Why a 10-year-old Girl Is Credited for Co-Writing 1977’s ‘House’

'House' is one of the most bonkers horror films ever made. And we have a child to thank for it.
House Horror

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at the making of the Japanese 1977 horror movie House.

As the video essay below astutely notes, many horror films are based on childhood fears: creatures lurking under mattresses, leering and garishly wrinkled faces, and parental figures that can no longer be trusted.

But horror films based on childhood fears are typically the work of adults remembering old wounds. Kids don’t usually impact horror directly. But there is one notable exception: 1977’s House, which was co-written by Chigumi Ôbayashi, the 10-year-old daughter of the film’s director, Nobuhiko Ôbayashi.

The plot of House is simultaneously simple and inscrutable: a gaggle of school friends pays a visit to the countryside farmhouse of one of their number’s aunts. Bizzare happenings immediately begin to plague the group, who dwindle as the house devours each of them one by one. While infamously bananas, there is a method to the madness: House was designed expressly to capture the feeling of a child recounting a nightmare, in all its absurdity and genuine terror.

As the video essayist is keen to note, Ôbayashi Sr., a Hiroshima survivor, had plenty of his own childhood trauma to draw upon. And the ultimate impression is of a father-daughter duo working through the things that scare them on-screen (be it cannibalistic pianos to losing your friends to an unfathomable catastrophe).

Watch “How a 10-year-old girl wrote Japan’s most insane horror film”:

Who made this?

This video essay on the uncanny origins of the 1977 horror film House is by kaptainkristian, a YouTube-based video essay channel that peddles in visual love letters to filmmakers, musicians, and syndicated cartoons. The account is run by Kristian T. Williams, whom you can follow on Twitter here. You can subscribe to kaptainkristian, and check out their back catalog on YouTube here.

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    Meg Shields: Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).