Wow, this film takes the cake on batshit craziness. Though it owes a lot to THE BURNT OFFERINGS (1976), AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979), and THE SHINING (1980) which were released a few years before it, THE HOUSE WHERE EVIL DWELLS certainly gets points for originality. Sure there’s the usual haunted house scenario where shit starts flying off tables and lights flicker on and off while the male lead (played by Edward Albert, son of GREEN ACRES Eddie Albert, here) gets possessed and attacks his family, but the weird stuff that goes on in between makes this film one you might want to seek out for some unintentional laughs.
One might also want to seek out THE HOUSE WHERE EVIL DWELLS because it features the late great Susan George (who plays an American housewife possessed by a slutty Asian whore). You read that parenthetical bit right; the thing that really sets this apart is that it is about a haunted house in Kyoto, Japan. Much like a more recent hit, THE GRUDGE, it takes the hauntings international minus the croaking children. The house was the site of a terrible murder suicide as a husband finds his wife in bed with another man, then chops the both of them to bits with a samurai sword, then turns the sword on himself.
Flash forward 100 years and the three ghosts are still haunting the place. George’s character Laura, her husband Ted (Albert), and their daughter move in with the help of Ted’s friend Alex. Soon, the slutty ghost possesses Laura who begins having an affair with Alex while Ted is busy writing his novel. Fans of the modern haunted house drama will recognize a lot of the stuff going on as the ancient ghosts threaten the modern family. But just when you think this is going to be your typical haunted house film, it jumps right into the river of crazy headfirst and doesn’t come up for air.
Most of the craziest shit in the film happens to Laura and Ted’s daughter who is haunted by a ghostly bowl of soup (Ted, possessed by one of the ghosts, later forces her to chug the piping hot bowl) and then is attacked by giant, evil, moaning crabs! If those events didn’t screw the kid up for life, just you wait until the film’s ending which ensures that she’ll be needing heavy therapy for the rest of her life.
After a kick ass, bloody samurai opening, the film slows to a crawl for about 45 minutes (though the multiple scenes of Susan George whoring around in the buff was pleasant to sit through), but the last half hour of this film rocks. THE HOUSE WHERE EVIL DWELLS is one of those insane films that is meant for midnight screenings or just watching it with a group of buddies and multiple drinks and shots. Though not as amazing as his simply classic MOTEL HELL, mad bastard director Kevin Connor continues to pump out the insanely fun ideas in THE HOUSE WHERE EVIL DWELLS. Gory, fun, and so randomly insane you can’t help but love it, THE HOUSE WHERE EVIL DWELLS is one haunted house film that, despite its similarities to others of its time, stands out as the loopiest.