Director – Hajime Sato (The Glorious Ghost, Terror Beneath the Sea)
Starring – Ko Nishimura (47 Ronin, Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis), Yuko Kusunoki (Goke: Body Snatcher from Hell, The Call of Flesh), and Shinjiro Ebara (Invasion of the Neptune Men, Ninja Hunt)
Release Date – 1965
Rating – 3.5/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5
If you have followed the site or my reviews for any length of time you may have noticed that most Mondo Macabro releases comes in three and it’s rare for me to like all of them. Usually one or two of them don’t sit well with me while one or so makes the releases worth it. However, this is the first time in awhile that Mondo Macabro has released three films together and they all were hits.
After watching In the Folds of the Flesh and A Haunted Turkish Bathhouse I quickly took the dive into The House of Terrors aka The Ghost of the Hunchback and Satan’s Pit. Like many of Mondo Macacabro’s releases, this was a new one to me and I couldn’t wait to dig into this Japanese horror flick. Like always, I want to thank Mondo Macabro and CAB for sending this one over.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a young woman who finds herself dealing with the unexpected death of her husband. After his death she discovers that he owned a second home which was a mansion complete with it’s own caretaker. The hunchback was tasked with taking care of the property for her late husband but warns her and her friends who are investigating the property that others have suffered strange deaths on the grounds. They disregard their warnings and soon find themselves surrounded by a sinister force. **Spoiler Alert**
I didn’t know what to expect from The House of Terrors, but it did not disappoint at all. It was a great blend of mystery and haunted house horror with just a small dash of drama. It’s a great looking paranormal film with some great atmosphere and imagery. I wasn’t a fan of some of the scenes and revealing too much of the story early on, but I liked it especially as a late-night watch.
The acting in this one is a little inconsistent but enjoyable. We get some scenes where the cast is well grounded yet generic. The characters are what you would expect from a horror by numbers piece, but the cast does a decent job during these scenes. However, during the more tense and suspenseful scenes the cast really hammed it up. They were extremely over-dramatic which added an unintentional sense of humor to a scene that would have been perfect without it. It really destroyed the atmosphere and suspense the film was building up to.
The story for this one is pretty simple and you don’t have to really pay attention to predict what is going to happen because the film itself tells you from time to time. The foreshadowing is too blatant and does more damage to the story than good. I wish the story would have unfolded naturally allowing the viewer to make guesses as to what is really going on instead of being force fed the “twists.”
Finally, this is not a film filled with blood. Instead, we get some great gothic images and some seriously impressive atmosphere. I loved the look of the location and the supernatural scenes had that classic look about them. Overall, The House of Terrors is an effective Japanese haunted house film with a story that doesn’t leave itself up to the viewer to figure out. Instead, it just tells you the twists before they happen. It’s the perfect watch for a late night scare but it does hold itself back from becoming something timeless. Check it out.
Brand new 2k transfer from film negative, digitally restored
Introduction to the film by Patrick Macias, author of TokyoScope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion
Audio commentary from Tom Mes
Patrick Macias on Toei horror films
Exclusive new cover art from Justin Coffee
Mondo Macabro previews