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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Kaidan semushi otoko" or "The Ghost of the Hunchback" or "House of Terrors")

 

Directed by Hajime Sat
Japan 1970

 

A recently widowed woman discovers that her former husband, who died in an insane asylum, owned a remote country mansion. She and a group of friends go to the villa and find a weird demonic statue in the hallway. They are joined by a hunchback caretaker who tells them of the numerous murders that have occurred there. Soon the guests begin to hear strange noises including disembodied laughter, and feel that they are being stalked by a disturbing presence that haunts the mansion. A rare Japanese film that was heavily influenced by US and European Gothic cinema of the 1960s, such as Mario Bava's MASK OF SATAN and Robert Wise's THE HAUNTING. Filmed in luminous black and white widescreen the film is a classic of Gothic horror with many genuinely scary scenes. Packed with bizarre characters and strange occurrences the film builds to a surprising and horrifying climax. Director Hajime Sat is best known for his 1979 film Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell. This is the film's first US release and a world premiere on Blu-ray.

***

A man, Chonin Mitake, dies crazy after long agony, and his dead body is cremated. His widow Yoshi, investigating on the past of her husband, goes to the mansion where he had lived, a building previously nicknamed "Satan's Pit" (a suggestive statue of Satan is situated in the atrium of the mansion) managed by a hunchbacked caretaker. Soon some visitors reach the house. The hunchbacked keeper warns them...

Posters

Theatrical Release: 1965

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Review: Mondo Macabro - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Mondo Macabro - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:20:28.865        
Video

2.38:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,112,178,233 bytes

Feature: 21,456,045,504 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.92 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio Japanese 1603 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1603 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Mondo Macabro

 

2.38:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,112,178,233 bytes

Feature: 21,456,045,504 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.92 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio Commentary by Tom Mes
Hunchback Pit or House (Patrick Macais on House of Terrors) (3:47)
Silent Waves - Patrick Macais on Toei Horror (3:36)
Italian Theatrical Trailer (4:05)
Italian Opening Credits (1:01)
Mondo Macabro trailer reel (13:10)


Blu-ray Release Date: January 10th, 2023

Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 8

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Mondo Macabro Blu-ray (January 2023): Mondo Macabro have transferred Hajime Sat's House of Terrors to Blu-ray. It is on a single-layered disc with a high bitrate. Contrast appears somewhat murky but the 1080P image is consistent throughout and looks fine, if dull-ish, on my system.

NOTE: We have added 90 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Mondo Macabro use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (16-bit) in the original Japanese language. No DUB. House of Terrors has few aggressive moments that come through with modest depth and a score by Shunsuke Kikuchi (The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, Sister Street Fighter, Gamera vs. Guiron, Snake Woman's Curse and many more) adding to the spookiness and tension. Dialogue is consistent dialogue and clean - as is all the audio in the lossless transfer. Mondo Macabro offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Mondo Macabro Blu-ray offers a new commentary by Tom Mes (co-author of The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film.) He talks about how the film has been out of circulation for a long time existing for many years via a censored Italian Dubbed bootleg with different, English-friendly credits used (see posters above.) He tells us how it is an economic film running 1-hour 20-minutes with events occurring in a reasonable pace, how the hunchback (K Nishimura) kind of resembles Christopher Lee, he talks about how they shot Gothic architecture in Japan sourcing Erin Blakemore's article "How Victorian Mansions Became the Default Haunted House", that Toei produced a series of horrors in the late 50's /60's, having similarities to Hammer or Italian genre films, what the house may represent regarding politics and WW2, actress Masumi Harukawa (Akemi Yokota the deceased's Mistress) being in Shohei Imamura's Intentions of Murder the previous year, about Quasimodo / hunchbacks in film, Gothic cinema tropes and much more. He's very informative, laid back and enjoyable to listen to with only a few short gaps. I appreciate this inclusion. There is also a short video Hunchback, Pit or House with Patrick Macias discussing House of Terrors and another entry of Silent Waves with him on Toei Horror, filmed in Zushi, Kanagawa, Japan, as found on Mondo Macabro's A Haunted Turkish Bathhouse Blu-ray. Lastly are the Italian theatrical trailer and Italian opening credits plus the usual lengthy Mondo Macabro trailer reel.  

Hajime Sat's House of Terrors certainly echoes Robert Wise's 1963 The Haunting (ex. the door being sucked-in.) I thought director Sat (Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell) did a good job with this and next made Terror Beneath the Sea - an early role for Sonny Chiba. I've enjoyed every Toei studios 50's / 60's horror that I have seen - they only made maybe 5 every decade. This is jammed full of spooky conventions, a Gothic mansion in a contemporary milieu, apparitions, self-slamming doors, and even a hunchback (K Nishimura - known for roles in Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961), The Bad Sleep Well (1960) and High and Low (1963.) I loved it. The Mondo Macabro Blu-ray allows this gem to resurface in a solid transfer with an edifying commentary. Japanese horror genre fans don't want to miss this one.

Gary Tooze

 


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Distribution Mondo Macabro - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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