SWEET HOME (1989 JAPAN) D/W: KIYOSHI KUROSAWA P: SHOGO SAISHO
Cross THE HAUNTING with Fulci`s THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY and you`ll get a vague idea of this film`s intention. Unfortunately it`s not as good as it`s influences. Tv producer Shingo Yamashiro, his small crew and his daughter (Nokko, former lead singer for Rebecca, a decade too old for her role) arrive at a crumbling old mansion to uncover a great artist`s final fresco. They also disturb a malevolent spirit which manifests itself with the aid of Dick Smith`s FX team. Mostly boring and badly paced, with badly judged light comic touches (and particularly annoying whimsical musical cues), the narrative occasionaly stops dead for a pretty cool SFX set-piece (by far the best thing about it). Juzo Itami (riding high on the success of his TAXING WOMAN movies) was the Executive Producer, so no-one could stop him casting himself in old-age make-up as a gas-station attendant who has a long, pretentious singing scene. He also got to cast his wife Nobuko Miyamoto as the star (as usual). With Fukumi Kuroda, future newsreader Ichiro Furutachi (it was funny to watch him split in half and ooze gore, only a few minutes later to shut the video off and see him behind a desk reading the headlines on tv), Toru Masuoka and Noboru Mitani. Kurosawa (an unabashed Tobe Hooper fan) later honed his skills and directed his energy towards more creepy, concise gems like CURE. There was also a tie-in SWEET HOME Nintendo video game from Capcom.

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