The House Where Evil Dwells (1982)

This could have been interesting a Japan-set haunted house story from the viewpoint of a newly-installed American family but falls flat due to an over-simplified treatment and the unsuitability of both cast and director.

The film suffers from the same problem I often encounter with the popular modern renaissance of such native fare, i.e. the fact that the spirits demonstrate themselves to be evil for no real reason other than that they’re expected to! Besides, it doesn’t deliver much in the scares department a giant crab attack is merely silly as, generally, the ghosts inhabit a specific character and cause him or her to act in a totally uncharacteristic way, such as Susan George seducing diplomat/friend-of-the-family Doug McClure and Edward Albert force-feeding his daughter a bowl of soup!

At one point, an old monk turns up at the house to warn Albert of the danger if they remain there eventually, he’s called upon to exorcise the premises. However, history is bound to repeat itself and tragedy is the only outcome of the tense situation duly created leading to a violent yet unintentionally funny climax in which Albert and McClure, possessed by the spirits of their Japanese predecessors, engage in an impromptu karate duel to the death! At the end of the day, this emerges an innocuous time-waster tolerable at just 88 minutes but, in no way, essential viewing.