Sweet Home (1989)

Sweet Home is a long-lost Japanese splatter horror masterpiece released in 1989, with amazing special effects by Dick Smith, who is the guy that did the makeup for The Exorcist.

A bunch of people go to an old deserted mansion in the woods to film a documentary about some paintings the previous owner of the mansion made:

Kazuo: The producer of the documentary. He has brought his daughter Emi with him. He kind of looks like Japanese Jackie Gleason but sadly does not threaten to punch any people to the moon. His wife is dead and while he isn't looking for a new one, Emi is desperate for a new mom.
Akiko: The director. She has feelings for Kazuo but can't admit it.
Emi: Kazuo's awful daughter, tagging along with her dad on her summer vacation. She spends most of her time fawning over Akiko and asking her to become her mom. She is supposed to be a young schoolgirl, but in real life the actress playing her is 26 years old and looks like it, which makes her scenes with Akiko sort of creepy. It would be like me walking up to some 45 year old guy and begging him to be my daddy.
Ryo: The cameraman. He's annoying enough that you don't mind when he dies horribly.
Asuka: The "reporter" who will be presenting the documentary. She goes around acting like a prima donna, so you can probably tell ahead of time what is gonna happen to her.

They all arrive at the mansion, find the paintings and start filming but pretty soon Asuka goes crazy and digs up some old dead baby from out in the yard. Everyone knows that when you find one of those, well, you treasure it like the... er... treasure that it is. And so she does, which makes everyone else pretty uncomfortable.

This crazy old guy down at the gas station ends up telling Akiko that the spirit of Madam Mamiya, who lost her baby to a fire, is haunting the mansion so they should all get out of there. Of course they don't, and before you know it Emi is running around going, "Mom... is that you?" at every shadow she sees, like girls do in these kinds of movies.

I can't describe how much this bothers me when it happens in horror movies. Some lady will be exploring a hidden cave underneath the ocean and then the sea monster will take the form of her favorite uncle who died in a freak accident where he fell into a vat of acid and then the acid vat exploded and then the building the vat was in burned down in flames thirty years ago and she will be like, "Uncle Bob! Is that you???"

But the good thing is that after this Emi is pretty much gone until the end of the movie, so we can get on with watching people getting dissolved to death by evil ghost shadows which is where this movie excels.

So the special effects are amazing, it's genuinely scary, the acting (with the exception of Emi) is fine, and at just over 90 minutes the pacing is perfect. So why is this movie so rare? It is because it is a cursed movie and if you watch it you will die in seven days! Just kidding. It's because immediately after it was released on VHS and LD the director sued the studio and so now the rights are all over the place and I guess the movie will never be officially released again. Now we have to watch bootlegs, so thanks a lot, guy that directed this movie.


stalepie said...

... And it was made into a Famicom game by the same name.


newtmonkey said...

It was made into a fine game indeed!