Thursday, June 2, 2011

#300. The House Where Evil Dwells (1982)

Directed By: Kevin Connor

Starring: Edward Albert, Susan George, Doug McClure

Tag line: "An ancient curse has turned their lives into a nightmare of lust and revenge"

Trivia:  This film was based on a novel by James Hardiman

In almost every situation, first impressions are the most important. Well, my first impression of The House Where Evil Dwells came by way of its trailer, and as horror trailers go, this one's a complete flop. Undoubtedly meant to send a shiver up my spine, it actually caused me to chuckle a bit when I caught my first glimpse of the film's “ghosts”, mostly because they reminded me of the title character from the 1970's Hanna-Barbara cartoon, The Funky Phantom. A Saturday-morning kids comedy show, The Funky Phantom was about as far removed from the horror genre as this movie proved to be.

Looking to put the finishing touches on his latest novel, Ted Fletcher (Edward Albert), along with his wife, Laura (Susan George), and daughter, Amy (Amy Barrett), takes up temporary residence in Japan. Alex Curtis (Doug McClure), an old friend of the family's whose lived in Japan for several years, has secured an authentic Japanese house for the young family, one that dates back several centuries. Unfortunately, this house was also the scene of a grisly murder some 100 years ago, when a Samurai killed both his wife and her lover, then immediately took his own life as well. It isn't long after they've moved in that Ted and Laura begin experiencing strange occurrences, but the truth of the matter is the spirits who haunt this house have more on their mind than simple mischief. In short, they're looking to bring about a repeat of history.

As a horror film, The House Where Evil Dwells is an absolute joke. For one, the dialogue is border-line atrocious; as Alex is driving Ted and Laura to their new home, he informs them of the rumors that the house might be haunted. Laura is visibly nervous, but Ted tries to calm her down by telling her that “modern ghosts are friendly ghosts”. I'm still trying to figure out what the hell that means! Not only this, but there's zero chemistry between the leads (a 2+ minute sex scene doesn't generate so much as a single degree of heat) , and as far as the ghosts are concerned, their random 'appearances' create more laughs than they do screams (and if you think they're funny, just wait until you get a load of the possessed giant crabs that attack young Amy in her sleep). Not even the sight of Susan George in various stages of undress will prove enough to distract you from the clumsy mess that is this film.

The House Where Evil Dwells is bad with a capital B.  Do yourself a favor, and check out repeats of The Funky Phantom instead.

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