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The House Where Evil Dwells (1982)

 -  Horror  -  14 May 1982 (USA)
4.3
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Ratings: 4.3/10 from 608 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 16 critic

A young American family moves to a House in Kyoto, Japan. It turns out to be haunted by the ghosts of a woman and her lover, who were killed by the woman's husband, as well as the ghost of the husband, who killed himself afterward.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ted Fletcher
...
Laura Fletcher
...
Alex Curtis
Amy Barrett ...
Amy Fletcher
Mako Hattori ...
Otami
Tsuiyuki Sasaki ...
Shugoro (as Toshiyuki Sasaki)
Toshiya Maruyama ...
Masanori
Tsuyako Okajima ...
Majyo Witch
Henry Mitowa ...
Zen Monk
Mayumi Umeda ...
Noriko, the babysitter
Hiroko Takano ...
Wakako
Shuren Sakurai ...
Noh Mask Maker
Shôji Ohara ...
Assistant Mask Maker (as Shoji Ohara)
Jirô Shirai ...
Tadashi (as Jiro Shirai)
Kazuo Yoshida ...
Editor
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Storyline

In 1840, a samurai comes home to find his wife in bed with another man, so he kills them both and then himself. Flash-forward to the present day, and an American family of three moves into this since-abandoned house and starts to experience incidents of haunting and possession. Written by Brian J. Wright <tyrannorabbit@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An ancient curse has turned their lives into a nightmare of lust and revenge. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

14 May 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Casa do Diabo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The visual effects sequences featuring the Japanese ghosts were filmed utilizing an old German camera technique known as "Shauftausen". In a 2011 interview with John Kenneth Muir, director Kevin Connor said of this: "...basically you shoot the scene with one camera through a right-angled mirror. The ghost actors are on a black velvet background so you can control the density of their image as you shoot, ie you fade them in and fade them out and line them up easily with the 'live' actors. It worked very well, and of course you could see the composite dailies next day. Eventually we got this technique down to a fine art. It was important to show the ghosts in this fashion because basically it was an economical and effective process". See more »

Quotes

Amy Fletcher: [as she is watching a blue, ghostly face making faces at her] There's an awful face in my soup!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Vamp (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
enjoyable ghost story helped by Japanese location and culture
21 November 2004 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

In 1840 in Japan, a man has an affair with a woman in her husband's house. A "netsuke" (I think it was called) is prominently featured; it is a small ivory carving of a seated woman and man (or demon?) in a sexual embrace. The husband arrives home just as the adulterous couple have stripped and are getting started and he can observe their shadows through the translucent windows. In slow motion, the husband draws his sword and charges through the wall, swinging his sword wildly and ineffectively. Ultimately, he does chop one of the man's arms off, stabs him in the crotch, and decapitates him. After slashing his wife's throat and getting in a few more strikes on her, he commits hari kari.

This is a fairly standard "awful thing happens in a house, and a new family moves in" sort of horror story, but it gets points for the location photography. Beautifully decorated houses, gardens, etc. In a way, this prefigures this year's The Grudge remake, with the Americans moving into a house haunted by Japanese ghosts.

An American couple and their daughter arrive in Japan. Their Japanese-speaking American friend who works for the American consulate has arranged for them to rent the house. He actually does tell them the cheap price he got for the house was due to stories of its being haunted. Initially there are just some mild signs of its being haunted, but nothing they particularly note. The couple has sex that night with lots of half-fades and schmaltzy music. The next morning, a zen monk politely and calmly warns them the house is haunted, and they should leave, and he will wait for them to ask for help.

The ghosts start appearing, as blueish figures, shoulder-to-shoulder. They are no longer each others' enemies, but it proves evident very quickly that they intend for the new couple and their friend to re-enact their own deaths. The ghosts can step into people's bodies and make them speak or act differently.

The husband actually sees the ghosts sometimes, while his wife more often just observes poltergeist behavior. He also sees the female ghost looking as she did when alive (i.e. not blueish and transparent) in other locations through his camera, but she does not show up on the developed film. There's a nice scene where he is photographing some female divers and she shows up there.

The wife finds the netsuke, which she keeps with her, and she also buys some Noh masks with her daughter, as well as a demon mask and a devil-god mask. The demon mask looks similar to the mask in Onibaba (1964).

I can see how people would see the movie as silly in parts or overall slow, but I guess I was in the proper mood to enjoy it: I liked it.


4 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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