When asked what the scariest movie I’ve ever seen is, I usually say Audition. When asked about the weirdest, I usually say Hausu.
I first saw Hausu last year when I was looking for out-of-the-way stuff for the international horror film column that I was then writing for Innsmouth Free Press. I wasn’t really expecting to like it. I’d heard that it was a classic (I was watching it on a Criterion edition DVD, after all) and that it was the weirdest movie ever made. And generally, that’s the kind of bill of sale that leads inevitably to disappointment, not to mention that experimental film is only occasionally my thing. But I ended up blown away by it, and sort of loving it. A story of hauntings and possession and vampirism and witchcraft that’s also as bizarre as advertised, though carried through by a kind of demented childish logic (maybe because the script was supposedly co-authored by the director’s young daughter), it’s an experience in a way that movies seldom are, so when the opportunity came to see it again, on the big screen this time at the local Alamo Drafthouse, I jumped at the chance and dragged as many ill-prepared friends and acquaintances along as I could muster. Everyone survived, and I think I converted them all in Drafthouse fans.
Hausu isn’t the only oddity I recently caught that I’ve been meaning to talk about, though. Last week, I went over to a friend’s house on a suitably dark and stormy night and watched V/H/S on demand. While some of the creepiness may have been dulled by technical difficulties, it was a pretty great experience. The first and last segments of the film were excellent, and the framing story and all the others had strong points and weak ones. I was surprised that neither Ti West’s nor Glenn McQuaid’s segments were my favorites (they were the names that had me the most excited going in), but that just means I’ll have new names to watch for going forward.
I also caught Martyrs, at the recommendation of that same friend. It was much too High Tension/Last House on the Left-y in style for my tastes, but the way it changed directions drastically every twenty minutes or so was really refreshing, and I found the place the story ended up much more intriguing than I had expected going in.
In perhaps less artistry-centric news, I’ve also recently seen Final Destination 5 (the best one since 2, however faint that praise may be) and Red Riding Hood (better than I’d heard, mostly thanks to Gary Oldman’s character and some visual interest).
I meant to talk about most of these at greater length, but things got busy and it didn’t happen, but here they are, at least logged for posterity.