Project Horror, Day 20: The Amityville Horror


It's interesting to watch this one day after Paranormal Activity, because they both hit some of the same riffs.  Doors closing on their own?  Check.  Mysteriously swaying chandelier?  Yeah, baby.  Title cards throughout the movie announcing which day of the ordeal it is?  Those, too.  Here's what this movie has that Paranormal Activity doesn't - Margot Kidder in her underwear.  I was always more of a Lois Lane guy than a Princess Leia guy when I was growing up, see.

The first thing I noticed when I watched this is just how iconic the house in the movie has become.  I've never seen this before tonight, but I instantly recognized that exterior.  The movie opens with a shot of the house during a thunderstorm, with gunshots going off inside.  One year after this multiple homicide, a family buys the house and moves in, only to have strange and unpleasant things start happening, gradually becoming worse and worse.  Flies swarm in the middle of winter, strange noises and voices are heard, and the family's personalities begin to change.  This is also the basis for a classic segment of "Treehouse of Horror," Bad Dream House, which I now present to you in Spanish.

Watching this many horror movies in a row has conditioned me to wait for the final sting, that last scene where they get one more jump or scare out of you, or reveal the twist ending.  SPOILERS FOLLOW - In the last scene where James Brolin goes running back into the house to get the family dog after everybody else is out, I fully expected him to die, or the house to get sucked into some nether dimension or something, so the surprise ending for me was that he actually made it out alive.  I guess that if I'd thought it through, and remembered that this movie was based on a (supposedly) true story, I probably would have realized that he got out in one piece.

I'm not giving this a perfect score, for two reasons that I've already mentioned in other reviews.  One - the curse of the bad child actor.  The girl playing the daughter in this movie is just awful and took me out of every scene she was in.  Two - the "cat syndrome."  I mean, there's literally a scene where a character is sitting there and a cat jumps out and screeches at him.  So cliche...  However, those are small quibbles, and this movie still holds up and makes with some good scares.  I give it four axes out of five.


Unknown said...

Who knew that there was a better Homer voice than Dan Castellaneta? That Spanish Homer makes me wish I grew up in Mexico! Well, that and donkey shows.

Danny said...

When Courtney and I got married, we took our honeymoon in Cancun. One night while she was getting ready for dinner, I turned on the TV in our room, which had pretty much two channels to choose from. There was HBO and there was a channel that took American movies and TV shows and dubbed them into Spanish. The second channel was showing Simpsons reruns, so of course I watched that. The two specific episodes were the one where Marge becomes the Listen Lady and the one where Homer sees the Zorro movie and starts challenging everybody to duels. What was awesome is that even though I barely speak any Spanish, I'd seen both episodes so many times that I knew every line!

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