Amityville…the horrors continue

I’ve covered plenty of Amityville films before, both in a mega blog and in a look at the Amityville II remake. Now, it’s time for another mega blog about Amityville and bogus Amityville films, going all the way back to the sequels that followed the original trilogy at the end of the 80s.

AMITYVILLE: THE EVIL ESCAPES (1989)

This starts what was supposed to be a series of movies based on a book of the same name that focused on items from the Amityville house that landed in new hands, bringing supernatural forces along with them. I recently took a look at all my Amityville books, including this one, in a video.

 

In a way, there have been quite a few unrelated films based on the concept of this book, even more recently. As for The Evil Escapes, it’s a made-for-TV movie starring Patty Duke as a struggling mom that comes with her three children to live with her mother.

Grandma has recently been gifted a creepy as hell lamp her sister bought at a garage sale in Amityville. As was the case with most little girls in 80s horror movies, Patty Duke’s youngest daughter is a creepy kid even before she becomes obsessed with the lamp, through which she believes she can speak to her dead father.

Weird shit happens around the house, and grandma wants so badly to blame her brat grandchildren. But as the troubles escalate and become dangerous, Patty tries to convince her it’s the crazy damn lamp.

Meanwhile, a priest that was attacked by the lamp while trying to exorcise the Amityville house at the beginning of the film is making his way to save them from the lamp.

It’s bad. Really bad. And it tries more and more to rehash scenes from the original film from a decade before, including a babysitter locked in a closet, static when the priest tries to call Patty on the phone, and shit oozing out of walls.

THE AMITYVILLE CURSE (1990)

Based on an equally horrible book, this installment features a couple buying an old church to use as their new home…and having another couple and a single dude come live with them.

The old church leftovers are in the basement, including a confessional in which a priest was shot. Weird shit happens in the house—a spider on a guy’s chest (Brady Bunch much?), a tub full of blood, and a young man and a dog lurking around outside are just some of the underwhelming situations.

The only good part of this film is the final act, and it’s pretty good.

As we learn the truth of the confessional killing through flashbacks, one character becomes possessed and chases another through the house. It saves the whole film.

AMITYVILLE 1992: IT’S ABOUT TIME (1992)

It’s like the title of this film timestamps why it’s so bad. Ugh. 1992. I was still working part time at the video store, and our horror section was going to shit due to so many direct-to-video horror films like this destroying the genre.

In yet another “Evil Escapes” installment, an architect brings home a clock from the demolition site of the Amityville house. For whatever reason, his ex-girlfriend has been staying with his fully grown son and daughter while he was gone…and continues to stay after a neighbor’s dog mauls him. Or did it?

The clock brings with it an evil that has absolutely no rhyme or reason…aka: it’s a 90s horror film. A fake version of the dog is the mauling culprit. A swastika is painted on the neighbor’s house. The room the clock is in turns into a torture chamber when the lights are turned off. There’s slime in the ex’s bed, there’s slime in her new boyfriend’s tub.

A zombie man pops out of the tub. The daughter turns into a slutty vixen and seduces a guy into being sucked down a drain.


Clearly he got the part because he’s got the part…

And before all is said and done, the entire house turns into the clock.

This is a nightmare, and not in a good way.

AMITYVILLE: A NEW GENERATION (1993)

Even the likes of horror veterans such as David Naughton, Lin Shaye, Terry Quinn, and Robert Rusler can’t save yet another “The Evil Escapes” plot.

This time a homeless man gives an aspiring photographer a mirror, which he keeps in storage in his warehouse apartment building. Anyone who stumbles upon it sees vision of their own death and then proceeds to kill themselves in that way right on the spot. That’s how we sadly lose some of the most familiar horror faces in the film too soon.

As with most nineties horror flicks that don’t want to just follow one logical trajectory, our cute main guy with fabulous hair learns the shocking truth about how he is linked to the original murders in the Amityville house, after which he begins having nightmares about being the gunman (not named Ronald DeFeo in this film).

The movie’s climax takes place at an art show in the apartment building, and I can safely say I had no fucking idea what was going on. Pretty much the story of every 90s horror movie pre-Scream.

AMITYVILLE: DOLLHOUSE (1996)

The final installment of Amityville movies before the remake almost a decade later, this one is just as much of a mess as the other 90s installments, but it has its nasty charms and plenty going on.

Some dude has a house built for his blended family. When they arrive, he finds a replica dollhouse of the Amityville house in the shed and gives it to his daughter as a gift. Don’t ask me why he doesn’t question that there’s a dollhouse in the shed of the house he built. Also, no one ever seems to realize it’s the Amityville house, for Amityville is never mentioned.

Like the wild ride of a Euro horror film from the 80s, this nonsensical flick has a killer fireplace, a corpse dad inexplicably returning from the dead to tempt one stepson into turning against his new family, an occult savvy aunt and uncle who sense the dollhouse is evil, a big killer fly (wink wink to the original film’s flies), a stepmom who has masturbatory fantasies about her hot stepson, and even some cool demons in the end that, according to IMDb, were recycled from other movies to save on money. They sure look familiar.

Surprisingly, the little girl who gets the dollhouse isn’t creepy for a change. She’s actually the first one to insist her new dollhouse is evil.

The end clarifies nothing. There’s a portal in the fireplace, which was supposedly already there, so the father built the entire new house around it. So if the fireplace is the root of the evil, why are they required to burn the Amityville dollhouse to destroy the house and its evil?

And I ask once again…why was there an Amityville dollhouse in the shed?

AMITYVILLE: THE FINAL CHAPTER (2015)

I thought I was getting another Amityville movie I hadn’t seen with this one, but it turns out this was originally a movie called Sickle, which I’ve already blogged about here. I can’t even explain how it got renamed Amityville: The Final Chapter, especially since it was anything but the final chapter. So on to the next non-Amityville Amityville movie.

AMITYVILLE: MT. MISERY ROAD (2018)

A film that later had Amityville slapped onto the beginning of its title, this one at least takes place in Huntington, which is basically a few miles north of Amityville on Long Island.

Running only 75 minutes long, this no budget film is written by, directed by, and stars an actual couple…and based on their looks, this native Long Islander wouldn’t be surprised if they’re actually from Long Island.

They seem to be truly enjoying themselves as they look up scary haunting legends like the Mothman on the internet, so the film feels oddly genuine.

They then go to a bar, where she shakes her ass to a shake your ass song before they sit down with some guy who gives them an oral history of the supernatural phenomena on Mt. Misery Road. Legends include lights in the sky, a hell hound, an asylum built on the hill, an inmate named Mary who torched the place, the place being rebuilt, and then burned down again. That’s a whole lot of things we never ever see in the film.

Once the couple heads into the forest to look for the remains of the asylum, things turn found footage and get as tediously Blair Witch as can be…meaning, they walk around the woods, we watch leaves pass by on the ground, we see rocks on the ground, one of the characters disappears, and then something happens to the other one and the camera hits the ground. The end…after a desperate attempt at a final frame jump scare.

AMITYVILLE CLOWNHOUSE (2020)

I’ll start off by saying that the audio is so inconsistent in this film, leaning towards predominantly horrible, that I had to turn on subtitles on Prime to know what characters were saying.

I give props to director Dustin Ferguson for dedicating his indie horror career to keeping the legacy of old horror films alive (check out his IMDb filmography and you’ll see what I mean). He also made The Amityville Legacy, the only Amityville film to prominently feature gay characters (covered in my original Amityville mega blog). That film was renamed Amityville Toybox, and Amityville Clownhouse is a sequel to that film…and has been renamed from the title Amityville: Evil Never Dies.

Clownhouse is an absolute mess, and I can only guess it is simply slapped together from a variety of different film ideas that didn’t pan out.

The opening scene has a man dressed as a clown shooting his family and himself during a birthday party. Next, a bunch of thieves breaks into the abandoned house to steal a clown painting and ends up encountering the clown’s ghost. That’s all the clown you get, so the title of the film really should have been changed.

Jumping to a completely different story, a couple scores the toy cymbal monkey from The Amityville Legacy at a store called Jessie’s Junk, run by…Mark Patton of Elm Street 2. Get it?

The wife hears noises in the attic, the husband screws around behind her back, acts weird, and then beats her because she believes the monkey is haunting the house. She researches the history of the toy…which leads her to a mental institution where one of the survivors of the previous film tells her what went down.

Now we get a recap of The Amityville Legacy in what I can only guess is unused footage from that film…including an ass shot of the hunky daddy.

The plot fizzles out to nothing after that. Ferguson should have just inserted the hunky daddy footage back into the previous film and not bothered allowing this weak entry to see the light of day.

AMITYVILLE WITCHES (2020)

About as far from Amityville as you can get (although the town is mentioned), this film is about women at an isolated academy that is home to a coven of witches planning to conjure a demon.

They find their key ingredient when a new girl with a special mark on her body arrives. After she is forced to watch them slit another girl’s throat, she is “rescued” by a second coven that needs her help to stop the first coven from releasing the demon.

A lot of witchy bickering ensues, and the magic effects whenever witches strike the classic witch vogue pose looks like something out of a cheesy SyFy television show from 20 years ago.

But hey, when you want to get your story across with a small budget, you do what you have to do.

The demon is initially trapped in a mirror and looks creepy. However, once it is drawn into the real world for the final battle, it’s not all that impressive.

Amityville Witches simply isn’t satisfying as an Amityville or witch movie.

AMITYVILLE HARVEST (2020)

One of the more lofty Amityville productions, this one takes place on Long Island and at least has the smarts to make a “welcome to Amityville” sign the final frame of the film.

However, Amityville Harvest is about…vampires! WTF? Honestly, this film could have stood on its own without the Amityville name, which totally causes the vampire angle to throw you for a loop, doing the film a huge disservice.

Notably, the film features a cameo by horror hunk Paul Logan as a deceased man in a coffin, horror veteran Eileen Dietz in a small role, and best of all, Sadie Katz, one of my favorite contemporary horror queens, in the lead.

She and her documentary crew come to an old manor to do a story featuring its handsome but clearly not fully living owner.

There’s a lot of talk, and there are also a couple of odd and violent encounters with various specters around the house. A sort of “surgeon” freak that walks jerkily and whacks victims with a hammer is my fave—but he’s also party to one of the most annoying scenes in the film. A guy is sitting talking to the main vampire, and a girl nearby keeps urgently saying to him “Let’s go!” instead of simply screaming, “There’s a freak with a hammer coming up behind you!” An absolutely ridiculous moment.

Reminiscent of 80s Euro horror, the film does escalate to some crazy horror chaos in the final act, which works quite effective as its own mini-horror movie, with plenty of vamp action and several creepy, gritty, and suspenseful scenes. It just wish it hadn’t taken so long to get to the good part.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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