Horror Movie A Day: Quint visits THE HOUSE WHERE EVIL DWELLS (1982) There’s an awful face in my soup!
Published at: Oct. 8, 2008, 1:18 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day.
[The regular A Movie A Day list has been frozen in order for me to do an all-horror line-up for October. I’ve pulled many horror titles from my regular “to see” stack and have ordered many more horror and thriller titles to make sure we have some good stuff. Like the regular AMAD column all the movies I’m covering are films I have never seen, but unlike the regular AMAD column I will not connect each film to the one before it. Instead I will pull a title at random every day and watch whatever the movie Gods determine for me.]
This movie is fucking ridiculous.
Let’s get that out of the way up front. The unintentional humor in this movie is off the charts. It is fucking ridiculous.
Now, the movie starts off well. In fact, it’s got a great opening scene. The Alamo Drafthouse regularly does an event called the 100 Best Kills where they encourage the audience to bring in videos, DVDs, CD-Rs whatever… that have great movie kills. I think on the next one I’m going to bring in this one.
For starters, THE HOUSE WHERE EVIL DWELLS is a haunted house movie with an opening about samurais. Yeah. Samurai. Nothing says haunted house like samurai.
A pretty Asian lady invites in a man who I assumed was her husband. She puts his sandals in their place, kneels while opening and closing the door for him.
The man gives her a little figurine of two people embraced, obviously fucking. They eat and then fuck. Then we’re outside as a regal samurai dude comes walking up, watching the shadows on the rice-paper walls, getting more and more pissed off.
Yep, you guessed it. This is the real husband. Pissed off he unsheathes his sword and chops down the door in a rage.
What follows is about the most awesome awesomeness you can get… we’re talking three or four minutes of slow motion pissed off samurai as the cheating man scrambles for his life, throwing shit at the sword-wielding maniac while the topless woman panics and tries to get away.
All in slow motion.
And then the samurai makes contact and chops a limb off, stabs the dude in the dick and then decapitates him, sending the head flying to the ground next to the cowering lady.
Of course he takes her out, too, then commits hari kari.
There’s the origin of the haunted house.
Now we have an American family who moves in, friends of the local American diplomat, played by ‘70s B-movie king Doug McClure.
Susan George is the matriarch of the family and Edward Albert (Eddie Albert’s son) is the patriarch. Together with their daughter they move into this great deal of an old Japanese house.
And this is where it starts getting really awesome. The haunting is represented by transparent blue versions of the two men and girl from the opening wearing heavy kabuki theater style make-up watching shit going on… and occasionally slipping into the bodies of the new family.
Susan George is apparently the most susceptible and what does this scary ghost do when she enters George’s body? Does she become a demon of some sort? Does she spew split pea soup? No. She becomes a slut.
Literally, the slut-ghost makes George want to fuck McClure. The samurai ghost does ultimately inhabit Edward Albert, making him very angry.
But oh no… that’s not the best part of the movie. Apparently, the ghosts can also summon… pissed off crabs. Oh my God, the pissed off crabs ruled. Obviously incredibly fake, but somehow the fakeness actually works in the favor of the effect making it, I’m sure, unintentionally creepy.
I don’t know where the fuck the filmmakers got the idea to put evil crabs into the movie, but it’s brilliant. They also surround the two fake moaning crab monsters (each one utters guttural samurai noises) with real live baby crabs, which look like disgusting red spiders. All those crab things terrorize the little girl (after I guess swallowing one of the souls in a cup of soup, which I don’t exactly get).
Of course, there’s a monk that lives up the road and wants to help. When the gwailo family finally decides that there are fucked up things happening, the dude comes in, chants, forces the spirits to go sit out on the front porch and tells the family, in their final night, “Okay, I’m off. Oh yeah, don’t open this door. See ya’!” That’s a paraphrase, but you get the gist.
This movie is fucking ridiculous, if I haven’t made that perfectly clear.
Final Thoughts: The performances are okay, but for some reason it seems at least half of the movie was redubbed, made in the ADR booth after wrapping, which kind of undercuts a lot of the performances. But honestly, the filmmaking on this one is pretty poor, with a mediocre script and uneven characters. Which is a little surprising as Kevin Conner also directed the awesome MOTEL HELL. That Kevin Conner did not show up for this one. However, I will say that the movie is just bad enough to be a lot of fun. And you get a whole lot of Susan George nudity, so the flick can’t be all that bad, even if it’s MILF-era Susan George and not STRAW DOGS-era nubile Susan George. And check out this complete false advertising poster… which has absolutely nothing to do with the movie (hell, it even altered the title).
Wow, that’s going to be a jump, going from ridiculously entertaining early ‘80s haunted house movie to a South Korean serial killer movie from the aughts. Looking forward to it, though. Been meaning to get to this one for a long while. See you folks tomorrow for that one!