Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Amityville Rules!: The Amityville Horror (1979)

The original is famous for a reason.  Today's film is *the original* Amityville Horror film.  The 1979 film is good for a lot of reasons.  That said, it does have a lot of issues and flaws.  A lot of the reasons that people respect the movie are also reasons that it could be better.  This movie is a product of the 1970s- for better or for worse.  If you don't know the story, it's this simple: haunted house makes family scared.  For better or worse, that's it.  Doing more with the story is possible, but you'll see the flaws with doing that in a future review this week.  If you like this movie, I will not ruin it for you.  If you hate this movie, I won't ruin it for you either.  I will tell you that it is 800x better than most of the sequels.  To see how all of the horrible Horror began, read on...
On one hand, this film is interesting for just showing you the fallout of the killer's massacre.

To the film's detriment, it doesn't exactly make the most of this idea.  It's just 'Murder happened- family comes in.'
Our heroes- the Lutz Family- moves into this house, knowing full well what happens.  As Brolin's George says 'Houses don't kill people- people kill people.'  Right?
Very early on, the Priest comes to bless the House.  The House says 'F#$k you!' and kicks him out.  It's the first glimpse of those damn flies, the biggest blight on this franchise.

Well, it's either the flies or every other sequel made after this film.  Take your pick.
Brolin's George is driven crazier and crazier by the House.

The problem here is that nothing overt here seems to do it- he just kind of acts like a dick for no clear reason.  Explain a little, movie.
Hey Priest, you want to try cleansing the House again?  I'm sure that you'll have better luck this time!
We'll get back to you, I guess.

In a bit I have to address, the spirit of the House presents itself as the youngest girl's imaginary friend.  When the house gets mad, it locks the babysitter in the closet.  This is pretty much stolen by Paranormal Activity 3 (and seems to be in 4 as well).  I'm just saying.
Here's an odd scene for you: the House slams a window on one of the brother's hand.  That would hurt...but how the hell is he bleeding?  Anastasia would not be bleeding here!

Oh and this was stolen- badly- by the original Boogeyman film.  In that film, a kid's neck is broken by a lightly-closed window.  Huh?
How much is that Demon in the Window?  The one with the randomly-filtered look.

Oh yeah, get out of the damn house already!
Took you long enough...idiots.

Oh and do us a favor and put up a sign warning people not to go here.  No?  Dammit.  The End.
Well, it is the best movie in the franchise- bar none.  The movie shines and suffers for two key reasons: the pacing and the subtlety.  The movie is slow- at least after the Priest's first scene- and not a whole lot major happens.  The actual effects on display are generally subtle, be it doors closing on their own or empty chairs rocking.  This, as I said, is both a flaw and a great trait.  The problem, I'd say, is that the movie wants to have its cake and eat it too- the fat bitch.  It does mostly subtle effects for a while and then *BAM* demon face in a window.  If you're going to be a subtle horror film like The Haunting (original), be one.  If you're going to be a loud, visual one like A Nightmare on Elm Street, be one.  By half-assing it, it makes you look you're trying to play both sides.  I liked the subtle effects (the chair especially) and I liked the overt ones (the red room, evil)- I just didn't like them in the same movie.  That said, this movie (and to some extent the Remake) is hampered by trying to be so close to reality (or what the Lutz Family says was reality).  It can't go balls-out crazy.  In the End, it's still a well-made film, but it does have some slow, lingering moments.  Could someone explain the importance of the 'missing money roll' scene?  Yeah, I didn't think so.  With all of that said, it does have near 'Lois Lane' boob in it...
Next up, Dino De Laurentiis brings his 'subtle' hand to the film's first sequel.  With everything wrong, nothing can be right.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. An ok haunted house flick. Nothing special, but definitely the best in the franchise.

    I'm currently working on a mega-article about whole franchise. I already regret doing this, especially after rewatching the dreadful 7th part =D