Horror Movie A Day: Quint visits THE HOUSE WHERE EVIL DWELLS (1982)
There’s an awful face in my soup!
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).
Here are the titles in the drawing pool for the rest of October:
Wednesday, October 1st – Friday, October 31st: H-MAD! Horror Movie A Day! Check out the list here!
Now it’s time to pull the next HMAD!
Next up is:
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!
June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror
October 3rd: The Devil’s Rain
October 4th: Race With The Devil
October 5th: Salo, Or The 120 Days of Sodom
October 6th: Bad Dreams
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Oct. 8, 2008, 1:37 a.m. CST
by fight the new world order
I love the Prince of Darkness animation with Harry. In my opinion one the scariest films ever made. Gave me nightmares when I saw it in on tv as kid.
Oct. 8, 2008, 1:41 a.m. CST
by nolan bautista
Ghost clabs!! Vely cleepy!!
Oct. 8, 2008, 1:48 a.m. CST
... but I'm still digging your reviews. I know know what films to ignore and ones to pick up for the "coolness" factor. <p> So you are doing me a valuable service...and I thought I was gonna be bored this month.
Oct. 8, 2008, 1:56 a.m. CST
And I love those every now and again! BTW yes,....Prince of Darkness,...errie title,...errie flick. The crazy crap on the PC screen the Indian gal was typing still freaks me out. BTW Q,....still loving your daily stuff... Keeps me coming back.
Oct. 8, 2008, 2:20 a.m. CST
sounds like shit. The one tomorrow will be much better!!!!
Oct. 8, 2008, 3:53 a.m. CST
That last poster with the were-wolf/cat head rocks!
Oct. 8, 2008, 4:46 a.m. CST
there are worse things to become.
Oct. 8, 2008, 4:51 a.m. CST
by xavier masterson
Just a a great film all around.
Oct. 8, 2008, 5:04 a.m. CST
Prince of Darkness is an awful movie that was THIS close to being one of the scariest movies ever. Maybe with a slightly better cast..<br><br> It's good cheesy fun, but after I saw it a few times, I realized how close Carpenter had come to greatness with it, but just missed.
Oct. 8, 2008, 5:23 a.m. CST
Forgive dumbassedness but what movie is the current AICN animation a parody of? Bothering me...
Oct. 8, 2008, 7:04 a.m. CST
Prince of Darkness
Oct. 8, 2008, 8:14 a.m. CST
Wow, that's some crazy variety in art styles and marketing. Of course non of them actual represent samurai possession and killer crabs. Points for the werewolf attempt though! Weird...
Oct. 8, 2008, 8:50 a.m. CST
I snuck downstairs after my parents went to sleep to watch this when it premiered on cable and I'm still having nightmares about those damn crabs – 25 years later.
Oct. 8, 2008, 9:58 a.m. CST
I love that movies, It's amazing but I'm not sure why it's in the Horror movie pot. It's not a horror, not even close to it. fucking good though.
Oct. 8, 2008, 10:33 a.m. CST
by Wyatt Wingfoot
I'd hit it, HAWT!
Oct. 8, 2008, 11:02 a.m. CST
So can someone explain to me then: was this movie completely a dream? Who was sending the broadcast? If they had that power, why not just tell us what's going to happen and how to prevent it, instead of a grainy home movie of a woman walking out of a church? And as for the woman - is she satan? is she possessed? Is she simply freed? The movie just really fails at any kind of resolution.
Oct. 8, 2008, 11:17 a.m. CST
I agree with Tarantino when he says that Joon-ho Bong has that special kind of filmmaking charm that Spielberg has. He can make you laugh your ass off, then shit your pants a second later. Great filmmaker. I wouldn't exactly classify it as horror, though. It would make a good double bill with Zodiac.
Oct. 8, 2008, 11:48 a.m. CST
I wandered into it on cable, drawn by the lurid title, and had no idea I was gonna be watching a weird mash-up of a half-assed Amityville Horror rip-off and a samurai ghost story. Man, those crabs rocked.
Oct. 8, 2008, 12:44 p.m. CST
I mean, the review made me think of all those American GRUDGE remakes, with the pale Asian ghosts haunting American people. Tell me that face in the soup doesn't make you think of those freaky ghots that appear in the most random places... What say you, Quint?
Oct. 8, 2008, 2:12 p.m. CST
I'll take a stab at it.<br><br> The movie wasn't a dream. People from the future were sending the message, warning them about was about to happen and what they had to prevent (essentially a form of Satan's return to Earth).<br><br> They could only send the message back in time as a Tachyon (sp?) pulse which could only be sent in a form that the people in the church would receive in a dream. <br><br> The very ending, Mustache Guy, having the bad dream could have been a further Tachyon message, saying they really fucked up and now the girl that went into the mirror was going to come back possessed as Satan, OR it could simply have been a nightmare after his ordeal.
Oct. 8, 2008, 2:13 p.m. CST
You might remember me from such dates as Last Night's Dinner!
Oct. 8, 2008, 2:14 p.m. CST
On of the British birds who were always on tap for the T&A obligations...
Oct. 8, 2008, 2:53 p.m. CST
Susan George good! Fire bad!
Oct. 8, 2008, 4:01 p.m. CST
by Zoviet Squid
<p>I wonder if they're anything like the evil crabs in Night of the Seagulls.</p> <p>Also, Memories of Murder is a phenomenal movie, Quint. Who cares if it's not strictly horror - if I remember correctly, this entire month is all loosely based around what's frightening: serial killers and incompetent South Korean police definitely frighten me.</p> <p>Again, fantastic column - can't wait to read your thoughts.</p>
Oct. 8, 2008, 4:09 p.m. CST
by Zoviet Squid
Have you seen any of the Blind Dead films, Quint? They're not on your list - but if you haven't, definitely check them out. Very atmospheric, fantastic flicks (except maybe The Ghost Galleon).
Oct. 8, 2008, 4:50 p.m. CST
I have the collection, but I'm keeping them out of this month because I plan to hit them on the regular AMAD column.<BR><BR>The House Where Evil Dwells is definitely a precursor to the American J-Horror remakes... hell, look at the MGM DVD cover. Someone might actually accidentally grab that one instead of The Grudge if they happened to be on the same shelf.<BR><BR>And Prince of Darkness is the awesome. It's not Carpenter's best movie, but I've been saying for years that it's far and away his scariest movie. That movie still gives me the heebie jeebies, especially the "message" that is spoofed in the animation above, which, by the way, is one of the best we've seen out of Cartuna. Good job, dude!
Oct. 8, 2008, 5:55 p.m. CST
by The Amazing G
this is movie is a great unintentionally hilarious horror movie
Oct. 8, 2008, 10:23 p.m. CST
I saw this movie back when I was eight years old (I'm 29 now), and since then I have been trying to find it to prove that it was not a figment of my imagination.<br> Speaking of movies that I vaguely remember, I'm searching for another one. My sister made me watch this movie about a serial killer that gets burned badly, but escapes the hospital. He gets into a summer camp, and kills the counselors one by one. His weapon of choice is a pair of scissors. Do you know what this movie is?
Oct. 8, 2008, 10:30 p.m. CST
Sounds like The Burning to me. It's a great little flick, written by Harvey Weinstein of all people. Burnt baddie kills camp counselors with a pair of shears.
Oct. 9, 2008, 12:35 a.m. CST
I remember during the entire time I was watching it, asking my sister, "When are they going to show his face?" And then, at the end, when he does, I screamed like a little girl. There's an obscure horror film you could put on your list.
Oct. 9, 2008, 1:27 a.m. CST
...its GAIJIN. GWAILO is a CHINESE term so at least get your cultures straight so you dont come off as a GAIJIN or is it OK because its 'all asian' so it doesnt matter? Second" Crabs have had a spiritual/ghostly place in Japanese history since the Heike Monogatari when the Heike were defeated at the battle of Dan no Ura (a battle in an inlet). To this day the crabs there bear what looks like the faces of Japanese warriors on their carapice and are believed to be the spirits of the slain Heike samurai. Coincidence but I just rewwatched MY copy this week after many years and I still enjoyed it. This was around the same time Susan George did "Enter the Ninja" with Franco Nero and Sho Kusugi. Id love to see a remake of THWED....
Oct. 3, 2009, 11:35 p.m. CST
by The Amazing G
Feb. 15, 2010, 10:59 a.m. CST
Feb. 15, 2010, 1:25 p.m. CST
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