Archive for Hausu

Too Cool for School

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on November 22, 2017 by dcairns

SCHOOL IN THE CROSSHAIRS isn’t about school shootings at all, it’s a lighthearted cosmic adventure story set at a Japanese high school, combining mythic good v. evil stuff with martial arts and teen romance. John Woo meets John Hughes? But NO, for this work springs from the delirious oeuvre of Nobuhiko Obayashi, the fellow who gave us the frankly mental HOUSE. I’m delving into his world for work…

Every Obayashi film has a piano in it.

Once you get over the high weirdness of Obayashi’s ADHD style, the content here is fairly Marvel comics, with young adult soap opera merging with superheroics. The particularly Japanese elements — kendo tournaments, a fascination with schoolgirl panties — do add to the peculiarity for this western viewer, though. But in a way, this movie kind of reminds us how strange OUR culture’s fantasy life is.

Abstract climax in a floaty void with lots of ALTERED STATES type imagery. Obayashi’s raison d’etre, in a way, is creating pop culture emanations which tick the necessary genre boxes but are still perceived as weird even in his own culture. Weird but good. Teaching kids to enjoy weirdness is important work.

I says so!

The Jitters

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on November 12, 2015 by dcairns


If you know the work of Norihuko Obayashi, it’s probably from his loony horror film, HAUSU. I was delighted to find his loony arthouse film, EMOTION, is just as loony. You can see for yourself at this link. Afterwards, you may need to lie down.

Gifford Sighting #2

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , on September 16, 2010 by dcairns

The book which indecently obsesses me, Denis Gifford’s big green A Pictorial History of Horror Movies, turns up again! I’m always interested in what books movie characters have on their shelves.

I first spotted the movie book in an actual movie when I watched Obayashi’s HAUSU, an everything-including-the-kitchen-sink horror romp in which the book is prominently placed in a train sequence ~

Gifford, bottom left.

Now it rears its big green Glenn Strange head again, in THE DEADLY SPAWN, a prosthetics effects wallow from 1983. I was just admiring the fact that the boy hero has the same KING KONG poster on his wall that I had as a boy, when I found myself thinking, “I bet he has the Gifford book too” — and then I noticed it in the very same frame ~

KONG poster: top left. Gifford book: centre frame, to left of kid’s head.

The preponderance of gleeful gore and rubber creatures makes the amateurish DEADLY SPAWN just about watchable, with the main source of horror being the interior design ~

All those squiggly clashing patterns: it makes THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG look minimalist. This must be what Mary Poppins sees when she rubs her eyes really hard.

Asides from the literary guest star, what HAUSU and SPAWN have in common is a rather Giffordian impetus: they don’t draw inspiration from any one image in the Big Book, rather they seek to make a movie so full of messed-up images that watching it is akin to leafing through the book itself, with each crazy monster/disfiguration following hard on the heels of the last. Obayashi does this with a lot more cinematic invention, needless to say, making his film just about the loopiest thing ever. THE DEADLY SPAWN is basically an amateur movie with a few production values and a lot of enthusiasm — tolerable in itself and no doubt a dream for gorehounds.