On November 13, 1974, in a large colonial house in Amityville, NY, Ronald DeFeo shot and killed his mother, father, and four siblings. Thirteen months later George and Cathy Lutz moved into the house and experienced paranormal activity. One month later they fled the house in the middle of the night leaving behind all their possessions. Soon after they score a book deal. They recount their stories to writer Jay Anson, and The Amityville Horror is published. The book is a bestseller and a phenomenon. Soon Hollywood comes a-courtin'. A movie is made. Then another. And another.
Twenty movies! Did you know there are twenty Amityville movies? How? Have you ever heard someone say, "I really love THE AMITYVILLE HORROR franchise? I can't wait for the next movie"? Nobody has. Have you ever heard of THE AMITYVILLE DOLLHOUSE? I could stand on a busy sidewalk all day asking people if they've seen it, and not meet a single person who has. So why do they keep making them? (EDIT: There are twenty-one movies. I found another one later.)
So far I've seen the first three movies, the remake, and just now THE AMITYVILLE MURDERS. After watching the latter, I checked THE AMITYVILLE HORROR Wikipedia page to see how many Amityville movies there were, and was blown away. After a few beers, I decided to watch and review all twenty. I'll give before and afterthoughts on each one as I go along. Let's get this party started.
SPOILER WARNING: I'll have a spoiler-free review of THE AMITYVILLE MURDERS, but the reviews before that might contain spoilers. If you read a spoiler for one of the Amityville sequels, and it spoils the movie so badly you don't feel the urge to see that movie anymore. Then you should send me a thank you card.
THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979)
Thoughts before watching: As a kid, my babysitter was reading the book. She would read parts of it out loud to me, and it scared the crap out of me. A couple of years later I saw the movie, and it too scared the crap out of me. Later as an adult, it was on cable, it bored the hell out of me. I think I made it through fifteen minutes and changed the channel. Now I'm watching it from beginning to end. I'm betting it hasn't aged well.
Thoughts after watching: It hasn't aged well. George (James Brolin) and Kathy Lutz (Margot Kidder) find a sprawling colonial house. Only problem, the family before were all murdered in their beds while they slept. But hey, a deal's a deal. They move in, and wacky hijinks ensue.
It's dull. A lot of the scenes are not scary at all, but the movie really plays them up like they're terrifying. For example, George and Kathy walk into a room where they've hung a crucifix, only to discover that it's now hanging upside down. The camera zooms in on it, and you hear extreme violin shrieks. It's like the movie is elbowing you in the ribs and saying, "Ooh, Look at that Scary." They keep doing it, and it gets repetitive.
Rod Steiger plays Father Delaney, a priest who comes to bless the house while the Lutzs' are away. After dealing with nausea, a swarm of flies, and a voice telling him to, "get out." He leaves, but the eeevil follows him around doing it's eeevil tomfoolery to him, like making the brakes go out on his car, and a telephone burns his hand. Aside from Margot Kidder trying to call him through most of the movie, he has no interaction with the family. His scenes are all pointless — the same with a police detective who is suspicious of George and begins following him around. You could cut them entirely out of the movie, and nobody would be able to tell, except you wouldn't have a feature-length running time. These characters should be called Father Filler and Detective Padding.
But, the highlight of the movie is James Brolin's, George Lutz. I really felt for the guy. He just married a woman with three kids, just bought a house, he's running a business, and has financial troubles. It's not too hard to see why he would be pushed over the edge quickly. His slip into madness is believable, and James Brolin is over the top, and fun to watch.
Some people consider this to be a classic. If you look at some of the actual classics from that era like HALLOWEEN, CARRIE, and THE SHINING, it's not even in their league. I wouldn't call it god-awful, but I wouldn't call it good either.
But, what do I know? Almost forty years later they're still making Amityville movies.
AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESION (1982)
Thoughts before watching: Saw it on HBO. I remember liking it.
Thoughts after watching: Didn't bore me. I actually enjoyed it. I'm going to just do bullet points on the movies until I get to THE AMITYVILLE MURDERS. I've got a lot of movies ahead of me.
Synopsis: Not a direct sequel to THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, this is a prequel. It's loosely based off the DeFeo murders. The family name has been changed to Montelli. The Montelli family move into their new sprawling colonial house in Amityville, New York. The father Anthony (Burt "Mother Fucking" Young), his wife Delores (Rutanya Alda), oldest son Sonny (Jack Magner), oldest daughter and my 80's crush from BETTER OFF DEAD, LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN, Patricia (Diane Franklin), also two little kids a boy and a girl. They move in, and wacky hijinks ensue.
The good things: Burt "Mother Fucking" Young! James Brolin was fun to watch but Burt Young is a fucking blast. There's a scene early in the movie where the youngest kids are in their room playing. Suddenly eeevil levitates paint brushes out of buckets and then paints a mural on the bedroom wall. The kids start screaming. Burt Young runs in, freaks out, takes off his belt and starts chasing the kids around trying to beat them. I know it's child abuse, but damn it it's so funny. Then a couple of scenes later the family priest comes to visit, the kids go into the kitchen to get him a glass of water, eeevil starts knocking dishes off the shelves. Burt comes in and has a freak-out. The belt comes off. He starts chasing the kids around right in front of the priest. I was laughing so hard I was almost in tears. I wish the whole movie was this. These two kids being blamed for all the supernatural. Burt Young flipping out, then chasing them around the house with a belt.
The movie's a bit of a mess, and the overacting is kind of cheesy. It could've done without the incest and the EXORCIST rip-off final act. But, the first half of this movie really works for me. The shootings at the halfway point in the movie are very effective. The youngest daughter's leg twitching after being shot is an image that's stayed with me since seeing this as a kid.
Fun facts: The test screening audience hated two scenes so much the filmmakers got rid of them. The first was a full-blown incest sex scene. So, it's obvious this test screening wasn't in Kentucky. The other was a scene were Burt Young anally rapes his wife. I would like to thank that test screening audience for being sane and rational individuals.
Ranking: Number one on the list. Best Amityville so far.
Thoughts before watching: When I was a kid I loved every movie I saw in a theater. I was just happy to go to the movies. This was the first movie I remember hating. Not a good sign. But I'm going to keep an open mind.
Thoughts after watching: This was a chore to get through. I watched a 2-D print, but it was slightly blurry, and after a while, I started getting a headache. This movie actually caused me physical pain.
Synopsis: A reporter John Baxter (Tony Roberts, kind of looks like Will Ferrell), and his photographer Melanie (Candy Clark, CAT'S EYE) pose as a grieving couple to reveal a seance in the Amityville house as a hoax. After this John buys the house. He's a reporter for a magazine that uncovers phony paranormal activity. Is he trying to debunk the Amityville legend? No, that might be interesting, and this movie's having none of that.
A long boring time later, Melanie spots a demon face in one of the pictures she's developing. She drives away from wherever she was in a panic, an eeevil fly buzzes around her face, and she crashes into the back of a truck hauling metal poles. Just for the 3-D effect of the pole breaking through the windshield. But don't worry she's fine. Until she spontaneously combusts (!?). A passerby runs to the car to try to help, but Melanie is just a charred skeleton. But she's still alive and moving (!?). Then the car bursts into flames. The only scene in the movie that's remotely interesting.
So around the one hour mark John's daughter Susan (Lori Loughlin, FULL HOUSE), is killed in an offscreen boating accident. Why offscreen? Because that scene might not be boring, and this movie will not stand for that. John's estranged wife Nancy (Tess Harper) sees a soaking wet Susan in the house at the same time as the accident. She becomes hysterical and refuses to leave the house. John is worried about his wife and seeks help from his paranormal investigator friend Elliot (Robert Joy, LAND OF THE DEAD). Elliot thinks they should monitor Nancy. His team sets up their surveillance equipment around Nancy's bed. A glowing ball with Susan's voice wakes Nancy up and leads her into a well in the basement. Elliot rushes to the well before Nancy, a demon pops up and drags him down. The well freezes. Objects in the house begin blowing around killing everyone in the paranormal research crew. John and Nancy escape. The house blows up.
If you read that synopsis of AMITYVILLE 3-D, and you think it sounds like a good movie, please contact the nearest mental health facility. I've seen this twice now. That's two times too many. I'll never watch this again. If there is a hell, they'll torture me by showing this on an endless loop. I shouldn't be giving them ideas.
Continuity be damned: In the highlight of her career, Meg Ryan tells the story of the DeFeo murders. In the previous movie the DeFeo name was Montelli. The first time the Defeo name is mentioned in an Amityville movie.
The gateway to hell is now a hole in the floor.
Ranking: Dead last. Where hopefully it'll stay. It'll take a real heavyweight to knock this one from last place.
AMITYVILLE 4: THE EVIL ESCAPES (1989)
Thoughts before watching: Until I get to the re-make, these are all new to me. I looked at the description. It's about a possessed lamp. I'm hoping for some cheesy, goofy fun. I hope it's a lamp like the little Pixar one, bouncing around and making eeevil happen. If so this movie is ranking number one.
Thoughts after watching: No, not a little Pixar lamp. The lamp looks like a five foot tall Groot with a globe for a head, and with two little bulbs on the fingers of each hand.
Synopsis: The Amityville house is having a yard sale. A lady finds a lamp and sends it to her sister Alice (Jane Wyatt) in California. Alice's recently widowed daughter Nancy (Patty Duke), and her three kids are moving in at the same time the lamp arrives. Wacky hijinks ensue. A plumber is drowned by black ooze in the attic. (They never discover his body.) The maid is strangled by the lamp using its cord. Finally, Grandma gets sick of this bullshit and throws the lamp out of a window, and off a cliff. They all live happily ever after. With a dead plumber in the attic, and eeevil now in their cat.
The story is an odd mix. One part a story about a recently widowed mom dealing with her grieving children. The other part about a haunted lamp. It's like a cross between a Lifetime Channel movie, and FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE SERIES. I didn't know going in that this was a made for TV movie, but I could tell right away. It looks cheaper than the previous movies. It's not the goofy, fun I was hoping for, but it's watchable and has its moments.
Eeevil lamp shenanigans: A dead parakeet is found in the toaster oven. Black ooze comes out of the faucets. A neighbor kid's hand is mauled by the garbage disposal. The son loses control of a chainsaw and chases his Grandma around with it and saws up half the basement. The youngest daughter thinks the lamp is her dead father. And after the plumber's death, eeevil possesses the plumbing van and drives it away to hide the evidence. Why would eeevil go back to being a lamp? Wouldn't being a van be better? You can't mow down pedestrians as a lamp.
Ranking: Above 3-D.
THE AMITYVILLE CURSE (1990)
Thoughts before watching: Going in blind.
Thoughts after watching: An Amityville movie by name only.
Synopsis: A priest is shot and killed inside a confession booth. The booth is taken to a nearby house and stored inside the basement. Twelve years later a couple buys the house and brings three of their friends over to hang out, and help renovate. Soon the ghost of the priest (I guess) starts making supernatural things happen. The priest's murderer is one of the five friends. In the last twenty minutes the killer is revealed, and begins picking off everyone until he's killed by acid in the face, a skill saw blade thrown into his leg, shot with a nail gun, and staked through the heart.
The identity of the killer is no surprise. There's no reason for the supernatural to even be in this movie. The movie takes place in Amityville, but in a completely different house. Long, boring, and with unlikeable characters.
Ranking: Just above 3-D
AMITYVILLE: IT'S ABOUT TIME (1991)
Thoughts before watching: Once again, going in blind.
Thoughts after watching: Another cursed object from the Amityville house. This time it's a clock.
Synopsis: Jacob (Stephen Macht, MONSTER SQUAD) comes home from a trip to Amityville with an old clock he found in, "some old house". His two teenage kids, metalhead Rusty (Damon Martin), and wholesome Lisa (Megan Ward, FREAKED), are being watched by Jacob's ex-girlfriend, Andrea. He sets the clock on the mantle. Later when everyone's asleep the clock drills and attaches itself to the mantle then calls out to a neighborhood dog and possesses it with eeevil. During his morning jog, Jacob has his leg mauled by the dog and is left bedridden. Reluctantly Andrea agrees to stay and help. Wacky hijinks ensue.
Lisa looks in a full-length mirror one night, her reflection hops out and starts a softcore make out session with her. (Yes, it's as hot as it sounds.) The next morning she's transformed herself into a slut that dresses like Kelly Bundy. Rusty's crazy neighbor friend that he cuts class to play chess with, has figured out the origins of the clock. On her way to tell Rusty, eeevil posses a diaper delivery van and tries to run her over. She jumps in front of a brick mailbox crashing the van. But the giant stork on top of the van falls off and impales her with its beak. Now it's up to Andrea and Rusty to stop the eeevil clock.
This is the cheesy fun I was hoping for. If you couldn't tell the story is a bit of a mess, but it's a fun, watchable mess. Also bonus points to the movie for a Dick Miller cameo. (I watched this movie the day before his passing. RIP. If you want to see a great Dick Miller film watch the movie ROCK ALL NIGHT.)
Ranking: I was struggling whether to put this above or below the original. I'm going to say the original is better because of James Brolin, and the nostalgia factor. Bellow the original, above 4.
AMITYVILLE: A NEW GENERATION (1993)
Thoughts before watching: Hoping for another AMITYVILLE: IT'S ABOUT TIME.
Thoughts after watching: Another eeevil Amityville furniture movie. This one has a mirror.
Synopsis: Keyes Terry (Ross Partridge, STRANGER THINGS) is a photographer living in an artists' loft. He photographs a homeless man one day and tries to offer him money for letting him take the photo. The homeless man insists that Keyes take an antique mirror instead. He takes it home, gives it to his painter neighbor Suki (Julia Nickson). Later that night Suki's recent alcoholic ex-boyfriend (Robert Rusler, WEIRD SCIENCE) breaks into her apartment to get even with, "that goddamn paint slapping bitch". He knifes up a few paintings before looking into the mirror and sees his tiny cuts all over his face. He turns and runs into a window, and dies. From tiny little cuts on his face.
(Sigh.) So after the police clear the scene, Suki starts painting up a storm. Big canvases of demons. One of the demons leaps off the painting and chases her around the loft. (Not as cool as it sounds.) She looks in the mirror and sees herself put a noose around her neck. So she puts a nearby noose around her neck and is yanked up.
(Harder sigh.) Keyes gets a call in the middle of the night asking him to come to the station and ID a body. It turns out it's the body of the homeless man. He had Keyes name and address in his pocket when he died. Through dreams, flashbacks, and research we learn the homeless man was Keye's father. Years before he shot and killed his parents and siblings in the Amityville house during Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, they're retconning the DeFeo murders again.
Everything comes to a head at the big art show the loft is putting on. Keyes art project is to have his friends having a Thanksgiving dinner and walk in and spray them with a super soaker. (Seriously.) Will he take a shotgun and kill them all? Or will he do what's right? Do you care?
This movie has a lot of genre names in it. Terry O'Quinn (THE STEPFATHER) plays the detective on the mirror cases. Richard Roundtree (SHAFT, damn I'm sorry Richard Roundtree) plays a sculptor in the loft. David Naughton (AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON) is the landlord of the loft. Lin Shaye (INSIDIOUS) is a nurse at the mental hospital Keyes father was kept. So the acting is good. The movie is slow but interesting enough to keep things watchable.
The highlight of the movie: Richard Roundtree's sculpture. A recliner in front of a television with a shotgun pointed at the person sitting in the recliner, hooked up to a timer set to go off in 2001.
A user review on IMDB: Wow Wow Wow I love and live for the Amityville movies and this one is another great success the special effects are good acting good horror good everything good good good so ignore everyone else WATCH THIS MOVIE give it a chance it has lots of potential 7/10
You heard it from a random IMDB user. Wow Wow Wow Good Good Good.
Ranking: Definitely better than 4. But I didn't have fun with it as I did with About Time, so it goes in between the two.
AMITYVILLE: DOLLHOUSE (1996)
Thoughts before watching: The last movie before the remake, so I think this is the last of the cursed Amityville furniture movies. An eeevil dollhouse.
Thoughts after watching: The re-make is next so I'm pretty sure this is the last of the Amityville yard sale movies. Which is good because this was the worst one.
Synopsis: Ugh. So Bill and his new wife Claire are merging their families in a house Bill just built. Bill has two kids from a previous marriage, older douchey son Todd, and young daughter Jessica. Claire has a nerdy young son Jimmy, (who looks like the breastfeeding kid from GAME OF THRONES), from a dead military husband. Bill finds a dollhouse replica of the Amityville house in a shed and gives it to Jessica for her birthday. Bill's biker witch sister and brother-in-law are at the party and know the dollhouse is evil and haunted, but decide to wait until later in the movie to say anything. Dicks.
Moderately weird things begin happening. Fireplaces turn up high. A bug flies in Todd's ear while he's having sex with his girlfriend. He screams, they pull the bug out of his ear. Claire begins fantasizing about underage Todd because that's scary.
There's a couple of interesting things in the movie, but they're both missed opportunities. A white mouse runs into the dollhouse and hides under one of the beds. Then Jessica suddenly has a giant mouse under her bed. The scene is over in a minute, but they could've done all kinds of fun and imaginative things with this idea. Also, Jimmy's dad comes out of his bedroom closet at night and tries to convince Jimmy to help him get rid of Bill. Each time we see him in different stages of decay. The make-up effects are pretty decent. This was a good idea, but the movie botches it. Jimmy's dad is listed in the credits as Jimmy's father, they didn't even bother giving him a name.
Ranking: Not as bad as Curse, so it's right above that.
After this movie, The Amityville Horrible series took the longest hiatus in its history. Nine years. Then Michael (Special effects are good actors) Bay and Platinum Dunes put an end to that.
THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (2005)
Thoughts before watching: I saw it at a friend's house. I don't remember anything about it.
Synopsis: It's the Lutz family story again, Ryan Reynolds as George Lutz, Melissa George as Kathy, and Chloe Grace Moretz making her movie debut as youngest daughter Chelsea.
When this remake was announced I don't think anyone wanted to take to the streets with torches and pitchforks. (Except maybe the real-life George Lutz.) It's an improvement on the original. It's good. Not great. And I can see why it was forgettable. It gets a little silly sometimes. The family being chased around the roof by Reynolds for instance. But it's solid in tone from beginning to end. I like the new backstory to the house. I like that they made the priest a relevant character this time.
I'm not going to pick a side between Deadpool and Cable's dad. They're both highlights in their respective movies. Reynolds plays George Lutz as a straight up man possessed. When he intimidates one of the kids and makes him cry, it's believable. The scene where George makes the oldest son hold logs while he splits them is intense. I've had friends who were survivors of abusive families tell stories that make this scene seem tame. That scene is more disturbing than crosses turning upside down, or a swarm of flies.
Ranking: This was the hardest one yet. It's above the original for sure. But deciding between it and 2. AMITYVILLE II has a weak final act. The re-make stays consistent. But I think the first half of 2 is better than the whole of the remake so I'm putting it between 2 and the original.
THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING (2011)
Thoughts before watching: Real footage found in the Amityville house? Ugh. Not this. Fuck you movie. Just fuck you.
Dear AMITYVILLE 3-D,
I'm sorry, but you're no longer the movie I once hated. I've found someone new.
After you gave me a headache I thought surely you would be the Amityville movie I would always hate the most. But this movie not only gave me a headache, it caused nausea too.
Your movie was filmed at a house that's a replica of the Amityville one. This movie was filmed in a house in the suburbs, and they're trying to convince us it's the real Amityville house.
Before you say anything, I know you had bad acting. But this movie is so much worse. The kid holding the camera is so bad.
I'm sorry, but shitty 3-D is no match for shitty found footage.
Just remember, you'll always be the first movie I truly hated.
Give me a minute, (sniff) to compose myself.
Ranking and recap: Not only did I just watch a movie so bad it knocked AMITYVILLE 3-D off the list. I found an Amityville movie I missed. THE AMITYVILLE EXORCISM. There are now twenty-one Amityville movies!
Here's the ranking so far.
1. AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION
2. THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (2005)
3. THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979)
4. AMITYVILLE: IT'S ABOUT TIME
5. AMITYVILLE: A NEW GENERATION
6. AMITYVILLE 4: THE EVIL ESCAPES
7. AMITYVILLE: DOLLHOUSE
8. THE AMITYVILLE CURSE
9. AMITYVILLE 3-D
10. THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING
THE AMITYVILLE ASYLUM (2013)
Thoughts before watching: I've heard slitting your wrist works better going up and down the arm. Much better than across.
Thoughts after watching: Surprisingly, an interesting addition. Judging it by the cover art I was expecting the worst.
Synopsis: During the opening credits the DeFeo murders are shown yet again. Then we meet our heroine, Lisa (Sophia Del Pizzo) as she interviews and lands a job working as a night cleaner at an asylum. Her first day of work she's trained by her co-worker Delaney. He shows her the criminally insane patients and tells her each one's backstory. After working on her own strange things begin to happen. A catatonic patient begins talking to her. She notices a little girl wandering the halls. After some research, she finds out the land the asylum was on had a house. The DeFeo house, whose family members were all murdered in their sleep. Then the house went to a couple that only stayed a month before fleeing. (The Lutz name isn't mentioned. They're only implied.) She finds pictures of the DeFeo family, and the little girl she's seen walking the halls is the youngest DeFeo daughter.
I was noticing through the movie, characters were saying certain words oddly. But it became really obvious when none of the characters could pronounce, Amityville. One character pronounces it, "a-medieval" like six times. One character says, "Umptyville." So I looked it up, my suspicions were correct. This was a UK production. A low budget British film with actors imitating a North American accent.
Anyways, back to the story. So Lisa also discovers a witch in the criminally insane ward is planning on sacrificing six people on the anniversary of the DeFeo murders. She goes to the asylum warden with what she knows and ends up in a straightjacket in a cell. The warden brings a shotgun to mysterious Patient X, and he begins to sacrifice. Yeah, it's Ronald DeFeo. They never say it outright, but it is. There's more to the end, but I'm not going to completely spoil it.
Yeah, I kind of liked this one. It was a surprise. It has more effort and ambition than most of the sequels. It has a ballsy ending that I really liked.
Ranking: I loved the goofy fun of About Time, but I think this movie is deserving of its spot.
AMITYVILLE DEATH HOUSE (2015)
Thoughts before watching: Holy crap. Look at that cover. I'm going to make some predictions on this movie based on that cover. 1. This isn't going to actually have a half spider-half woman. 2. The best thing about this movie will be this cover art. 3. It probably has nothing to do with the Amityville house.
Thoughts after watching: 1. I was wrong 2. I was right 3. I was right
Synopsis: This one's going to be tough to explain. So, four friends are driving from Florida after providing relief to hurricane victims. Lead girl Tiffany wants to stop in Amityville and check in on her grandmother. Grandma is played by a young woman in crappy old age make-up. They read from an ancient book. Abigail, a witch who was sentenced to death 300 years prior, begins killing people in the woods. The local sheriff drives around investigating. Tiffany and her friends hang out at the house doing nothing. The witch shows up and kills grandma. The two guys in the group become possessed by the old townspeople, for some reason. They drown another girl Bree. Tiffany tries to help, her shirt flies open and she has six boobs. Bree turns into the spider-woman. The house blows up. The end.
Throughout the movie, a hooded figure wearing a cage mask pops in to pointlessly narrate. He's voiced by Eric Roberts.
If you have a phone with video, then you too can make a movie for the Amityville franchise. The acting is worse than THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING. On the plus side, for a zero budget movie, the spider-woman effect is pretty good.
Ranking: Under 3-D.
THE AMITYVILLE PLAYHOUSE (2015)
THE AMITYVILLE PLAYHOUSE theme
(Sung to the tune of PEE WEE'S PLAYHOUSE theme)
Come in, you'll find yourself bored not scared
Cause in Amityville the filmmakers don't really care
There's nothing here exciting
All the scripts need a re-writing
It's all eeevil, at Amityville Playhouse!
There's some blood drippin' out of all the walls
THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING can just go and suck my balls
We've got swarms of buzzin' flies
Margot Kidder's boobs were really nice
Golly, it's eeevil at Amityville Playhouse!
Synopsis: After her parents are killed in a fire, high school student Fawn inherits a theater in Amityville, she knew nothing about. Her and four friends decide to stay the night in the theater, while her teacher decides to do research on its background. They find a goth girl squatting in the building, then realized they're all trapped inside. They wander around the building, and this is the bulk of the movie. The teacher realizes something's amiss with the theater and goes to the mayor. Only to make a shocking discovery. Actually just a mildly subpar development.
At 1 hour and 45 minutes, this is one of the longest of the Amityville movies. It's a slog to get through. Twenty minutes (at the least) could have easily been trimmed out of this. The group of kids are all terrible actors. The lead girl acts like she just swallowed a fistful of muscle relaxers. When things finally get a little interesting, the movie comes to an abrupt end.
Ranking: This movie is equaled with Curse, but this had at least an interesting idea in the end. So above curse.
THE AMITYVILLE LEGACY (2016)
Thoughts before watching: There were four Amityville movies released in 2016. This is one of them.
Thoughts after watching: I thought I was finished with the cursed object movies, but nope. This one is about an eeevil toy monkey.
Synopsis: It opens with the DeFeo murders once again over the opening credits. The youngest daughter murdered hiding under her bed with a toy monkey. Forty years later, a large family is reuniting for their father's fiftieth birthday. The eevil monkey is given to him as a gift. Soon he begins going mad, chopping firewood, and talking to the apparition of his abusive father. Will he start systematically killing off family?
This movie pulls off some impressive things on its micro-budget. It's basically a fan film, but a competently made one. It also comes to an abrupt end. Unlike the last movie, this one clocks in at sixty-six minutes and could've used at least another fifteen for a better ending.
Ranking: I'm putting it between 4 and A New Generation.
AMITYVILLE: NO ESCAPE (2016)
Thoughts before watching: I've noticed everytime there's a good to decent Amityville movie, the next one is the bottom of the barrel shitty. I'm hoping for the best but expecting the worst with this.
Five minutes in: I've gotta pause this and go buy alcohol.
Thoughts after watching: This was another found footage movie.
THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING was a PARANORMAL ACTIVITY rip-off. This is about a group of filmmakers who go into the woods of Amityville to document the effects of fear, or some shit. They get lost. They argue. They spot a little girl. Throughout the movie, it cuts to footage of a lady with fangs shooting video of herself after just moving into the Amityville house. (Even though the house looks like it's been owned by a hoarder for over a decade.) It all leads to a lame ending, and an hour and a half of life wasted.
Ranking: The camera wasn't as shaky as Haunting, and I didn't get nauseous. So above Haunting.
AMITYVILLE: VANISHING POINT (2016)
Thoughts before watching: Looked all over for this movie and finally found it on YouTube.
Thoughts after watching: ???????
Synopsis: Ummm, a girl stumbles down a flight of stairs outside a boarding house and dies. A man wearing a pink pimp jacket, using a 2x4 for a cane, gives her a bowl of warm milk and is never seen in the movie again. The next day a detective who talks to his baseball card collection checks into the boarding house to try and solve the murder. After that, your guess is as good as mine. Weird dreams, Lloyd Kaufman, and a hairy armpit dance of seduction. Definitely the most oddball of the Amityville movies. Edited with a rusty knife. Sometimes entertainingly bad, most of the times painfully bad. See for yourself:
Check out the 20:37 mark for a surprise appearance by someone imitating AICN founder Harry Knowles.
Ranking: Below 3-D above Death House. This is so bat shit bizarro that I couldn't put it in the last place.
THE AMITYVILLE TERROR (2016)
Thoughts before watching: This is taking a toll, but I'm in the home stretch now.
Synopsis: A couple and their teen daughter move from San Francisco to Amityville, NY to share a colonial mansion with the father's sister. Aunt Shae is an artist and recovering alcoholic/drug addict, so when strange things begin happening, everyone blames it on her being back on the booze, acid, and even peyote. The daughter (who drives a dirt bike, and carries a cross-bow) begins doing research on the property and discovers the townspeople are aware of the house's eeevil, and are feeding it victims to keep it contained. Same twist as Playhouse. The Aunt soon becomes full on possessed, and cross-bow daughter must battle her to the death.
Just as bland and generic as you can possibly get. Boring characters. Sub-plots are introduced and quickly forgotten. But surprisingly it has more gore, sex, and nudity than any other Amityville movie. Doesn't help though.
Ranking: Right in the middle of the list. Above 4.
AMITYVILLE PRISON a.k.a. AGAINST THE NIGHT (2017)
Thoughts before watching: AGAINST THE NIGHT had a limited theatrical release. When it was released onto a disc, they changed the name to AMITYVILLE PRISON. How bad does a movie have to be to use the Amityville name?
Thoughts after watching: The answer is very, very bad.
Synopsis: At a party, a cliche filmmaker douche (looks like Ted Raimi), talks his friends into going to the local prison to film a reality ghost hunter video. The group of nine walks over to abandoned Holmesburg Prison, where they wander around in the dark with flashlights and night-vision cameras. They split up. They wander around some more. Soon they start getting killed one by one.
So, aside from filmmaker douche, and unfunny comic relief douche, all the characters are indistinct. When someone was killed, most of the time I had no idea who they were. Everything leads to an ending so ridiculously bad I have to spoil it. Spoiler alert: the killers are squid head aliens with a meth lab inside the prison. (I'm not kidding.)
Ranking: In the bottom three, no doubt. I'm going to weigh this one over and decide if it's last place worthy.
THE AMITYVILLE EXORCISM (2017)
Thoughts before watching: Low budget EXORCIST rip-offs are usually bad movies. Movies with Amityville in the title are usually bad movies. It's like mixing toe jam with dog shit.
Thoughts after watching: It's a toe jam dog shit-smoothie.
We've hit rock bottom. Normally, I would've shut this movie off after five minutes. But I've committed myself to this thing. In a long line of painful movies, this was the worst.
Synopsis: A carpenter in Amityville kills his entire family with a hammer one night. A priest comes to visit him in prison. The carpenter tells him he was renovating the Amityville house, took the scrap lumber home and put it in his basement. He knows that's what made him kill his family, it was the eeevil lumber. (Another cursed object movie.) The priest contacts the family presently living in the house. The dad's a drunk and the daughter's acting crazy. The priest and the drunk dad join forces to rid the daughter of her demon, who usually hangs around beside her wearing a red monk robe and face mask.
Ranking: Dead last.
Everything about this movie is incompetent. It's not even bad on a level you can laugh at it. It looks like it was made for a public access channel. The only good thing I can say about it, the story is pretty consistent with the rest of the Amityville line. But it's the worst movie I've ever sat through willingly.
AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING (2017)
Thoughts before watching: This was the first Amityville movie since the re-make to have a theatrical release. It's also one of Harvey Weinstein's last movie credits. Way to go out with a bang. (Sorry. Bad choice of words.)
Synopsis: A single mom, Joan (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and her three children, teenage twins Belle and James, and youngest daughter move into the Amityville house. James is comatose and hooked up to life support machines due to an accident. Soon James begins recovering and Belle starts to suspect it has something to do with the eeevil coming from the red room in the basement. THE AMITYVILLE HORROR is actually watched by characters in the movie, so this movie takes place in an Amityville meta-verse.
It has good production values and acting, but isn't scary in the least. The plot takes a surprising turn, but can't save this from being completely forgettable.
Ranking: Below About Time.
THE AMITYVILLE MURDERS (2018)
A re-telling of the DeFeo murders. This time without possession or incest. The film begins with the DeFeo family already living in the 112 Ocean Avenue house. This is the first Amityville house movie to start without a family moving in. The DeFeo's are having a birthday party for oldest son, Butch (John Robinson). Butch and his sister Dawn (Chelsea Ricketts), take their friends into the red room of the basement to show them how they can conjure a ghost and levitate pennies. They awaken eeevil.
The movie really doesn't need the supernatural. The family has enough demons. Father Ronnie (Paul Ben-Victor) is an abusive bully. Mom, Louise (my 80's crush Diane Franklin returning), is powerless and ignores the abuse. As Butch spirals into madness some of the supernatural elements may or may not be in his head. John Robinson does an amazing job as the drug-addicted, mentally unstable, Ronald "Butch" DeFeo.
Having just watched twenty all twenty Amityville movies, I can honestly say this is the best Amityville movie yet. It has something that the other movies did not. A filmmaker who has love and respect for the source material. He even brings in cast members from AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION. Diane Franklin, and best of all Burt Young. Burt Young plays Diane Franklin's father once again. He doesn't get to freak out and chase kids with a belt, but oh well.
It's not a perfect movie. There's a twist involving a case of money that just didn't work for me. But if the same people behind this movie do a sequel involving the Lutz family, I think it would be in good hands. I will not be watching though. I think I'm done with the Amityville movies.
Here's the final ranking:
1. THE AMITYVILLE MURDERS
2. AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION
3. THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (2005)
4. THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979)
5. THE AMITYVILLE ASYLUM
6. AMITYVILLE: IT'S ABOUT TIME
7.AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING
8. AMITYVILLE: A NEW GENERATION
9. THE AMITYVILLE LEGACY
10. THE AMITYVILLE TERROR
11. AMITYVILLE 4: THE EVIL ESCAPES
12. AMITYVILLE: DOLLHOUSE
13. THE AMITYVILLE PLAYHOUSE
14. THE AMITYVILLE CURSE
15. AMITYVILLE 3-D
16. AMITYVILLE: VANISHING POINT
17.AMITYVILLE: DEATH HOUSE
18. AMITYVILLE PRISON
19. AMITYVILLE: NO ESCAPE
20. THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING
21. THE AMITYVILLE EXORCISM
Now, I'm going to make like a Lutz and leave this house behind for good. The only way I'll ever watch an Amityville movie is if they make AMITYVILLE IN SPACE.