The Films 2/5 (House), / 2/5 (Ghost Warrior)
Scream Factory continues its trend in double features on blu ray with a pair of Samurai horror/action movies, The House Where Evil Dwells and Ghost Warrior (AKA Swordkill). Both films are part of the MGM library.
The first feature, The House Where Evil Dwells is about a couple Edward Albert (Galaxy of Terror, Mind Games ), Susan George (Straw Dogs, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry) in the roles of Ted and Laura Fletcher who have moved to a new home in Kyoto, Japan where they will do some work for a magazine company . Doug McClure (The Land That Time Forgot) as Alex the family friend who finds the home for them to live in. Unknowingly, they happen to be living in a haunted house that was occupied one hundred years ago by a married Japanese woman and her lover. After a gratuitous sex scene between the two, they were both brutally killed by the extremely incensed husband, who also kills himself by thrusting his sword through his stomach. The ghosts still live in the house that the Fletchers now live in! They start to create problems with the married couple including taking over their bodies, behaving awkwardly, and with yet some more gratuitous adultery love making, basically reenacting the same happenings that happened with the married Japanese woman and her lover. The best part of the film, at least to me, is the large crab creatures that attack some children. While it’s not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, The House Where Evil Dwells does have some really good fun, yet campy moments. It has a good amount of gore and nudity. I found it hard to believe Kevin Connor directed this trashy classic after directing some good monster thrillers such as Warlords of Atlantis, At the Earth’s Core, The Land That Time Forgot and The People That Time Forgot
The second feature, Ghost Warrior starring Hiroshi Fujioka (Kamen Rider himself!) as a Samurai (Yoshimitsu) who falls into a lake during a battle with a clan that killed his wife, and gets frozen alive. Four hundred years later, his body is found by two skiers in modern day 1984 Los Angeles. Yoshimitsu is then revived through cryosurgery. From there tries to adapt to his surroundings only to be involved in more violence, fighting gangs, the law, you name it. No there are no real horror elements like its co-feature; the only thing in common is the samurai theme and some bloody killing. It had action, suspense, gore but ultimately I didn’t find to be especially interesting. This movie was an Empire pictures production which has that same atmosphere that films from Albert and Charles Band had during this era. And if you are a fan of those films, you will probably enjoy this as well.
Audio/ Video (4/5, 3.75/5)
Presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and in 1080p with an AVC encode, The House Where Evil Dwells has never looked better. With a much higher resolution, this release, featuring a brand new HD transfer, is just stunning, excellent colors, you can see the characters in the dark and grain is present. As for Ghost Warrior, Scream presents this film in 1:85:1, 1080p also with an AVC encode and looks really good too, especially the daylight scenes. Dark scenes are fine, grain is present. Really good overall !
Both films’ audio is a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track and both dialog and music are perfectly fine
Extras (0.5/5, 0.5/5)
The only extras these two films have are trailers. Hey, at least they are in HD, which MGM would probably never do themselves. Maybe the ratings for the extras should be not applicable as the films just have trailers. Sometimes films that are licensed from the studios will not have supplements due to people being unavailable, or uninterested. Supplemental enthusiasts may not be too thrilled but that’s the way it goes.
Overall, this is a really solid double feature release from Scream Factory. I believe those who are into low budget campy 80s horror will enjoy both films. I can certainly give Shout Factory a pass for no extras which I can understand that’s how it is for some releases, and also for the fact that both movies now look the best that they ever will. These movies are both good examples of what HD can do for older titles. Recommended !