Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The House Where Evil Dwells|
Actors: Edward Albert, Susan George, Doug McClure, Amy Barrett, Mako Hattori
Director: Kevin Connor
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Moving into a new house can be frightening. Moving into this one is deadly. Edward Albert (Mimic2), Susan George (Straw Dogs) and Doug McClure (Maverick) star in this horrifyinghaunted-house tale about a young American fam... more »
Similarly Requested DVDs
"There's an awful face in my soup!"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 09/26/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The first thing I noticed after receiving the DVD for the film House Where Evil Dwells (1982) is that the DVD cover art looks almost exactly the same as the cover art for the original DVD release of The Grudge (2004). Obviously Sony/MGM is trying to align the two (thereby leaching off the popularity of the newer film), and, while there are some superficial similarities (both take place in Japan and feature tales about the supernatural), I enjoyed The Grudge a bit more than I enjoyed this film. After watching this film last night, I think a more appropriate title might have been `House Where Mischievous Samurai Spirits Dwell'. Directed by Kevin Connor (The Land That Time Forgot, At the Earth's Core, Motel Hell), the film stars Edward Albert (The Greek Tycoon, "Falcon Crest", "Port Charles"), son of Eddie Albert (the "Green Acres" dude), Susan George (Straw Dogs, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, Tintorera), and Doug McClure, whom you may remember from such films as The Land That Time Forgot (1975), The People That Time Forgot (1977), and Humanoids from the Deep (1980). Also appearing is Amy Barrett (Humanoids from the Deep), and Mako Hattori, Tsuiyuki Sasaki, and Toshiya Maruyama, all in their only silver screen appearance.
As the film begins it is the year 1840, and we're in Japan. A samurai comes home to find another pitching woo to his wife, becomes enraged, and a whole lot of nastiness ensues, as all three end up shuffling off this mortal coil...fast forward to the present and we see Ted Fletcher (Albert), his wife Laura (George), and their daughter Amy (Barrett) arriving in Japan, being met by a friend named Alex Curtis (McClure). Seems Ted is a writer, and a bit of a Japanese history buff, and has moved his family here to immerse himself in work, along with him and his family in Japanese culture, so much so they asked Alex to find them an affordable, traditional Japanese home, which he does, and it just happens to be the same house where all the nastiness at the beginning of the film took place. Alex then tells them the catch...supposedly the house is haunted, which is why it's so cheap. Seriously, would you turn people who are supposed to be your best friends on to a house where some grisly murders took place, and is now haunted? Thanks Doug, you a-hole...anyway, the family moves in (Ted and Laura `christen' the house proper in a tasteful love scene) and odd things begin happening like lights and fixtures turning on and off by themselves, objects getting knocked over, along with the occasion samurai apparition appearing here and there. Soon after settling in, a local monk comes around, issuing a warning and an offer for help, but isn't taken seriously. As the trio of ghosts prowl about, possessing the bodies of Ted, Laura, and Alex, a love triangle develops, much like that at the beginning of the film, and the spirits start to become more and more active, causing tension between Ted and Laura, which strains their relationship. After a few injuries and Amy getting a serious case of the crabs, the Fletchers decide to move out, but the threesome of spirits are reluctant to let go...
This was certainly an odd, little feature, displaying a good deal of visceral violence in the first and last ten minutes of the film, with little to none in-between. The story was kind of interesting, but the character less so...I never really got a strong sense of familial connection between the characters played by Albert, George, and Barrett, as most of the time they came across as what they actually where, three actors thrown together in a movie. Albert seemed a little too laid back throughout (when asked why he didn't leave the obviously haunted house earlier, he said something to the effect that he wanted to understand what was happening), while George, whom I've never really been a big fan of, turns on the emotional hysterics early, and rarely lets up, that is, when she wasn't busy getting her groove on with Ted or Alex (George does have a nice set of cans). Seemed like the only time she wasn't pitching hissy fits was when she was possessed by the spirit of dead woman, who was intent on resuming her adulterous ways. McClure provided the best performance in the film, which is kinda sad...I do love the McClure (who one half the inspiration for The Simpson's character Doug McClure, the other half being Troy Donahue), but only because the guy was such a ham. The one aspect I thought really strange was the lack of reasoning behind why these three spirits were about, and their intent towards mucking up the lives of whoever moved into the house. Oh, there was some business about a witchy woman, but it didn't really go anywhere. Now I don't need everything spelled out, or divided up into easily digestible chunks, but I do appreciate when a film meets me halfway, which didn't quite happen here. It just seemed flaky to me that the deceased trio should have to spend their spiritual existence together, for apparently no other reason than to pester the living by turning on their water faucets full blast...the funniest sequences for me (they weren't intended as such) both featured the little girl as in one scene, a mini, ghostly head appears in her soup (like a ghostly Alpha Bit), making faces at her, to which she asks her mother "What kind of soup is this?"...in another scene, while her parents are away, a whole bunch of lumbering crabs (both of the large and small variety), possessed by them mean ole spirits, torment the girl mercilessly, and chase her up a tree. I will say this, while some of the performances and aspects about the story didn't gel, the costumes, special effects, locations shots (the film was shot in Japan), the music, attention to detail and such all came together well to create a good backdrop. All in all the first ten minutes were stimulating, the next hour and ten minutes so-so (no real scares or creepiness), and the last ten minutes a real knock down, fists a flying, chop socky, sword slinging hoot.
This MGM DVD release offers a good-looking, full screen and widescreen (1.85:1) anamorphic picture, along with a decent Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. I did think the dialog a bit soft at times, while the music tended to come through fine. The only thing available in terms of extras is a theatrical trailer. You know, while the film may have not been all that great, I'm still glad MGM seems dedicated towards a consistent releasing of their catalog. Not every one may be a winner, but at least they're not forgotten.
If I learned anything from this film is that when a monk chases out the spirits from your haunted house and afterwards instructs you not to let anyone in, you should heed his advice...also, keep your katanas locked up...
THE HOUSE WHERE EVIL DWELLS (UNITED ARTISTS/1982)
prospero72 | Cox's Creek, Kentucky | 02/07/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"REVIEW: Trite horror film that is surprisingly dull despite the lush scenery, two graphic opening and closing bloodbaths, a weird crab attack, and a couple of full-throttle sex scenes. The story is simple: a samurai catches his wife fooling around with a student of his, and so he hacks them both up and commits suicide. Fast forward to a century later and you get Edward Albert and Susan George moving into that same house; and thus experiencing the usual weird phenomena, hauntings, and ghostly manifestations that sets up the inevitable climax. "THE HOUSE WHERE EVIL DWELLS" has a higher production quality than most low-budget horror flicks, but the extra dough spent on the look and design doesn't help to create memorable characters or a worthwhile filmgoing experience (even the three demonic "ghosts" are almost comic at times when they appear as holographic images hell-bent on causing misery). The only real bright spot in this mess is an old Buddhist monk who acknowledges the Christian God, understands that these are demons tormenting Albert's family, and is the only one able to effectively combat these evil spirits. But the story is so rushed and simplistic that it doesn't hold a candle to other, more visceral films such as "THE EXORCIST", "THE SIXTH SENSE", or "THE GRUDGE" (the latter of which MGM Pictures tries to play off by releasing the DVD version with a simliar "GRUDGE"-like design on the cover); and the viewer is left feeling a bit cheated by this warmed over slice-and-dicer. HARSH LANGUAGE: about 3 words. VIOLENCE: about 8 bloody and/or scary scenes. NUDITY/SEXUAL REFERENCES: about 4 scenes (including an adulterous affair) with a surprising amount of nudity for such a short film. DRUG REFERENCES: one scene where Albert gets drunk, and a few scenes of social drinking and smoking.