Suīto Hōmu

I’m halfway through the surprising Sweet Home (スウィートホーム, Suīto Hōmu). Not having watched it all the way through, I can’t comment on it fairly yet, but surprising is the word so far. Not so much for the nature of its content, as for the arrangement thereof. I’m watching it on Youtube, where it was conscientiously uploaded in 5 twenty-minute chunks. The first two of these are utterly family-friendly, upbeat, bright, positive–it could be a lot of well-made 80s films from Japan that have much milder subject matter than haunted houses. It could be the beginning of a Toho monster film, or the setup for an episode of Gavan or Power Rangers.

Then at the end of part 2 something goes terribly wrong.

The scene I just referred and linked to is, I think, an iconic one– at least, it’s the one that always came up when I Google-Imaged “Sweet Home”. It’s graphic, which maybe I should have told you beforehand.

I don’t normally go in for violent horror films, but I do go in for haunted house films. More importantly, Sweet Home was accompanied by an NES (actually, Famicom) game of the same name, which was a forerunner of Resident evil. Therefore Sweet Home was a major factor in the development of the survival horror genre of games (since RE was effectively the start of the console horror tradition–no matter what fans of Alone in the Dark might think).

Whatever else it is, Sweet Home is, so far, better-made and more cohesive in its narrative than other schlocky bloodbath films I’ve (unfortunately) seen. With more than an hour left to watch, though, I can’t say if my opinion will remain so high. But watching it is like scratching a long-standing itch, which is what compelled me to write this post before the damned movie’s even over. I even got a ROM and English-language patch of the Famicom game–which, bizarrely enough, is an RPG. The game is nearly as violent as the movie, from what I’ve seen. Another bizarre thing that makes Sweet Home worth checking out, if only as a curiosity.

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