23 August 2010 | trentreid-1
key film in the development of the survival horror genre
This is a fun movie directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa and produced by Juzo Itami, who also appears in his last acting role as an Early Times whiskey-swilling mysterious good 'ol boy alongside wife and frequent star Nobuko Miyamoto. In the doc Building the Inferno from Criterion's 'Jigoku' disc, Kiyoshi Kurosawa mentions that he tried to get Jigoku's production designer Haruyasu Kurosawa to work on Sweet Home.
It's a shame that didn't happen, however it still has fx by Dick Smith and Kazuhiro Tsuji. But don't let those names fool you, it is not an art-house film for the international market but an atmospheric pop flick. They manipulate shadows and use practical fx in a manner that suggests an appreciation for Bava, particularly in one sequence involving a medieval poleaxe and a wheelchair.
The movie was made concurrent to the Famicom game of the same name by Resident Evil/Biohazard game designer Shinji Mikami. This is a key film in the development of the survival horror genre, so why is it only available on unsubbed VHS or crappy DVD-Rs of the old VSoM tape? There were major cuts and reshoots by Itami following the release of Kurosawa's theatrical cut, shaping it into a more commercially viable film. So Toho has that cut locked away, and following Itami's suicide and Kurosawa's relative success as a very different sort of storyteller there is probably little economic motive to release either cut in a restored version.