April 20, 2011

Amityville III: The Demon (1983)

(AKA "Amityville 3-D")

"A reporter moves into the ominous Long Island house to debunk it of the recent supernatural events and becomes besieged by the evil manifestations which are connected to a hell-spawn demon lurking in the basement."

Call me crazy (I know a lot of my haters do) but I decided to watch the weakest of the Amityville sequels just to see if it had any cats in it. It was the first time that I watched it on the flipper DVD which I bought from Big Lots and I've had it in my collection for two years. Not only did it not have any cats in it whatsoever, I should have left it shrink wrapped. It was awful.

Originally "Amityville III" was filmed in 3D but I've never actually seen a 3D version of it available. I doubt that it would enrich my viewing pleasure in any way especially as it's still painfully obvious from the purple-edged images which scenes had small 3D enhancements in them. It's interesting that the gimmick has come into vogue again fairly recently though.

Just like all the other sequels with Amityville in the name, there is no attempt at any continuity with the story. Apart from mentioning the Defeo murders, there's no acknowledgement of George and Kathy Lutz's story at all. Of course, this was mainly due to avoiding any copyright infringement. If you thought that all the inferior modern remakes just cashing in on the name of well known franchises were a recent phenomenon, well, it obviously happened in the 1980s too.

So, yes, "Amityville III: The Demon" is yet another reboot of a pretty tired haunted house scenario. This time though it has the addition of several horrific and tragic "accidents" before ripping off five minutes of the scenes from "Poltergeist" with a team of paranormal investigators taking over the house. The plot lurches from one thing to another and at least two scenes seem completely out of place with no attempt at continuity or consistency whatsoever.

Since some people moan that I don't give away the details when I write something like that due to not wanting to give spoilers, in this case, the movie was so bad that I don't care. The first scene which had me wondering if I'd missed something was when the mother, played by Tess Harper, just appeared at the paranormal investigators' lab. What the hell was she doing there? How did she know the scientist? Was he supposed to be a family friend or just an acquaintance of her ex-husband? That's right she'd divorced her husband, Tony Roberts, and the miserable thing was still giving hanging around to give him grief! When she turned up at the Amityville house and wouldn't leave after their daughter's death, it was another moment where I was completely bemused. Why didn't Tony Roberts just kick the nutter out?

Now Tess Harper might be absolutely lovely to look at but every time she opened her bossy mouth, I couldn't stand her. Not only was the character she played absolutely horrible but her acting skills weren't up to the job either. Nobody else did much better either.

Lori Loughlin played the tragically doomed daughter, Susan. I've honestly never heard of her before but I think she may be kind of a big deal in TV now. I think the only reason that this film continues to be available as a DVD is because it also had Meg Ryan in it in what I think was her first film role. After an embarrassing start, Meg Ryan, playing Susan's friend Lisa, isn't too bad really and at least displays emotion unlike Tony Roberts.

I really can't get over how bad Tony Roberts was in this. I know the script was awful but, really, with his best female friend/work partner horrifically killed and then his daughter getting drowned, you would think he'd show some grief!

In a vain attempt to be positive, I could say that Candy Clark, who got top billing on the credits, did a good job with the only believable supernatural scenes in the movie but she wasn't exactly brilliant either. The only other thing to mention is that the jump scare with the demon and what it did to scientist Elliott West (played by Robert Joy) worked quite well too though it was still pretty ridiculous.

Anyway, I really don't want to say any more about this cheap and nasty rubbish. The effects were horrible, the death scenes were stupid, and there wasn't one genuinely scary moment in the whole abomination.

If anything stood out from "Amityville III: The Demon" (especially in 3D), it was all the purple-edged flies. And you don't need me to tell you what flies are usually found on.

Do not even be tempted to watch "Amityville III: The Demon" out of perverse curiosity. I'm locking it away in The Dungeon now and will never watch it again.

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