House

House ★★★★

The Letterboxd community have turned me onto some interesting films this year, but one has intrigued me more than the rest and its freaky orange cat cover has been sat on my watch list crying out for attention for too long. Having got hold of a copy of the Masters of Cinema dvd I thought it best I prepare myself with a read through the accompanying booklet entitled 'Unhinged Desire' by Paul Roquet. 

It explains the idea of a house that consumes its inhabitants came from the imagination of director Nobuhiko Obayashi's daughter. Many of the film's horrors - such as the hungry piano, being attacked by your own reflection and being ground up in the gears of a grandfather clock - are also attributed to her. Instead of slowly backing away and calling the men in the white coats, Obayashi decided to build a ghost story out of these elements. Turns out that the Japanese film industry was desperate for something new that could compete with foreign blockbusters and would bring audiences back. As a result they took a chance on the longtime director of experimental indies and tv commercials, requesting that he make something like Jaws for Japanese cinema. Instead Obayashi took the horror genre and twisted it to fit his own unique vision.

"If the film is a commercial for the film industry" Roquet observes "it is also a promotion of the malevolent pleasures of cinema itself, a romance with the all-consuming image".

Watch it.

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