"Nobuhiko Obayashi: A Retrospective": 5 Highlights From a Fantastic Oeuvre
This is where it all starts, both for Obayashi's feature filmmaking career and for most of those outside Japan encountering his work for the first time. It's a wild, anarchic take on the haunted house movie, incorporating ideas from his young daughter Chigumi, and freely using techniques employed in the many experimental films and TV commercials he'd made before then. A group of young girls, with such evocative monikers as Gorgeous, Sweet, Melody, and Kung Fu, are invited to a house that begins to eat the girls, one by one. From today's perspective, House can be seen as an ode to pre-digital filmmaking, its fun atmosphere created largely by practical and in-camera special effects. While Obayashi's subsequent features would dial the craziness way down, he would continue to incorporate his experimentation into more conventional structures that nevertheless retained a fresh, exploratory spirit.