The House Where Evil Dwells (1982)

R | 88 mins | Horror | 14 May 1982

Director:

Kevin Connor

Producer:

Martin B. Cohen

Cinematographer:

Jacques Haitkin

Editor:

Barry Peters

Production Designer:

Yoshikazu Sano

Production Company:

United Artists
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HISTORY

A 4 May 1978 HR news item announced that production company Avco Embassy was interested in purchasing film rights to James Hardiman’s first novel, Where Evil Dwells. On 20 Aug 1980 HR stated that producer Martin B. Cohen of Baruch Productions had acquired the property; although a 27 Nov 1981 DV article by Will Tusher pointed out that the original novel the film was to be based on was never published. Screenwriter Robert A. Suhosky was the former partner of the novel's author, James Hardiman, at a public relations firm. The 20 Aug 1980 HR expected principal photography to begin in Japan before the end of that year.
       The following spring, a 3 Mar 1981 HR article noted that Cambridge Film Group Ltd., where Cohen served as executive vice president, planned to invest $40 million in their 1981 projects, although no picture would exceed a budget of $7 million. Included in the production schedule was Where Evil Dwells, which would be co-produced with an unnamed Japanese company for $4 million. Filming was originally expected to start Sep 1981, however, a 22 Jul 1981 DV brief reported a new start date of 16 Aug 1981, in Kyoto, Japan.
       A 3 Aug 1981 DV item stated that William Cruse & Co. would provide special effects, although the company is not credited onscreen. Production notes in AMPAS library files described the artists and technicians’ use of a special camera prism, high-speed film stock, and diffusion and color control techniques to create the “ghosts” on the set. United Artists promotional materials dated 2 ...

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A 4 May 1978 HR news item announced that production company Avco Embassy was interested in purchasing film rights to James Hardiman’s first novel, Where Evil Dwells. On 20 Aug 1980 HR stated that producer Martin B. Cohen of Baruch Productions had acquired the property; although a 27 Nov 1981 DV article by Will Tusher pointed out that the original novel the film was to be based on was never published. Screenwriter Robert A. Suhosky was the former partner of the novel's author, James Hardiman, at a public relations firm. The 20 Aug 1980 HR expected principal photography to begin in Japan before the end of that year.
       The following spring, a 3 Mar 1981 HR article noted that Cambridge Film Group Ltd., where Cohen served as executive vice president, planned to invest $40 million in their 1981 projects, although no picture would exceed a budget of $7 million. Included in the production schedule was Where Evil Dwells, which would be co-produced with an unnamed Japanese company for $4 million. Filming was originally expected to start Sep 1981, however, a 22 Jul 1981 DV brief reported a new start date of 16 Aug 1981, in Kyoto, Japan.
       A 3 Aug 1981 DV item stated that William Cruse & Co. would provide special effects, although the company is not credited onscreen. Production notes in AMPAS library files described the artists and technicians’ use of a special camera prism, high-speed film stock, and diffusion and color control techniques to create the “ghosts” on the set. United Artists promotional materials dated 2 Mar 1982 stated that art director Yoshikazu Sano modeled a set after a supposedly haunted house in Kyoto, hiring the roof thatcher of the original house to replicate the structure. Additionally, producers called in a Japanese priest to conduct a Shinto “O’Harai” ceremony at the studio location to “guard against any occult forces that might lurk on the set” during production.
       The 27 Nov 1981 DV reported a budget of $3 million, while a 12 Mar 1982 HR article estimated the final cost at $2.8 million. According to DV, Cohen paid Toei Motion Picture Company $1.5 million for the use of one-and-one-half of the Kyoto studio’s eighteen stages. Despite assurance that there would be no penalties for running over schedule, production was completed in thirty-six days—well under the ninety days Toei originally calculated. The article suggested that filming was able to finish quickly due to the lack of various Hollywood union regulations: although Screen Actors Guild (SAG) rules were observed for the American actors, the Japanese cast “never left the set,” working 8:00 am to 9:00 pm, and remaining on “temporary standby.”
       However, multiple complications arose during production, such as the lack of toilet facilities and dressing rooms on location, the lack of chairs on set, and the transportation of equipment by van and bus, instead of trucks. The sound stages had dirt floors, which had to be dampened with water to prevent dust from appearing on camera. In addition, Cohen replaced two of his female interpreters with Japanese-speaking American youths, after discovering that many male Japanese crewmembers were disregarding the instructions being given by the women. As stated in the 12 Mar 1982 DV, Cohen also claimed to have experienced difficulty finding Japanese actors who could speak English.
       Despite these obstacles, Cohen reported that equivalent production values would have cost $6 million in the U.S. The picture, which was shot on Fuji film stock, was expected to open late spring or early summer 1982. The 27 Nov 1982 HR reported a “multiple opening” scheduled for Apr 1982.
       The 7 May 1982 HR announced a release date of 14 May 1982 in eighty-five New York City area theaters. According to a United Artists press release, two teams of Japanese martial arts students helped promote the film from 12 May 1982 until 15 May 1982 by giving demonstrations throughout Manhattan. A 1 Dec 1982 DV news item reported that three Japanese Shinto priests were hired to “exorcise” the Pacific Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA, prior to its 3 Dec 1982 release there.
       A 2 Aug 1982 United Artists press release announced that the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror hosted a special screening to honor the film with the Golden Scroll Award for Outstanding Achievement.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
HISTORY CREDITS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
22 Jul 1981
---
Daily Variety
3 Aug 1981
---
Daily Variety
27 Nov 1981
p. 1, 13
Daily Variety
1 Dec 1982
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 1978
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 1980
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 1981
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 1982
p. 1, 4
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 1982
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 1982
p. 8
Los Angeles Times
3 Dec 1982
p. 6
New York Times
14 May 1982
p. 15
Variety
19 May 1982
p. 23, 27
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Martin B. Cohen Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit cam, For Martin B. Cohen Productions
Lighting dir
Still photog
Laboratory Japan
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
COSTUMES
Ward, For Martin B. Cohen Productions
MUSIC
Mus cond, For Martin B. Cohen Productions
SOUND
Sd ed, For Martin B. Cohen Productions
MAKEUP
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to Mr. Cohen, For Martin B. Cohen Productions
Prod coord, For Martin B. Cohen Productions
Scr supv, For Martin B. Cohen Productions
Prod asst, For Martin B. Cohen Productions
Prod asst, For Martin B. Cohen Productions
Prod asst, For Martin B. Cohen Productions
Completion guarantee, For Martin B. Cohen Producti
Consultant, For Martin B. Cohen Productions
Pub relations, For Martin B. Cohen Productions
Post prod, For Martin B. Cohen Productions
Facilities, equip & crew
Exec vice president gen dir
Dir of prod
Exec in charge of prod
Asst to dir
Scr supv
Casting
Translator
Translator
Translator
Prod mgr
Asst prod mgr
STAND INS
Sword choreog
SOURCES
LITERARY
From the novel Where Evil Dwells by James Hardiman (unpublished).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Where Evil Dwells
Release Date:
14 May 1982
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 14 May 1982; Los Angeles opening: 3 Dec 1982
Production Date:
16 Aug--mid Sep 1981 in Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Commercial Credit Services Holdings, Ltd.
16 June 1982
PA146251
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
88
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Japan, United States
Languages:
Japanese, English
PCA No:
26559
SYNOPSIS

In the Kushiata region of 1840 Kyoto, Japan, a man and woman meet in a darkened house and fondle a small figurine of two lovers in a passionate embrace. As the man and woman make love, an older man arrives at the house and sees the lovers' silhouettes through the screen wall. Enraged, he slices through the barrier with his katana sword, destroying the room; he then chops off the younger man’s head, stabs the woman, and kills himself. A storm blows the figurine into the rubble and encases the house in darkness. In contemporary Japan, an American diplomat named Alex goes to the airport to meet his two friends, Ted and Laura, and their young daughter, Amy, who have moved to Japan for Ted’s job as a writer. In the car, Alex announces that he found a 200 year-old house for the family to rent at a low rate. He admits that the house is supposedly haunted, but Ted is excited by the idea. At the house, the family admires their spacious new home, and Alex says goodbye. That night, the light in Laura’s room repeatedly turns off automatically, but Ted blames a faulty switch. Later, Ted awakens to see three blue, ghostly figures in the doorway, which disappear when he turns on the light. He and Laura make love. The next morning, a Zen monk arrives to warn Ted that the house contains dark spirits; he advises Ted to visit him at the temple should any problems arise. Meanwhile, Laura finds the figurine lodged under the stairs and shows it to her husband, who identifies it as a netsuke carving. While the couple talks, the female ghost ...

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In the Kushiata region of 1840 Kyoto, Japan, a man and woman meet in a darkened house and fondle a small figurine of two lovers in a passionate embrace. As the man and woman make love, an older man arrives at the house and sees the lovers' silhouettes through the screen wall. Enraged, he slices through the barrier with his katana sword, destroying the room; he then chops off the younger man’s head, stabs the woman, and kills himself. A storm blows the figurine into the rubble and encases the house in darkness. In contemporary Japan, an American diplomat named Alex goes to the airport to meet his two friends, Ted and Laura, and their young daughter, Amy, who have moved to Japan for Ted’s job as a writer. In the car, Alex announces that he found a 200 year-old house for the family to rent at a low rate. He admits that the house is supposedly haunted, but Ted is excited by the idea. At the house, the family admires their spacious new home, and Alex says goodbye. That night, the light in Laura’s room repeatedly turns off automatically, but Ted blames a faulty switch. Later, Ted awakens to see three blue, ghostly figures in the doorway, which disappear when he turns on the light. He and Laura make love. The next morning, a Zen monk arrives to warn Ted that the house contains dark spirits; he advises Ted to visit him at the temple should any problems arise. Meanwhile, Laura finds the figurine lodged under the stairs and shows it to her husband, who identifies it as a netsuke carving. While the couple talks, the female ghost walks into Laura’s body. Laura asks Ted why Alex never married, and makes a suggestive remark about her feelings toward their friend. As Laura feels the spirit leave her body, she apologizes for her offhand comment. Later, at a street festival in Tokyo, Japan, Ted takes photographs of a woman he sees through his lens, but when he lowers the camera from his face, she disappears. Meanwhile, Alex telephones Laura to invite her and Ted to a party; the female ghost possesses Laura again, and she insists Alex come to visit her at the house. When Ted develops the photographs, the woman is missing from the frame. During dinner, the female ghost overturns a plate of food. The night of the party, Laura puts the netsuke carving in her purse and dances with Alex, before taking him to a private garden where she kisses him. Ted leaves the event with three Japanese magazine agents who wish to discuss business. They drink, and, sometime later, Ted awakens from a drunken sleep in a restaurant booth, with a woman named Wakako draped over him. As he dances with her, she transforms into the woman Ted saw in his camera. She reveals her name to be Otami, but quickly changes back into Wakako. At the house the next morning, the sink faucet turns on automatically, causing Laura to become anxious. While she and Amy go shopping, the female ghost awakens Ted. Later, the older male ghost stabs his sword into Ted’s desk, and the ghostly blue weapon turns to metal. Frightened, Ted visits the monk, who says that many years earlier, a young girl named Otami fell in love with Masanori, a samurai student of her husband, Shugoro. When Laura and Amy return home, Ted admires the demonic masks they purchased, but yells at his wife for spending so much money. He apologizes, however, and they embrace. During dinner, Amy sees a ghostly blue face in her soup, and refuses to eat. Shugoro’s ghost possesses Ted, and he forces the soup down Amy’s throat. The next morning, Ted urges Laura and Amy to accompany him on his business trip that day, but Laura insists they will be fine at home. After Laura sends Amy away with a babysitter, she invites Alex to the house and they make love. Meanwhile, Ted photographs a group of Japanese crab-divers called “Ama.” Otami takes the form of one of the drivers and pulls Ted under the water. That night, Laura receives a telephone call, informing her that Ted is in the hospital, and she leaves Amy home with the babysitter. As the girl sleeps, the male ghosts possess two spider crabs and they chase Amy outside. The girl climbs a tree, but falls to the ground. When Ted and Laura return home, the police report that Amy has been hospitalized. One week later, one of the masks flies off the wall and falls onto the table in front of Laura, prompting her to proclaim that she hates the house. Ted destroys the mask with a katana, which causes Laura to convulse in pain. After resting, Laura telephones Alex to end their affair, declaring that she loves her husband. Sometime later, the Zen monk explains that Amy swallowed the ghost’s soul when she drank the soup, and instructs the family to return home the next day. He performs a ritual, scattering powder throughout the rooms and chasing the three ghosts outside. Laura cries, crouched in the corner of the room. Just then, Alex enters the house, unknowingly letting the ghosts inside with him. Learning of the affair, Ted punches Alex, and the two men fight. As Otami possesses Laura, Shugoro enters Ted’s body, improving his fighting skills. He and Alex duel with katanas until Ted beheads Alex. Ted drives his sword into Laura’s stomach before he commits suicide. The ghosts rise from the corpses and exit the house, leaving behind the netsuke carving.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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