• How to describe the indescribable? A slew of critics, slain by Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 House, take up the challenge.

    Stuart Galbraith IV writes for DVD Talk that the funky film is “like a cross between Dario Argento’s Suspiria and an episode of The Monkees. Though generally regarded as a horror film, it’s also a teen fantasy/kung fu/erotic coming-of-age/splatter/comedy—Jan Švankmajer meets Pink Lady.” Paper’s Dennis Dermody says it’s “like Suspiria meetsScooby-Doo.” New York’s Vulture uses different reference points, claiming it “manages to out-weird any David Lynch effort and even bests El Topo in terms of surrealism.” (From there, the site introduces a slide show of “ten of the strangest moments from the world’s oddest horror film.”)

    For the Los Angeles Times, Dennis Lim praises House as “one of the most enduringly—and endearingly—weird cult movies of the past few decades,” remarking that it “has some affinities with the work of Italian ‘giallo’ schlockmeisters Dario Argento and Mario Bava, and it anticipates the wackier experiments of Japanese genre-benders such as Takashi Miike.” But then again, “it might be more apt to consider its lineage in relation to Obayashi’s dual background in experimental film and commercials.” Tony Rayns concurs, for Artforum: “Virtually every shot contains an effect or visual trope, and Obayashi drew on both his early experiments with animation and film language and his vast experience in making sixty-second ads to craft the images. At feature length, this adds up to a sensory barrage of a kind rarely attempted in cinema.”

    Of course, the horror devotees are also out in full force for House, including Cinefantastique (“Stunning . . . It channels a unique, dreamlike quality”), Bloody Disgusting (“Quickly working its way onto my list of all-time favorite horror films”), and Fangoria (“Truly special . . . If you dare even consider yourself a fan or student of cinema, or are remotely interested in being affected by a movie, you must get your hands on House”).

    Alonso Duralde for Movieline throws up his hands: “Words, frankly, can’t do justice to this loopy and spooky Japanese import. Get the right kind of friends over for the night and take the plunge together.”

    More from the Playlist (“Off-the-wall, hallucinatory, and outrageously inventive”), plus Duralde’s video review for IFC.com’s Grid (“It’s psychedelic, hilarious, and altogether ooky”).

6 comments

  • By LJ
    November 03, 2010
    10:30 AM

    Speaking of David Lynch… How about Criterion getting a hold of Blue Velvet or Eraserhead for release on Blu-Ray. I bet that just about any Lynch Criterion Blu would be a huge seller.
    Reply
  • By Kevin
    December 19, 2010
    03:13 PM

    I agree, Blue Velvet would be rocking on Criterion... also some Charlie Kaufman...
    Reply
  • By Alex Boudreau-Audet
    January 27, 2011
    01:56 PM

    Yeah, we want David Lynch on Criterion!!!!
    Reply
  • By Daniel
    January 28, 2011
    06:17 PM

    Some Elephant Man!!!C'mon criterion
    Reply
  • By Zoszo19sl
    June 13, 2011
    07:06 PM

    Eraserhead on Blu Ray has been a dream of mine ever since I've seen it. The film is beautiful as is on DVD, but to go even farther would be so incredible. Then on top of all that to put it as a criterion I would probably break down in tears. This is such a classic film and so strange and enigmatic yet probably one of the top 10 best cinematic experiences out there. CRITERION PLEASE HEAR OUR PRAYS FOR LYNCH ON BLU RAY
    Reply
  • By beastWAVE
    January 07, 2013
    06:33 PM

    It's tragedy that films such as Blue Velvet and Wild At Heart are not Criterion as of 2013
    Reply