Thursday, 22 June 2017

The Amityville Horror (1979)

Everyone’s favourite Based On True Events That Were Most Likely Made Up To Earn A Bit of Cash movie gets a top of the line whistles and bells steelbook Blu-ray release courtesy of Second Sight.

        The cash-strapped Lutz family believe they’ve hit the jackpot when they purchase a lovely big house for very little money, not realising that these things tend to be cheap for a reason. Is it because the house looks a bit like an evil face? Is it because someone previously went mad there and killed the rest of his family? Or is it because there might be something living in / possessing the basement?

        They move in. Minor things happen like the babysitter getting locked in a room and a window frame bashing a little boy’s hand. George (James Brolin) starts to look ill and begins to develop a meaningful relationship with his axe. The house does its best to welcome Catholic priest Rod Steiger with some friendly flies but when he spurns this act of hospitality it tells him to get out.

        Some more minor things happen - money disappears and the toilets start belching vast quantities of black fluid. The family dog leads them to a walled up room in the cellar that contains...not much, really. Eventually, tired of all this low-key stuff that could easily be explained as ‘things any family might have to deal with’ the house decides to pour blood down the stairs and have it seep out of the walls to finally get rid of the people who want to hang crosses on its walls and have lots of arguments inside it.

        As a fan of movie monsters of all kinds I can never help but root for the house in the AMITYVILLE series, and what an impressive house it is - full marks to the film-makers for coming up with something that looks nothing like the place where the events allegedly took place (according to parapsychologist Hans Holzer) but which towers both literally and figuratively over all the events in the film. Mr Holzer both introduces the film and provides a commentary track on this disc. He would probably have benefitted from a moderator but he does like to keep talking, so that’s there if you fancy it.

        Second Sight’s Blu-ray does come with a wealth of decent extras, though, so if you're a fan of the film or those involved in its making this is going to be a worthwhile investment. There are new interviews with actors James Brolin and Meeno Peluce, screenwriter Sandor Stern, and a great interview with composer Lalo Schifrin where he show on the piano how he composed the music based on augmented 4ths. Plus he plays the music from ENTER THE DRAGON!

        There’s also a feature length documentary with Daniel Lutz, an archival featurette with Brolin and Margot Kidder, trailers, TV spots and repro lobby cards included in the set. An excellent package for all fans of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR. 

Second Sight are releasing their lovely limited edition Blu-ray steelbook of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR on Monday 26th June 2017

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