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The House Where Evil Dwells / Ghost Warrior – Double Feature (Blu-ray Review)

Ghost-WarriorScream Factory presents a double dose of samurai action with The House Where Evil Dwells & Ghost Warrior on Blu-ray on January 5, 2016.  These two martial arts- themed thrillers from the 80s are now finally available for the first time on Blu-ray, in a release including a new high-definition transfer for The House Where Evil Dwells.  Both films are a really weird mish mash of noble samurai films, 80s Cannon ninja movies and then Japanese ghost horror stories.  While neither is a film related to the other in terms of story or continuity, they both are a perfect match to be put onto a release together.  Through some cool old effects, throwback fun and sheer hilarity at some of the ridiculousness of both, those willing to take this adventure with Scream Factory should find themselves with some enjoyment.

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The House Where Evil Dwells 

A century ago, a samurai brutally murdered his adulterous wife and her lover before taking his own life. Now, the Fletcher family has found what they think is their perfect Japanese home – not knowing it’s the same house where the murders occurred. But as strange events escalate and the ghosts of the dead toy with the living, the Fletchers discover they’ve become unwitting players in a horrible reenactment…one which they may not survive!

Basically with The House Where Evil Dwells, you have that ghost story where people become possessed and start reenacting the ghosts failings or the events that lead to their doom.  Here, however its done with some unintended silliness and poor overacting that helps keep it afloat.  The film has a sort of weird and unsexy, sexual vibe its trying to pull off.  However, it comes across as kind odd and slightly gross.

The film has things there to maintain a bizarre midnight movie aspect, but in the second act is starts to dull up where nothing really interesting happens.  Act three does pick up things for quite the doozy of an off the wall finale that rewards for sitting through it.  Overall, you can see everything in this movie coming from two towns over, which does hurt some parts a bit.

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Ghost Warrior 

Frozen in ice for over 300 years a deadly samurai warrior… lives again! While exploring a cave, two skiers find the body of a 400-year-old samurai warrior entombed in ice. He is brought to the United States in a hush-hush operation and revived through cryosurgery. Unfortunately, he is then forced to battle for his freedom, dignity and life.

Now, this one is more like it.  Of course, we have Charles Band behind it, so the much more intended embracing of high concept and cheesiness.  What would have been great is if the film would have had a title that embraced the embodiment of it too.  How cool would “San Francisco Samurai” or “A Samurai In The Big Apple” for a title about a frozen samurai warrior who gets dethawed to take up his mantle and become a street vigilante in the “modern” times?

This one moves at a lot better pace, featuring much more just stuff happening.  Its knowingly goofy, but able to not get stuck on that and tell its story with a straight face.  The film features a lot of 80s B-movie charm that many people (present company included) tend to love.  It works as a cheap B-grade action/samurai movie hybrid with some unintended humor in places.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: The House Where Evil Dwells – 1.78:1 / Ghost Warrior – 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:   Both films feature very nice images that look clean and as crisp as they can.  It doesn’t look like a heck of a lot of tampering was done with them.  There are impressive details here as I really liked the look of the smoke and fog in Ghost Warrior.  Both films have prints that look like they are in good condition and transfer over quite well.

Depth:  Both are decent in terms of depth.  Characters and objects do feel free and move smoothly in their environments.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and deep on both films.  Minimal detail is lost during really dark scenes, but they work for shading and atmosphere.  No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are pretty bold and hold a natural look to them.  Some things, like Susan George’s eye make-up stick out as well as some poppy colors, but mostly this is held in check.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout.  Close-ups feature the most well rounded look at details like stubble, wrinkles or make-up.

Noise/Artifacts:  Some grain, dirt and specs.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA (The House Where Evil Dwells – Mono, Ghost Warrior – Stereo)

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  Both films features have some solid and slightly above average audio presentations.  Their original theatrical mixes more than do the job, but don’t expect anything wow’ing.  Ghost Warrior is the cleaner, less analog sounding of the two.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Audio is clear and plenty audible throughout.

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Extras 

This double feature comes with additional promo images on the reverse side of the cover insert.

The House Where Evil Dwells Trailer (HD, 1:07)

Ghost Warrior Trailer (HD, 3:00)

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Summary 

I entered these two blind, having never seen them.  They’re both solid for what they are.  Ghost Warrior is the more entertaining of the two easily, unless Susan George sex scenes win you over.  The presentations on both are very solid.  At the right price, this is a decent pick up if this is your sort of thing or you are a Scream Factory / Shout! Factory collector.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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