog color sfx? CHECK. Singing babes and blood-spewing cats? CHECK. Carnivorous piano and Amityville horror? CHECK.
With help from Evan and Ryan G., we actually projected HOUSE on the wall of my apartment at my last birthday party. This article from the Village Voice helps give some context on this 1977 triumph (is that the right word here?). They say:
An uncanny prophecy of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead 2 a decade later, this exhumed freaker conjoins New Agey schoolgirl farce and the cheesiest then-there-were-none haunted-house dynamic imaginable, while the painted backdrop skies suggest Teletubbies and the special effects run from solarized-video-absurd to cardboard-hilarious. The rum-stumble cast and crew obey no rules—the movie often seems to have two or three conflicting scores running simultaneously, and inappropriate freeze frames and pointless fades to black are the norm. The story isn't a story at all: A gaggle of sailor-uniformed schoolgirls (with names like Gorgeous, Prof, and Fantasy) head to a weird aunt's cheap-set house for spring break, and start getting minced up, one by one, into crude superimpositions, perambulating body parts, and rivers of blood that look like cherry Hi-C.
It's a real treat to finally get a proper DVD release of HOUSE, and it's my most-wanted film release of 2010. The Eureka Video catalogue doesn't give a specific release date, but I'll be keeping my eyes peeled:
If you're already into HOUSE and can't get enough, I'd like to also mention that Same Hat friend and artist Brendan Ninness created a HOUSE-inspired piece for Electric Ant #2's illustration feature, THESE BLOODY MOMENTS. Here is a smaller version of that piece:
[As always, if you haven't yet you can still purchase a copy of the zine.]
Here's the Japanese trailer for HOUSE, followed by some stills. Enjoy!
UPDATE: As commenter Stephen mentioned, there are rumors that Janus/Criterion are going to be releasing HOUSE in the US as a Criterion DVD/Blu-Ray, as Janus was responsible for organizing the showings of the film at festivals last fall. The just posted this Q&A article on their blog too. That said, it's still sorta unofficial 'til they confirm or put it on their release schedule. Has anyone heard more specifics? (thanks, Stephen!) In the meantime, as Matt points out, Janus is taking HOUSE to independent movie theaters around the US in the Spring and Summer. Full schedule is online here. I'll be at the April 17 show in San Francisco!