How to describe Nobuhiko Ôbayashi's 1977 movie? A psychedelic ghost tale? A stream-of-consciousness bedtime story? SCOOBY-DOO as directed by Dario Argento? Any of the above will do for this hallucinatory head-trip about a schoolgirl who travels to her ailing aunt's creaky country home and comes face to face with evil spirits, bloodthirsty pianos and a demonic housecat. Too absurd to be genuinely terrifying, too nightmarish to be merely comic, the director fashioned the script after the eccentric musings of his 11-year-old daughter, then employed all the tricks in his arsenal (mattes, animation and collage) to make them a visually astonishing reality. (Note courtesy of Janus Films.) DIR/PROD Nobuhiko Ôbayashi; SCR Chiho Katsura, from a story by Chigumi Ôbayashi; PROD Tomoyuki Tanaka, Yorihiko Yamada. Japan, 1977, color, 88 min. In Japanese with English subtitles. NOT RATED
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