House of Terrors (1965) Poster

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Japanese Gothic.
HumanoidOfFlesh15 September 2009
A hunchbacked caretaker presides over a forlorn mansion inhabited by the ghosts of his previous masters.An unbelieving trio(a doctor,his assistant and his niece)fail to heed the caretaker's warnings and are slaughtered horribly by the jealous occupants."The Ghost of the Hunchback" is one of the few Japanese haunted house movies made during 60's.The film clearly resembles Italian Gothic horror films made by Mario Bava and Antonio Margheriti.The acting is solid,the atmosphere is wonderfully spooky and foggy and there are some gruesome scenes."The Ghost of the Hunchback" was released on tape in Italy under the title "Il Pozzo di Satana".It's a crying shame that it faded so quickly into obscurity.Give this creepy gem a look,because it deserves to be seen.8 out of 10.
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Japanese Gothic fever dream
bobzo23 December 2016
Finally found this film on YouTube after years of looking for it under the title "Ghost of the Hunchback". (The film was apparently available on Amazon Prime but is no longer, at least not "in my area"). Who would not be intrigued by the prospect of a Japanese take on the then-current Italian Gothic horror cycle? Adding to the strange mix, this version is dubbed into Italian, with the credits being anglicized in that weird Italian way - a bunch of unconvincing English sounding names, this time appended to a film obviously made by a Japanese director with Japanese actors, and subtitled in English! But no matter. The film does not disappoint, and is in fact considerably more gruesome and sexually frank (and perverse) than almost any Italian counterpart from the same time period that I can think of ,and conjures up a very effectively creepy atmosphere. The rather free-wheeling plot is hard to summarize (and therefore to spoil) and actually doesn't feel particularly Japanese, in terms of what we might expect from Japanese horror. Director Hajime Sato doesn't seem to have made too many films, but is responsible for another big favorite of mine, the rather amazing "Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell". Both films play with and freely mix genre conventions, provide ample shocks and surprises along the way, display a lot of visual flair and end with a certain grim finality. I wish he had made more movies.
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Japanese "The Haunting" works well
HEFILM26 February 2014
At the time of this writing the film is only available in Italian with no subtitles and a cropped down watery looking image. But these sever problems can't hide what is a good movie. The Haunting is a clear influence here, there is even a scene with a bulging door, a creepy stature, and I suppose creepy evocative sound fx are also a important element in this film along the black and white widescreen photography. But there are some elements--birds for instance--that appear in this Japnese director's other films, along with some of the same cast members that make this more its own film than a copy of anything else. He may not be an auteur(though he may I haven't seen enough of his films to know) but he's an effective director of genre material with a personal vision style wise and and a good visual storyteller.

And despite the references to, or steals from, other films this is not a rip off it has, especially in its style an approach of its own. It doesn't seem, even with an all Japanese cast, to be very Japanese in feel, especially in the most Italian element which may be the female wailing voice used in the film's score. What I'm saying is this film in unique in several ways.

The opening of the film is especially well done but it has effective evocative moments right on through. A better title might be GHOST and the HUNCHBACK, as the Hunchback isn't a ghost, or of course the film's original title which better reflects what the film is about. A brisk pace helps it move and the visuals are striking.

This effective and interesting film deserves proper presentation at 2:35 aspect ratio and translation.
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The usual J-horror offering
Leofwine_draca5 April 2022
GHOST OF THE HUNCHBACK (1965, original title Kaidan semushi otoko, aka SATAN'S PIT, HOUSE OF TERRORS) is an inventive little slice of J-horror that carries on the usual Japanese trope of a malignant house possessed by myriad evils (cf. The JU-ON films, HAUSU). This one sees a young woman, Yoshi, inheriting her late husband's country villa only to encounter a strange servant and various spirits dwelling within.

Original this one isn't! It has a creeping atmosphere of dread borrowed from the Italian gothic cycle and a big banging-on-the-door set-piece ripped off straight from THE HAUNTING. However, it's a fast-paced little effort replete with murders, flashbacks and various spooky weirdness, so I quite liked it. The hunchback himself - who isn't a ghost, by the way - is a dead ringer for Christopher Lee.
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A mildly entertaining Gothic horror film
jrd_7322 April 2014
The Internet Movie Database lists this film as House of Terrors. I have only read reviews of it under the title The Ghost of the Hunchback, which is not correct since the hunchback is not a ghost. The print I purchased from Video Screams had the English title of Satan's Pit, which suits the film best. Regardless of title, this is a diverting Japanese spooker.

The plot has a newly widowed woman discovering that her former husband owned a country villa. She and a group of relatives, including a skeptical doctor, go to the villa. There they are met by a hunchbacked caretaker, who tells them that murders have occurred in the villa. Soon the guests are hearing noises and seeing strange sights.

Another reviewer compared this film to The Haunting. This is an accurate description, but Satan's Pit lacks the power of the Robert Wise classic. Firstly, the "scary" moments are not overly scary. Secondly, while I respected the filmmakers for giving the house a history, the secret, when it is revealed, seemed rather odd considering what had preceded it. Then, again, this is a Japanese horror film, and sometimes they take unusual turns.

If the film is remembered, it is because of its atmosphere and not its plot. Unfortunately, the film's atmosphere is the aspect I am least comfortable in judging. The print I saw, while subtitled (which is rare), was very hazy. Watching it reminded me of my childhood days of trying to view a snowy television program which our country antennae could just barely bring in. From what I could see, Satan's Pit looks to be a minor footnote in the genre rather than a lost horror masterpiece. Nonetheless, I was interested enough that I would give the film another chance if I came across a better looking print.
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