Tonights Screening at Eyesore adds to the 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEENERS!
SWEET HOME (1989)
A Japanese haunted house flick that has some very pleasant surprises.
It was in a co promotion with a video game of the same name in the same year that has ties to the people who would later bring us Resident Evil.
Because of this fact I was expecting some very wacky ghost hijinks but that is not the fact. Definitely inspired by many western ghost stories and films. While still having many heaven and hell references in both eastern and western culture references this film was definitely inspired by Poltergeist. Small and sweet and first with some lightly humorous characters soons turns to some very epic magical horror. The blowing winds and bright lights with warped ghostly images while a young daughters life being pulled over to the otherside…you know like in Poltergeist. Director Kiyosi Kurosawa tends to lead towards bleeding dark shadows and distorted red lights instead Tobe Hooper’s go to electric blue lights. The premise of the film also feels a little ahead of its time as a film crew enter a haunted house just to film the old paintings and relics in the mansion but eventually get attacked by a vicious dark and somewhat faceless presence in the house. The film crews producer Mr Kazou has brought his daughter Emi with him to the mansion. Emi is determined to hook up her widower father with the film crews co producer Akiko. Akiko and Emi are very strong female leads that really are all you need in this movie however with a small cast each character feels like they have a place and are very easy to relate to.
It starts off very slow but when it kicks it and the first victims are taken its so intense a scene that you are thrown right out of your seat. A slightly spoiler but the victims of the evil shadowy poltergeists must go through a burning that symbolises the tortue the spirits went through. So the victims bubbles and burn to even over flow like lava from their bodies, which is shockingly gorey for such a literally happy fantasy of a movie. There is a huge animatronic ghost later in the movie that by today’s snobby film nerd will either feel like a giant muppet to you or will feel much more tangible then a cgi effect would do today. If you are like me you will be refreshed by this practical effect movie. Simple effects of moving shadows that make the wall crawling ghost of movies like Frighteners seen weak on comparison.
All in all Sweet Home is a underappreciated gimmick of a film that mixes western and eastern haunted imagery with incredible practical effects and it is a shame that it does not get talked about anywhere near enough.
Great screening with a small crowd again tonight but I hope we see you all on video store day this freakin Saturday!!!